Abortion for medical reasons: towards assumed eugenics


During the European seminar, held in Brussels at the COMECE[1] last 22nd June on “preventing abortion in Europe”, Jean Marie Le Méné stood up to denounce the eugenic pressure that, through abortion for medical reasons, is paving the way for transhumanism.

 

Abortion for medical reasons is the abortion of a child because it is too weak, sick or disabled. Contrary to elective abortion, which focuses on the woman, the causes for abortion for medical reasons focuses on the child. It is therefore not because the child is in distress that her pregnancy is considered to be impossible, but rather because her pregnancy is considered impossible that the woman is in distress. While the causes for elective abortion require no explanation because the distress depends on the subjective appreciation of the woman alone, the causes for abortion for medical reasons evolve because dependent on ever-improving diagnosis techniques and on everyday lower tolerance levels. While the causes for elective abortion are of private and personal matter, the causes for abortion for medical reasons include socioeconomic criteria which have collective and public consequences. Hence why abortion for medical reasons has a eugenic dimension of its own. However, abortion for medical reasons appears free from guilt and even positive. [1]

 

Because it is not considered as an act of convenience, abortion for medical reasons is free from guilt.

 

1/ Abortion for medical reasons is not a choice of the woman but imposed upon her

 

a – Abortion for medical reasons receives a more favourable image compared with elective abortion

 

The history of abortion initially started with suggestions to eliminate deformed children, detectable thanks to newly found karyotype and imagery techniques. It was through that breach that elective abortion slipped in. The celebration of the victory of women’s freedom -with no reason to provide other than distress within restrictive delays- overshadowed abortion for medical reasons, authorised without delay and for multiple reasons. For the prochoice, if elective abortion with no other condition than restrictive delays is authorised, then abortion for medical reasons for “good reasons” should be authorised without a time limit.

 

In the minds of people who are objected to elective abortion, a moral frontier thus appears between a so-called convenience abortion and abortion for medical reasons. The first is subject to reservations because thought of as selfish, the second comes with tolerance, or even accompaniment, because imposed upon the woman.

 

b – Diagnoses closed to discussion

 

The more and more sophisticated antenatal tools bring pathologies to the surface which, because there is currently no treatment, nearly always lead to undisputed abortion. Such is the case for Down Syndrome. “It is generally admitted, for example, that unless the parents’ beliefs or affective dispositions say otherwise, a foetus with Down Syndrome, can legitimately, in the sense of collective or individual ethics, ‘benefit’ from abortion for medical reasons. There exists a form of general consent, a collective approval, a consensus of opinion, an established order concerning this decision, to such an extent that couples who have to undergo abortion for medical reasons because of Down Syndrome will hardly question the appropriateness of their individual choice. Society has, in a way, chosen for them. Everyone or nearly everyone would have done the same. The indication even seems so established that, in some ways, parents consider it a choice. Besides, who would think of saying otherwise? Reservations will be expressed through stabbing questions on the appropriateness of the choice.” [2]  These comments on Down Syndrome -a non-lethal affection- are, obviously also valid for foetuses with lethal affections.

 

2/ Abortion for medical reasons is not executed by the women but by the doctor

 

– Doctors take on for the parents the burden of an impossible choice

 

Abortion for medical reasons is not the woman’s business but the doctor’s. To them only does the law give the freedom to suggest to the women that she might interrupt her pregnancy, arguing that there is a strong chance that the unborn child is affected with a serious and incurable disease at the time of the diagnosis.

 

However, not only does the woman not suggest and only disposes but, also, if the indication is unclear, doctors believe it is their responsibility to assume a decision too difficult for her. The medical body willingly takes on the responsibility of a decision supposed to spare the women the remorse of a wrong choice. If it turns out the diagnosis was wrong and that the abortion for medical reasons leads to the death of a healthy child (case of false positives), the doctor will hide the woman the truth. As it is practically imposed by the doctors in the name of humanity that one cannot go against, abortion for medical reasons can easily be seen as some sort of painful and unavoidable accident, by both the woman and the doctor.

 

b – Eugenics is an individual reality, not a collective one

 

The practice which ends with the elimination of entire populations selected on the basis of a phenotypical or genotypical imperfection is typical of eugenics. But speaking of it is no longer a problem for anyone, it is even claimed by certain health professionals when it remains individual and collective, medical and not criminal. According to Professor Jacques Milliez, already quoted, nothing separates medical eugenics from criminal eugenics in the means of execution or in the operating mode. Medical eugenics is justified by “the purity of intention, the sincerity of the motivation and the soundness of the intended finality […]. It all lies in the intention. Foetal euthanasia is ethically acceptable in its eugenic dimension only because it is conceived, organised, premeditated for the interest of people, without any external pressure […] It therefore indeed proceeds from an attitude of compassionate, individual and consented approach [...] It stands out as the opposite of a submission to the directives of a public health company, of an economic or political murderous program.” Many people share this approach. Public opinion is thus reassured: there is a good type of eugenics one should praise and a bad one, one should condemn.

 

Because inscribed within a health and solidarity perspective, abortion for medical reasons is given a positive image

 

1/ Abortion for medical reasons is a necessary evil to prevent certain diseases

 

a – Extract unwanted children from women’s wombs (through preimplantation diagnosis)

 

Generalised, systematic public testing policies, reimbursed by social security, are developed and regularly improved to decrease the number of children born with diseases or disabilities. The system relies on three criteria: technical feasibility, the amount saved on the cost of a disabled person’s life, the aversion of weakness. They accredit the idea that since the birth of an imperfect child is a “disruption” and a “misfortune”, avoiding it thanks to abortion for medical reasons brings back order to society and happiness to the family. Thus, abortion for medical reasons has progressively acquired a positive tone.

 

Testing techniques forever improving, it seems appropriate to speak of non-invasive prenatal testing (PNIT), currently spreading worldwide. It mostly comes from a major discovery: the presence in the mother’s blood of traces of the genome of the child she carries. This progress will enable couples to avoid the danger of an amniocentesis (which constitutes a marketing argument). It also provides more precise information at an early stage, at a time when the woman is still within the time limit for elective abortion. Thus, has begun a revolution in prenatal testing since women will be able to choose, on their own, for or against a eugenic abortion based on simple dispositions. Thus, elective abortion will become eugenic, which it didn’t used to be. Concerning Down Syndrome foetuses, of which 96% are currently eliminated, figures will reach 100%. NIPT was developed by American companies which hide the extremely lucrative perspective of this new test marked by the obsession of completeness and the fear of missing one’s target[3].

 

b – Introduce into women’s wombs only wanted children (thanks to PID)

 

From the extraction of children made undesirable by NIPT to the introduction of wanted children, first sorted thanks to preimplantation diagnoses, there is an inevitable continuity. Preimplantation diagnosis is presented as a means to solving the painful question of abortion, since, precisely, it spares the women of having to have an abortion, the selection being carried out before the implantation in the mother’s uterus, after she has benefitted from medically assisted procreation. The current evolution towards systematic oocyte sampling for all women, their sorting, their vitrification and lucrative conservation in banks, aiming at satisfying any future parental project “augmented” via genetic engineering, will provide means to exert a eugenic pressure no longer on the child but also on the gametes. We are in a typical approach of transhumanism, combining progress, eugenics, and profit.

 

There again, the progress of techniques enables scientists as well as the market and legislators to give the illusion of ethical progress. In reality, we need to become aware that the only progress made is technical, occurring in the common framework of an acceptation of eugenics of which the very principle is no longer questioned or questionable.

 

2/ Through wrongful life action[4] and child substitution, abortion for medical reasons is becoming the right thing to do

 

a – Wrongful life action

 

It simply draws the consequence of eugenic policies on a judicial and financial level. If a disabled or sick child is born when everything should be done so it isn’t, then it is logical to considerer that the parents and society as a whole have been wronged. Such is the jurisprudence which is spreading bit by bit in developed countries. The rule being the birth of a normal child, abortion thus re-establishes norm, order, security, peace and happiness. Non-abortion becomes a missed opportunity which one should be able to invoke, value, and be financially compensated for. Many doctors have already been condemned after having been sued in the name of the disabled person itself, of the parents but also of the brothers and sisters…

 

The system is heading towards the privatisation of healthcare for children born disabled or sick, after their mother did not agree to antenatal testing. Insurance premium will also increase for those rebellious mothers and their doctors.

 

Early signs of tomorrow’s society are already present: thus, in France the superior audio-visual council banned television channels from broadcasting a video clip staging happy Down Syndrome children because the presentation could apparently make women who have aborted feel guilty. The case is currently being looked into by the ECHR.

 

b – Child substitution

 

As a matter of fact, unborn children have become interchangeable, bankable, and negotiable if not in line with the parental project. Abortion for medical reasons has become a procreation technique for children, conform with societies’ idea of perfection. In fact, doctors who practice abortion for medical reasons keep claiming they are natalists and work hard for women’s happiness, to provide them with children matching their expectations. What counts is no longer the reality of a given child but the idea one has of a child, a virtual child rather than a real one. Technique allows it, the market finds its interest, and law protect progress. Considering this, the validation by our societies of medically assisted procreation for all women, as well as ethical surrogacy, is inevitable, every one of these transgressions including a stage towards a eugenist selection. No one has forgotten the Down Syndrome baby born from a surrogate mother and turned down by its buyers. [5]

 

[1] The Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.

[2] Jacques Milliez, L’euthanasie du fœtus, Editions Odile Jacob Editions, 1999.

[3] Jean-Marie Le Méné, Les premières victimes du transhumanisme, Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2016

[4]  Illicit Living.

[5]  Surrogacy and child trafficking: an account from the mother of "Baby Gammy