Gov. Palin Responds To CBS Story About Iceland Eradicating Down Syndrome Babies

 

A report issued by CBS News on Tuesday explores the largely-disappearing cases of Down syndrome in Iceland.

While it’s true prenatal screenings have had an effect on the number of babies born with Down syndrome in the U.S. and Europe, no countries have come as close as Iceland to eliminating it altogether.

Since the early 2000s, nearly 100 percent of women in Iceland abort their babies if a prenatal screening detects Down syndrome.

Check it out:

Using an ultrasound, blood test and the mother’s age, the test, called the Combination Test, determines whether the fetus will have a chromosome abnormality,  the most common of which results in Down syndrome. Children born with this genetic disorder have distinctive facial issues and a range of developmental issues. Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years.

Other countries aren’t lagging too far behind in Down syndrome termination rates. According to the most recent data available, the United States has an estimated termination rate for Down syndrome of 67 percent (1995-2011); in France it’s 77 percent (2015); and Denmark, 98 percent (2015). The law in Iceland permits abortion after 16 weeks if the fetus has a deformity — and Down syndrome is included in this category.

Of Iceland’s 330,000 residents, just one or two babies are born with Down syndrome per year—a startling statistic.

In 2009, however, three babies were born with Down syndrome in Iceland—and one of those babies was Agusta Ingadottir.

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Since her birth, her mother, Thordis, has become an outspoken activist for Down syndrome babies in the country.

As Agusta grows up, “I will hope that she will be fully integrated on her own terms in this society. That’s my dream,” Ingadottir said. “Isn’t that the basic needs of life? What kind of society do you want to live in?”

One Icelandic geneticist, Kari Stefansson, said the eradication of Down syndrome in the nation is a sign of “heavy-handed genetic counseling.”

“And I don’t think that heavy-handed genetic counseling is desirable. … You’re having impact on decisions that are not medical, in a way.”

Stefansson noted, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with aspiring to have healthy children, but how far we should go in seeking those goals is a fairly complicated decision.”

Governor Palin appeared on Martha MacCallum’s segment on Fox News on Tuesday evening to give her perspective.

Palin’s youngest son, Trig, was born with Down syndrome in 2008.

Here’s the clip:

Palin said in the interview that “to try to snuff out a life in the name of building a perfect race… hearkens back to Nazi Germany.”

Palin said she couldn’t watch the entire report without her “heart breaking.”

“This intolerance for people who may not look like you… [is] wrong [and] evil,” Palin said.

She said that when Trig was born, she too was fearful of his possible syndrome, but that she immediately looked to God and found purpose in Trig’s life.

“Life matters and love matters and who are we without love and acceptance?” she asked.

Here’s a few recent photos of the Palin family with Trig:

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