beautiful people and the "useless eaters"

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 18, 2005

In an article titled, "The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have," a former Washington Post reporter speaks of her Down Syndrome daughter and the conflicts such children provoke among enlightened pro-abortion professionals. She concludes:

And here's one more piece of un-discussable baggage: This question is a small but nonetheless significant part of what's driving the abortion discussion in this country. I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is not just about a woman's right to choose whether to have a baby; it's also about a woman's right to choose which baby she wants to have.

Amy Welborn makes this apposite comment:

I can only humbly fault, not so much with the piece, perhaps, but with the way of discourse it expresses, an imprecision that is perhaps too painful to face. This is not about "having" or "not having" babies with disabilities - the common way of discussing such things, when they are discussed at all. It is about "killing" or "not killing" babies with disabilities. Period.

And Wilfred McClay at Mere Comments provides us with a perspective rarely included in the debate.

I myself recall having a conversation with a Down's syndrome adult who noted the disparity between Senator Edward M. Kennedy's well-publicized support for the Special Olympics, and his equally well-known insistence that no woman should have to bear the indignity of a "defective" or unwanted child. "I may be slow," this man observed, "but I am not stupid. Does he think that people like me can't understand what he really thinks of us? That we are not really wanted? That it would be a better world if we didn't exist?"

Well, Kennedy's personal opinion on defective children doesn't really matter, provided he can protect women's prerogative to abort for any reason they find valid. And since many defective persons -- as well as the elderly -- are often expensive liabilities, the pressure to eliminate "useless eaters" will increase as the tax-base shrinks, and not only from the Democratic side of the aisle. This from a speech by the late Malcolm Muggeridge, given at the University of San Francisco in 1978:

If people are only considered to be economic entities whose value is measured by the quality and/or quantity of their productivity, then what conceivable justification is there for maintaining, at great expense and difficulty, mentally and physically handicapped people and elderly? I know, that as sure as I can possibly persuade you to believe: governments will find it impossible to resist the temptation ... to deliver themselves from this burden of looking after the sick and the handicapped by the simple expedient of killing them off. Now this, in fact, is what the Nazis did ... not always through slaughter camps, but by a perfectly coherent decree with perfectly clear conditions. In fact, delay in creating public pressure for euthanasia has been due to the fact that it was one of the war crimes cited at Nuremberg. So for the Guinness Book of Records you can submit this: That it takes just about 30 years in our humane society to transform a war crime into an act of compassion. That is exactly what happened.

Nazi euthanasia propaganda poster: "One genetically defective patient costs the state 5.5 Reichsmarks per day. For 5.5 Reichsmarks a genetically healthy family can live for one day!"

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 19, 2005 10:45 PM ET USA

    Margaret's "old pediatrician" got it right. I hadn't consciously noticed until I read the article that the Down's folks who once populated the landscape with the dreamy wonder on their faces and their "old" mothers' attentiveness while I was growing up are now almost nowhere to be seen. It is as if the condition has been cured. The truth is, those folks have not been cured. They've almost been eliminated.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 19, 2005 6:27 PM ET USA

    Thank you, once again, Diogenes, for a poignant blog. Please let me know whether I might re-print this for my parish bulletin. AMDG. Thanks.

  • Posted by: sparch - Oct. 18, 2005 3:38 PM ET USA

    Poor old Teddy. Here is a man of great conflict and confusion. He is as consistant as warm yogurt. To call him Catholic refers more to his birth than his convictions. Here is a man who is not afraid to call him out and comment on Emperor Teddy's new clothes. I pray that all those Catholics who see abortion as a woman's right (and there many) one day understand the twisted logic of their position.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 18, 2005 11:43 AM ET USA

    One of the reasons that I persevered through seminary was the unconditional love shown me by the adult sister of a fellow seminarian; the woman was born with Down syndrome, and if her parents were pregnant with her today, they would be advised by the "well meaning" to kill her in utero. How varied the gifts that God gives us through ALL His children, and how narrow the vision that sees them as anything less than equal partners in His plan for salvation.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 18, 2005 11:40 AM ET USA

    Jonah Goldberg noted awhile back that he was surprised the Gay Rights movement had not twigged to the Euthanasia/Abortion/Radical/Soft/Mushie Left's insistence on extermination applying to AIDS patients. Remember the refrain? They took away the Jews and I did not complain; they took away the Poles and I did not complain;...eventually they came for me and there was no one left to complain. Or words to that effect...