Actress Patricia Heaton is responding to CBS’s new report that Iceland has exterminated nearly all children with Down syndrome through abortion.
The network tweeted, “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 15, 2017
“Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome,” the pro-life star of ABC’s The Middle tweeted in response. “They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) August 15, 2017
Heaton blasts CBS’s take that also states, “Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women – close to 100 percent – who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.”
“My understanding is that we have basically eradicated, almost, Down syndrome from our society — that there is hardly ever a child with Down syndrome in Iceland anymore,” said geneticist Kari Stefansson, founder of deCODE Genetics, according to the report.
Stefansson was asked by CBS, “What does the 100 percent termination rate, you think, reflect about Icelandic society?”
“It reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling,” he said. “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.”
“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,” Stefansson added.
Still, a few babies with Down syndrome manage to escape abortion, according to the report.
“Babies with Down syndrome are still being born in Iceland,” said Hulda Hjartardottir, head of the Prenatal Diagnosis Unit at Landspitali University Hospital, where most Icelandic children are born. “Some of them were low risk in our screening test, so we didn’t find them in our screening.”
Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America – the largest women’s public policy organization in the United States – also commented:
Iceland sounds like they are proud of the fact that they’ve killed nearly all unborn babies that had an in-utero diagnosis of Down syndrome. This is not a medical advancement. This is eugenics and barbarianism at best. These individuals have no less worth than anyone else. What is the next headline going to be? That a certain country has eradicated all females. Oh wait, China has already been down that road. There is no limit to this train of thought of devaluing human life.
Others objected on social media as well to the idea that aborting unborn babies with Down syndrome is a desirable goal:
Frightening & disturbing. I work w/children w/Down's. Most rewarding thing I've ever done!
— Jayna (@dog_mom3) August 15, 2017
My son has down syndrome.. he is a teenager who bowls, swims, dances, sings and LOVES Everyone! 💗💗💗💗💗
— Anne Sun (@AnneSun7) August 15, 2017
Give your boy a kiss for me, Anne! My girl–> pic.twitter.com/nO8Zy36jbC
— Jeff Ellington (@Jeff_Ellington1) August 15, 2017