Pope Francis has denounced what he called the “eugenic tendency” behind eliminating unborn babies with handicaps, which reveals a “narcissistic and utilitarian vision.”
This egotistic viewpoint leads many to consider people with disabilities as marginal, without perceiving their human and spiritual wealth, the Pope said Saturday, as he addressed participants in a conference titled “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.”
Too many people still reject this condition, Francis said, “as if it prevented them from being happy and fulfilled.”
“Proof of it is the eugenic tendency to suppress the unborn who have some form of imperfection,” he said.
“I was thinking about the custom of doing away with babies before they’re born, this horrendous crime,” Francis said last fall. “They do away with them because it’s easier like that, because it’s more comfortable. It’s a great responsibility—a very grave sin.”
A week ago, the Pope once again called on society to defend the unborn, insisting that people must be especially attentive to human life in its most vulnerable stages.
“We are called to defend and safeguard human life, especially in the mother’s womb, in infancy, old age and physical or mental disability,” he said in a post on Twitter.
Meanwhile Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates have continued pushing for abortion-on-demand, including sex- and race-selective abortion as well as the killing of unborn children suspected of having genetic anomalies.
Last month, an Indiana judge found for Planned Parenthood in a suit brought against HEA 1337, a state law banning gender-selective abortions and those based on a prenatal diagnosis of disabilities such as Down syndrome.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, an Obama appointee, issued a permanent injunction against Indiana’s “Sex Selective and Disability Abortion Ban” in a 22-page decision, saying that provisions of the law “violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
HEA 1337 prohibited abortions based on the sex or race of the child or a prenatal diagnosis of “Down syndrome or any other disability.”
In her ruling, Judge Pratt defended sex-selective and disability-based abortions, stating that “it is a woman’s right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the State to examine, let alone prohibit, the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice.”
“The right to a pre-viability abortion is categorical,” Pratt declared, regardless of the particular motivation that drives a woman to seek it.
In his address Saturday, Pope Francis took aim at this mentality, noting that humanity had advanced considerably in its appreciation of the inherent dignity of those with Down syndrome or other disabilities.
“We know the great development that has taken place over the last decades concerning disabilities,” Francis said. “Growth in the awareness of the dignity of every person, especially the weakest ones, has led to brave positions for the inclusion of those who live with different forms of handicap.”
“Still, at the cultural level there are still expressions that wound the dignity of these persons because of the prevalence of a false conception of life,” he warned.
“In reality, we all know so many people who, even with their fragility, have discovered the path to a good life that is rich in meaning, despite the fatigue involved,” the pontiff said. “On the other hand, we also know people who are seemingly perfect and yet desperate!”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome