Human Exceptionalism

“Wrong” Baby Aborted

The moral implications of this story are profound and complex. An Italian couple was pregnant with twins. One of the fetuses tested positive for Down syndrome. A eugenic abortion was performed. The baby without Down was destroyed. The Down child was then also aborted. From the story in the (London) Times:

The mother, who has a small son, said that her life had been ruined. “Neither my husband nor I can sleep at night,” she told the Corriere della Sera, which first reported the blunder. She said that the happiness she and her husband had experienced when they learnt that she was expecting twins had been transformed into heartbreak.

Her husband said that they were “truly desperate over this terrible mistake” and were consulting family lawyers.

Here’s the saddest part to me: The “transformation” from joy to heartbreak was entirely preventable. If society and this couple had embraced the value of both of their gestating children, rather than accepting the eugenic belief that the Down baby should not be allowed to be born, their joy would remain unabated. If there was more publicity given to the potential joys of raising children with Down, as I discuss here, perhaps a different choice would have been made. Truly, when we reject the intrinsic value of each of us, tragedies often result.