Monday, 2 December 2013

Eugenics and the pro-abortion campaign in Ireland

Clare Daly TD
Matthew McCusker, one of the authors of SPUC's youth blog, has sent me kindly his reflections on eugenics and the pro-abortion campaign in Ireland, below:
"In a recent blogpost Pat Buckley has drawn attention to the intention of Independent TD Clare Daly to introduce a private members bill in the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to allow for abortion in cases of fatal ‘foetal abnormality’. The Irish Times has reported that the Government will not oppose the introduction of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy (Amendment) (Fatal Foetal Abnormalities) Bill.

The clear implication of all such laws is that unborn children with disabilities, and by extension all people with disabilities, are of less value than other human beings. This is the inescapable conclusion of allowing them to be killed in circumstances where others would be protected. It is no surprise to find that disabled infants are being specifically targeted by abortion advocates. The movement for abortion and the movement for eugenics have in fact always been closely associated with the former developing seemlessly from the latter.

The term ‘eugenics’ was coined by Sir Francis Galton who thought that modern science could be used to selectively breed a human master race. His ideas were soon popularised by figures such as H. G. Wells who wrote that in the world of the future there would be no place for those who ‘who do not come into the new needs of efficiency’. Wells asserted that, in order to deal with those who, through physical or mental disability, fell short of the standard of human perfection, ‘the method that must in some cases still be called in… is death…the merciful obliteration of weak and silly and pointless things.’

Ideas like this were commonplace among scientists and politicians in the first half the twentieth century. In the United States alone thousands of people were forcibly sterilised after being deemed ‘unfit’. An enthusiastic participant in the eugenic movement was Margaret Sanger who, while best known for her advocacy of birth control, considered that birth control was inseperable from the broader re-shaping of the human race through eugenics. ‘The campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value’ she wrote ‘but is practically identical in ideal with the final aims of Eugenics.’ As well as contraception she favoured a variety of other methods such as the forcible segregation and sterilisation of those, such as the ‘mentally and physically defective’, who she deemed to be no more than ‘human weeds’. The organisation she founded, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, placed itself at the forefront of the movement to legalise and performs abortions in the United States and around the world. In Britain similar views were voiced by Marie Stopes, and the organisation that proudly bears her name is a major abortion provider already established on Irish soil.

TD Clare Daly is only one of many who have sought that unborn children with disabilities be eliminated by abortion. Her amendment is focused on children who would die before birth but the lesson of recent history is that the abortion movement will not stop there. Indeed, the speed with which this amendment follows the ‘Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill’ shows that the connection between abortion and eugenics is as strong as ever."
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