“The quality of a civilization can be measured by the respect it has for its weakest members. There is no other criterion”

By Eileen Haupt,  Live Action News

To Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to come before you and testify in opposition to H.57: An act relating to preserving the right to abortion.

I oppose the legalization of abortion in general, but I am sharing my perspective as a mother of a child with Down syndrome. I am the mother of two daughters; the younger, named Sadie, has Down syndrome and is now 20. She is a special young lady and the joy of our lives!

I know that those of you on this board care about Social Justice and care about vulnerable individuals, such as those with disabilities. I am sure it is why you serve—not only in the legislature, but also in other ways, with other organizations—to improve the lives of Vermonters.

I want to share with you today the devastating effect that legalized abortion—the very procedure that the House is aiming to “preserve” by this proposed legislation—is having on the population of Down syndrome.

A study by Dr. Brian Skotko of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, and others, estimates that about one-third of the population of individuals with Down syndrome in the U.S. has been lost to abortion.

In that study, they refer to an earlier study that estimates the rate of abortion of babies with Down syndrome to be approximately 67 percent in the United States. The rate varies among geographic areas and demographic groups. Geographically, the Northeast and Hawaii have the highest rates. I would expect Vermont would be included in that higher rateIn Europe, the rates are even higher. … In 2017, “CBSN: On Assignment” produced a show that investigated the eradication of babies with Down syndrome in Iceland. [https://www.cbsnews.com/news/down-syndrome-iceland This is an issue that has garnered international attention].

When abortion is allowed for any reason with no restrictions, it is also allowed for discriminatory reasons, such as to eradicate babies with Down syndrome.

Of course, in order to abort based on disability, the disability must be detected. This is why prenatal testing was developed. And if I am not mistaken, the primary reason for the development of amniocentesis was to detect Down syndrome specifically. Prenatal testing is routinely performed on pregnant mothers to detect whether their babies have Down syndrome, as well as other genetic conditions.

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