The good news: scientists have found a genetic variant that may be associated with autism. The bad news: good science can be used for very bad things, as Ari Ne’e-man, who has Asperger Syndrome, explains in this Newsweek interview (h/t Mary Meets Dolly):
But the new genetic advances concern Ne’eman…His ultimate fear is this: a prenatal test for autism, leading to “eugenic elimination.” If a test is developed one day, it will be used, he says. And that means people like him might cease to exist.
When I press Ne’eman on genetic research—doesn’t it have some merit?—he says he doesn’t oppose it outright, but he believes scientists must consider the ethical implications of their work far more carefully. Already couples are testing embryos for diseases like Huntington’s, then choosing to implant only the healthy ones. And who can blame them? But autism isn’t a fatal condition. Should people without the disorder be allowed to judge the quality of life of someone who has it? “That is a message that the world doesn’t want us here,” says Ne’eman, “and it devalues our lives.”
Unfortunately this is a legitimate fear for anyone with a genetic disease or disability. Besides the IVF embryo screening mentioned above, couples are also opting to kill their unborn children who are prenatally diagnosed with these diseases in utero. Babies prenataly diagnosed with Down syndrome, for example, are aborted at a rate of nearly 90%. Some consider this progression and a twisted way of “curing” disease and eliminating suffering, but that is hardly the case. What it is instead is an evolutionary sort of “survival of the fittest” technique which seeks to weed out or eliminate individuals with certain genetic “abnormalities” rather than target the disease itself. Some people even go so far as to reject the unborn who carry only the potential for disease and not the disease itself.
Humanity’s greatness is shown best in how we love and care for the weak and suffering members of our society. All abortion is equally abhorrent and offensive to humanity. It targets one segment of society, the unborn, and deems it worthy of life only at the behest of another segment. Eugenic abortion, however, goes one step further and takes a class of born citizens, the sick and disabled, and instead of saying to us, “we love you and want to look for ways to improve your health and the health of those who will be afflicted in the future,” says, “your life is not worth living, you are a burden to yourself and society and you, and others like you, are better off dead.”