Abortion and disability

From the statistics on Down Syndrome, it appears that a large proportion of those who are “pro-life” in political terms don’t act on those beliefs when push comes to shove in their own lives.

Props to Andrew Sullivan for having the intellectual integrity to print an email which seems to me to embody a devastating critique of the “pro-life” position Sullivan holds dear:

The arguments for and against aborting babies who will be born with disabilities are not much different than the arguments for abortion in general. If you believe that the fetus is a person from the start, then the consistent position is not to abort babies with disabilities. After all, they are people, and just as you would not euthanise them after they were born, or as adults, you would not kill them before they are born. On the other hand, if you believe that the fetus is not yet a person, then deliberately allowing a disabled child to be born is akin to abuse. Just as you would not maim a child after it is born in order to cause mental or physical handicaps, you would also not allow such a child to form in the first place when you could avoid it.

Now, given that our nation is supposedly evenly divided about choice, the fact that so many fewer Downs babies are being born should tell you something about what anti-choicers do when actually confronted with such a situation.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com