Iceland seems to be leading the world in the eradication of Down syndrome; on average, only one or two babies suffering from the condition are born in the nation of 330,000 each year.
…Cognitive impairments resulting from Down syndrome can range from mild to severe, and deadly physical anomalies are also often associated with the disease. Roughly half of all those who suffer from Down syndrome have serious health conditions, including potentially deadly congenital heart defects. The life expectancy of those afflicted with the syndrome is roughly 60 years, and many require specialized medical care for the entire duration of their lives.
…Down syndrome is often not discovered until late in the 2nd trimester, which can pose a legal and ethical dilemma for some expectant mothers. However, Iceland allows for the termination of pregnancies after 16 weeks in cases of fetal deformity, including Down syndrome.
Only a couple of babies with Down syndrome are born during an average year in Iceland, and in many of those few instances it is because parents get incorrect genetic screening results. In the United States, roughly 6,000 Down syndrome babies are born annually.
…When genetic abnormalities, including Down syndrome, are discovered, Helga Sol Olafsdottir (also of Landspitali University Hospital) helps to counsel the pregnant women in the midst of crisis. She tells those feeling guilty over their decision to terminate that “this is their life.”
…Women in Iceland who choose to terminate Down syndrome fetus are given a prayer card following the procedure. The tiny memento includes the termination date and the footprints of the terminated fetus, a practice that is confusing to [anti-womens’ empowerment] activists in America, many of whom [are intellectually and emotionally shallow enough to] consider terminating a pregnancy to be tantamount to murder.
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