Colson: Why Max Deserves a Life

If we don't catch all defective babies before birth, some doctors have recommended letting them die after birth.

Sit in Grandpa's chair." The laughing voice rises from my office chair as Max bounces up and down. Max is my six-year-old grandson, and his visits are a whirl of McDonald's Happy Meals and rambunctious splashes in the pool.

When strangers see Max for the first time, they're immediately drawn to the blond, tousle-haired youngster. But in a few moments, they also notice that Max is different. You see, Max is autistic.

And today kids not very different from Max are being targeted for elimination.

Prenatal testing has become so sophisticated that doctors can now identify many disabilities before birth. But since most have no cure, the only way to "prevent" the disability is to prevent the baby's birth. Thus abortion is bringing back eugenics—the idea of weeding out "defectives" and upgrading our genetic stock.

Consider: In 1990 Joycelyn Elders said that abortion "has had an important, and positive, public-health effect" by reducing "the number of children afflicted with severe defects." Here was a public health official praising "the eugenic utility of abortion," notes Tucker Carlson in the Weekly Standard. Abortion is cast not merely as a private choice but also as a way to improve the species.

Take the case of Down syndrome. Studies reveal that when pregnant women learn they are carrying a Down syndrome baby, 90 percent have an abortion. Many say they are acting under pressure from doctors and insurance companies. In a Canadian study, one in three of the mothers said she felt "more or less forced" to abort.

The arguments wielded to "force" women are often crassly economic. Nachum Sicherman of Columbia Business School calls abortion of Down syndrome babies "a great cost saving." Dr. Mark Evans, director of Detroit's Center ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Charles Colson
Charles Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers. Colson, who converted to Christianity before he was indicted on Watergate-related charges, became one of evangelicalism's most influential voices. His books included Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? A Christianity Today columnist since 1985, Colson died in 2012.
Previous Charles Colson Columns:
November
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Christianity Today
Colson: Why Max Deserves a Life
close
hide this
June 16 June 16

Member-Only Access

This article is from the June 16, 1997 print issue. Subscribe to continue reading.