Adoption is Currently NOT a Solution

Pro-choice and pro-life aside, a nation encouraging its citizens to abort every baby of a certain race, gender, disability, or etc. is genocide. Some claim it is the leading cause of death of black people in America, it is documented to be part of why India is facing the impacts of a shortage of women, and it is the reason why many nations are seeing less and less people with Down syndrome. The difference between these circumstances? The governments in the nations that are seeing less people with Down syndrome, openly express that it is their goal. These nations have declared that they are attempting to rid themselves of people with Down syndrome through selective abortion. For example, in 2017, Iceland proudly declared to have an abortion rate of people with Down syndrome close to 100%. They do not force each mother to abort her baby if diagnosed with Down syndrome, but enough pressure and false information is there to have the high abortion rate that they do. Other nations have similar abortion rates of babies with Down syndrome. For example, Denmark has a 98% abortion rate, France has a 77% abortion rate, and the United States has a 67% abortion rate. Their reasoning? The two biggest stereotypes of having Down syndrome: being unintelligent and incapable.

One hundred and fifty five characteristics, and not one of them was positive ... If I’d known then what I know now, I’d say bring it on. I know we’re lucky and he has very few issues. But everyone has challenges in life – the difference is that we just knew from birth what some of his were likely to be
— Róisín Ní Chonchúir, a mother of someone with Down syndrome, referring to a list of characteristics about Down syndrome she was given when her child was born

With correct knowledge about Down syndrome, and how those stereotypes were crafted, people in these nations can work to end the genocide of people with Down syndrome, not only by making informed decisions, but by influencing other citizens and their governments. Change happens slowly, so in the meantime, it would make sense to take action, so that instead of aborting almost every baby with Down syndrome, they are born and put up for international adoption, given that the population of the rest of the world far outweighs Iceland's. While the nations are learning and changing, the babies with Down syndrome would be with families that view them as equal human beings. Many people seem to assume that this already happens; however, in Iceland, the nation with the highest abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome (close to 100%), international adoption as a temporary solution is not a practical reality. 

According to Iceland's Adoption Act No. 130/1999 with Amendments, Chapter VII, Article 37, you cannot adopt a child from Iceland unless you live in Iceland, and/or, you and/or your spouse is a citizen of Iceland. The act proposes two exceptions: a district commissioner could grant permission "in case the applicants have a special connection with the country," or, if your specific adoption applies to "the Hague Convention from May 29, 1993, on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption." Even with these two exceptions, when you consider Iceland's pride of their near 100% abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome, it is very unlikely that these exceptions would be granted. The probability alone of convincing Iceland to change their goal to have babies with Down syndrome adopted out of their nation, instead of aborted, is extremely low.

If you take any group of people with a similar trait, declare that they are unintelligent, and the world treats them as such, they won’t be intelligent, but it won’t be the fault of their similar trait. Instead, it is the fault of the people declaring they are unintelligent, and treating them as such. We’ve seen it time and time again throughout history done to people of color, women, those in poverty- this isn’t any different
— Kaitlin Pepper, President and Co-Founder of Save Down Syndrome

Although there are many families that would be thrilled to adopt these babies that are being aborted, it seems that our only current option is to provide Iceland, and nations with similar goals, with correct information about Down syndrome. By showing citizens of these nations the truth about Down syndrome, citizens that don't already treat people with Down syndrome as equal human beings, may start to. It is likely that less women will choose to abort their baby with Down syndrome, lowering the abortion rate, and defeating Iceland's goal of eradication. Furthermore, children that would grow up with the truth about Down syndrome will some day be part of their nation's government, and the goal to eliminate people with Down syndrome through abortion would be history.

While spreading the truth about Down syndrome, we need to call attention to the genocide to gather more support, and possibly to take legal action. The International Criminal Court can prosecute violations against the Rome Statute, which includes genocide, extermination, and "persecution against any identifiable group." Several nations with the goal to eliminate people with Down syndrome from their nation through abortion, who have also ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, are eligible for prosecution by the ICC. Among the nations that we have mentioned, Iceland, Denmark, and France are all eligible for prosecution. Save Down Syndrome plans to file an extensive report, which would be supported by multiple filings about the genocide from people all over the world.

Spread information about the reality of Down syndrome, share about the genocide on social media, file a report with the ICC, and do whatever you can to end the genocide of people with Down syndrome. Opposed to what these nations believe, a world without people with Down syndrome would not be a better place.