Down syndrome association: Spain’s eugenic abortion law violates human rights of disabled
February 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Spanish Down syndrome association “Down Spain” (Down España) is petitioning the government to eliminate provisions in the current abortion law allowing children to be killed in the womb up til birth because of “serious abnormalities in the fetus.” Currently Spain’s abortion law allows women to abort their unborn babies up until 14 weeks on demand, but provides the sweeping exception for babies who suffer from an “extremely grave and incurable illness.”
Noting that Spain is a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which it ratified in 2008, Down Spain holds that “the current legislation does not award the same value to the life of a disabled person as one who is not disabled,” which violates the terms of the Convention.
The Convention states in Article 10 that “every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.”
It also promises “freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 15) “the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable health standard without discrimination” (Article 25) and “freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse” (Article 16) for disabled people.
“Any legislation that permits eugenic abortion - which is practiced to avoid the birth of a disabled boy or girl - is discriminatory because it treats the life of a person with a disability as less valuable than that of another person who is not disabled,” writes Down Spain, noting the right to life of the disabled protected in Article 10 of the Convention.
Down Spain “considers it inadmissible that the law makes possible an interruption of pregnancy carried out because of the fact that the fetus has a disability” and observes that the United Nations’ own Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has recommended to Spain that it remove the provision on eugenic abortions from its law.
An estimated 95% of babies whose Down syndrome is detected in the womb are aborted in Spain according to a 2008 study, prompting the director of Spain’s Foundation Life to state that children with Down are “in danger of extinction” in Spain.