Iceland Failed

By Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources


Iceland took center stage this week when CBS News aired its “On Assignment” segment provocatively titled, “Is Iceland on track to eliminate Down  syndrome?” (August 14, 2017).

I was eager to view the segment in light of the 2013 revelation that discoveries in genetic research might lead to a therapy to correct the Down syndrome condition. I thought Iceland might have embraced the research and successfully applied it to the segment of the population that had Down syndrome.

Rather, Iceland has failed in any type of curative efforts to treat Down syndrome. Instead, Iceland has chosen the path of eradicating Down syndrome by aborting those who are at high risk of having the condition.

Let me interject by commending CBS for its thoughtful and insightful coverage of this story. It was not full of the “look how great abortion is” fanfare I had grown to expect from the media in general. Rather, the segment raised thoughtful questions about a society that annihilates a segment of its population, albeit unborn, to achieve a social-engineering goal. I was very impressed with the balance of the story. It is worth watching the 10-minute segment.

Sadly, Iceland’s approach to such challenges is becoming more evident throughout the world. We see it in the search-and-destroy prenatal testing at the beginning of life. We also see it in the assisted-suicide movement at the end of life. Taking life is easier, cheaper, and more efficient than working on a cure. It remains, however, wrong.

The CBS segment observed that Iceland is not a religious country and that its “state church” actually supports abortion rights. What we observe in Iceland is an example of what happens when you extract allegiance to God out of a culture. Iceland is every bit as much a mission field as any pagan culture we step into.

I encourage you to view the segment. It is exceptionally well done. I also encourage you to understand the train of logic that has brought Iceland to this point. Iceland is what we are becoming. Countries like Iceland are on the cutting edge of immorality and godlessness, and foreshadow what we will become if we follow the same path.

Iceland failed to eradicate Down syndrome. What Iceland succeeded in doing is framing life within the womb as less-than-human and therefore eligible for termination. As one interviewee in the segment asked, “Where does it lead us? What’s next?” and “What kind of society do you want to live in?” Those are all valid social questions that need to be addressed. A society willing to kill its most defenseless must ask where it will stop.

As Christians our values are not found in our personal opinions or preferences but rather in God’s Word. It is an objective standard of right and wrong in a world that argues only for subjective standards and minimal commonality.

The solution to Down syndrome and a host of other prenatal conditions is found not in termination but exploration. As we consider the great blessings of science it compels Christians to use it as a force of good in this world. The Iceland story should inspire us to increase our efforts to love those born with any disability and to support efforts to remedy conditions that would be a hardship.

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