Advocacy Groups Condemn Iceland’s Drive to End Down Syndrome by Abortion

Annabel Scott and Theresa Smith | August 16, 2017 | 5:40pm EDT
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A young girl with Down syndrome.


( -- As a CBS News report examining Iceland’s pathway to eradicating Down syndrome via abortion circulates, multiple advocacy groups and leaders have spoken out, condemning the actions taken to end so many innocent lives, with some describing it as “eugenics,” similar to what was done in Nazi Germany.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has a child with Down syndrome, said, “It’s just so wrong, it’s just so evil,” and “hearkens back to neo-Nazi Germany when they tried the same.”

Talk-radio host Glenn Beck, who also has a child with special needs, said, “This, to me, is the biggest symbol of the doom of humanity and the doom of our society. That is not progress. Let’s call it what it is: eugenics. That is Margaret Sanger’s most base dream, to get rid of the undesirables.”

According to the controversial report from CBSN: On Assignment, nearly 100% of Icelandic women carrying a child that tests positive for Down syndrome choose to abort their babies. Because of this unusually high abortion rate, annually, only one to two Icelandic Down syndrome children are carried to full-term and given a chance at life.  

Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest women's public policy organization, said, "Iceland sounds like they are proud of the fact that they've killed nearly all unborn babies that had an in-utero diagnosis of Down syndrome.”

“This is not a medical advancement,” she said. “This is eugenics and barbarism at best.  These individuals have no less worth than anyone else.”

“What is the next headline going to be?” said Nance.  “That a certain country has eradicated all females? Oh wait, China has already been down that road. There is no limit to this train of thought of devaluing human life."  

The president of the National Down Syndrome Society, Sara Hart Weir, told, "As the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) encourages, equips and empowers our new and expectant families, and most importantly, our self-advocates.”

She continued, “One of our biggest concerns is that these noninvasive prenatal screening tests for Trisomy 21 are not even regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration -- and women, even in the U.S., aren’t receiving accurate, up-to-date information about Down syndrome from their healthcare providers -- a vital issue we have advocated for, for many, many decades.”

“At NDSS, we advocate for and alongside individuals with Down syndrome to remove any barrier standing in their way from achieving the ‘American Dream,’” stated Weir.

“In the United States, children and adults with Down syndrome continue to exceed expectations – individuals with Down syndrome live independently, go to college, work in competitive jobs, get married, live to their full potential and lead fulfilling lives – and as one of the world’s largest advocacy organizations, we will continue to advocate tirelessly for the total inclusion and acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome in every corner of our world,” said the president of NDSS.

Sara Hart Weir, president of the National Down Syndrome Society.  (NDSS) 

Abby Johnson, president of the pro-life group And Then There Were None, told,  "Iceland isn't eradicating Down syndrome from their population -- they are heinously deciding that life is better without these precious individuals and killing them through abortion.”

“They are purposely and publicly saying that these individuals are worthless, which is a terrifying road to go down,” said Johnson.  “Who's next? What segment of the human population will need to be 'eradicated' in their eyes? There is an infinite number of horrifying possibilities if a nation decides to go down this road."

According to the CBS report, Helga Sol Olafsdottir, a Landspitali University Hospital counselor who helps Icelandic woman decide their course of action when their child has been diagnosed with the disorder, tells her patients, "This is your life. You have the right to choose how your life will look like."

“We don't look at abortion as a murder,” she told CBS. “We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication … preventing suffering for the child and for the family.”

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini. (Screenshot.) 

In reaction to Olafsdottir’s comments, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini told that unlike Olafsdottir, she believes a Down syndrome diagnosis should not be a death sentence for any child.

“I think her understanding of the inherent dignity of every human person is flawed. No person is perfect and every life has many complications,” said Mancini. “I don’t want to be unrealistic, of course it [Down syndrome] offers different difficulties, but at the same time, every life is a gift and no person is perfect.”

“To do away with an entire population of people because their IQ is a little bit lower or because their smiles are a little bit bigger and they have more innocence, it’s just heartbreaking,” said Mancini.

Mancini also explained that what may seem like Iceland’s attempt to rid society of the Down syndrome disorder is actually a complete elimination of a special population of valued human beings. They are killing babies because they supposedly are not “perfect.”

“I think that the strategy of abortion advocates is to continue to try to normalize abortion and to remove the stigma of abortion and any shame associated with it,” she said. “What I would say to that and anyone in Iceland or these other countries where they are bragging about the elimination of an entire population is that when a woman is pregnant, you can’t erase the life that is there and abortion doesn’t erase a life -- it takes a life.”

“You can’t pretend like a life was never there or erase it,” Mancini added. “We’re moving in the direction of basically eliminating an entire population of beautiful people just because they are ‘imperfect.’ Isn’t it the case that we are all imperfect in some way?”

Lila Rose, the president and founder of the pro-life media group Live Action, also joined other pro-life leaders in their criticism, tweeting, “Iceland is killing preborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome at a ‘100% termination rate.’ This is very tragic — not news to celebrate.”

Live Action President Lila Rose. 

Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, weighed in as well. "My heart breaks for the innocent babies aborted in Iceland because society has deemed certain people undeserving of life,” she told

“My children with genetic disabilities are loved and valued the same as my children without. I pray this report will wake up the people of Iceland to the discriminatory killing occurring amongst them,” said Hawkins.

“I pray they wake up before even more human beings fall victim to this disgusting mindset,” she stated.

In a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and mother of a child with Down syndrome, expressed her disappointment in the recent CBS report, saying, “I couldn’t get through all the report without my heart just absolutely breaking because this intolerance for people who may not look like you -- it’s just so wrong. It’s just so evil.”

“Here, Iceland is such a beautiful country,” she said.  “When I was governor here, I met with the president of Iceland and we talked about our beautiful regions of the world and the beautiful people that live there -- the hard-working people with such great hearts.”

“And I think that Iceland won’t be so beautiful if they continue down this path of being so intolerant to the degree of trying to snuff out the life of those who maybe do not look like the subjective view of someone who would equate to perfection,” said Palin.


“You know, when you consider that a Down syndrome child -- their skin’s a bit different, their eyes are shaped differently, their speech-patterns are different,” she said.  “Those things that make them so unique make the world more unique and more beautiful.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her son Trig.  (Screenshot.) 

“To try to snuff out their life in the name of building a perfect race or a perfect country, that hearkens back to Neo-Nazi Germany when they tried the same. Look at the horrors that were resulting from those actions,” stated Palin.

Conservative talk-radio host Glenn Beck also discussed the report with his audience on Tuesday.

“This strikes me with more fear than what I’m seeing in Charlottesville, and that scares the Hell out of me,” said Beck. “A lot of times, it is the left that is cheering for the eliminating of Down syndrome while they’re condemning the Nazis, but this was the whole point of the Nazi movement. The first thing they did was eliminate the undesirables and those who couldn’t pay their own way in life.”

“This, to me, is the biggest symbol of the doom of humanity and the doom of our society,” he said. “That is not progress. Let’s call it what it is: eugenics. That is Margaret Sanger’s most base dream, to get rid of the undesirables.”

Conservative talk-radio host Glenn Beck.  (Screenshot.) 

Beck then spoke on a more personal level, explaining, “I’m a father of a daughter with special needs. Only a parent can truly understand this, a parent of special needs. I would give my life for my daughter to have an easier life but I would not take her life away because her life is tough.”

“When I saw this story and I saw this sweet child at the bottom of a CBS tweet with all kinds of likes underneath it, I thought, we can go no lower,” he said. “This is a new chapter of humanity. We just won’t be the same when we pass this door and cross its threshold.”

Abby Johnson, president of And Then There Were None.  ( 


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