Human Rights Groups Warn of Eugenics As European Court Mulls Down Syndrome Case

by Patrick Goodenough/CNSNews.com

“Eugenics is not a human right,” activists will declare at a meeting in Strasbourg, France this week, as Europe’s highest court considers a woman’s complaint that she was not given prenatal screening that would have alerted her to her daughter’s Down syndrome, thus giving her the choice of deciding whether or not to have an abortion.

European associations of people with Down syndrome will hold a round-table discussion on Thursday, hosted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), on the subject, “Eugenics and human rights, issues of prenatal screening.”

The meeting and an associated declaration – signed by 25 national organizations to date – are a response to a case currently before the European Court of Human Rights, which campaigners say centers on nothing less than “how European society defines humanity.”

A Latvian woman who give birth to a girl with Down syndrome in June 2002 is arguing that she should have been given a blood screening test as part of “prenatal care.” Anita Kruzmane argues that had she undergone the test, she would have been in a position to decide whether to go ahead with the pregnancy.

The European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice, is acting as an intervener in the case. It is also helping to organize the meeting on Thursday, which Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based ECLJ, said “is intended to raise the awareness of institutions about the eugenic current of European society.  This is the first time that so many organizations, dedicated to persons with Down syndrome and disabilities, have mobilized at the European level to denounce eugenics and discrimination,” he said.

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