As the US prepares for a drastic change in leadership and state legislation concerning abortion is becoming a battleground issue, South Dakota is taking the lead in the pro-life battle, preventing abortions based on the results of prenatal testing for Down Syndrome. Overwhelmingly utilized in Europe, these abortions are compared to genocide and eugenics by some, while one rabbi explains this practice, based in idolatry, is an attempt to delay the Redemption.
South Dakota Leading the Way to Save Children with Down Syndrome
At her third State of the State address last week, Governor Kristi Noem (Rep.) proposed a bill to the legislature that would prevent abortion for babies based on Down syndrome diagnoses.
“Even today, in 2021, some European countries, like Iceland and Denmark, are on pace to virtually eliminate children with Down syndrome,” Noem said. “They do this one way and one way only: through abortion.”
“I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all preborn children inherently possess this right to life, too,” Noem continued, referring to the Declaration of Independence. “Until that time comes, I am asking the South Dakota legislature to pass a law that bans the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.”
In 2019, Republicans in Congress introduced the “Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act” which, if accepted as law, prohibits physicians from performing an abortion if they’re aware that a diagnosis of Down syndrome, or the possibility, is influencing the decision. They could face a fourth-degree felony charge, be stripped of their medical license, and be held liable for legal damages. The pregnant woman faces no criminal liability under the law. The legislation also contains privacy protections for pregnant mothers, forbids the use of coercion against them, and bars them from prosecution.
Supporters argue the legislation helps ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for a group of potential Americans with some ethicists claiming that targeting a specific classification of a child for abortion constitutes genocide. Opponents counter that any reason for getting an abortion should be between a woman and her physician only.
In March 2019, Gov. Noem signed into law bills that required Planned Parenthood to have women sign a state-written form consenting to an abortion, requiring parental notification and agreement before resuscitation can be withheld from a minor with a life-limiting illness, required doctors to give a woman the opportunity to view a sonogram and hear the heartbeat of the fetus prior to an abortion, required doctors to report certain data to the state related to abortions, and criminalized the act of causing an abortion against a woman’s will.
Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities in humans, affecting about one in 700 babies born in the US each year, or about 6,000 annually. The probability increases from less than 0.1% in 20-year-old mothers to 3% in those of age 45. Down syndrome can be identified in the tenth week of pregnancy by prenatal screening followed by diagnostic testing. Since the introduction of screening, Down syndrome pregnancies are often aborted with recent studies showing that the weighted mean termination rate was 67%.
A CBS report in 2017 claimed that the rate of terminated pregnancies in the Netherlands based on Down Syndrome being detected in prenatal screening tests was close to 100%. With 85 % of pregnant women choosing to take the prenatal screening test, people with Down Syndrome have been all but eliminated from the Netherlands. In France, 77 % of children with Down Syndrome are aborted, 90% in the UK, and 98% in Denmark. In Europe as a whole, somewhere around 92 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. It should be noted that the screening test is only 85 percent accurate.
When considering the issue, it is worthwhile to note that Jerome Lejeune, the French geneticist who discovered the chromosomal basis for Down syndrome, said, “It cannot be denied that the price of these diseases is high — in suffering for the individual and in burdens for society. Not to mention what parents suffer! But we can assign a value to that price: It is precisely what a society must pay to remain fully human.”
Abortion: Idolatry’s Attempt to Delay the Redemption
On a spiritual level, some have compared abortion to ritual child sacrifice in idolatry. Ba’al, worshipped by the Mesopotamians, was a major influence in ancient times. Mentioned more than 90 times in the Bible, most notably when Elijah defeated the priests of Ba’al in a contest to bring down fire from heaven to burn a sacrifice, Ba’al became the archetypical form of idol worship. Followers of Ba’al engaged in bisexual orgies and sacrificed human infants, burning them alive. Pantheistic, they worshipped Mother Nature while denying the existence of a creator.
On this basis, the Satanic Temple based in Salem, Massachusetts touts abortion as a “sacramental act that confirms the right of bodily autonomy.” While claiming that it is non-theistic, the Satanic Temple using Satanic imagery, most notably the goat-headed Baphomet ironically surrounded by adoring children, perhaps as the basis of their “Protect the Children Project” and their after-school program. The Satanic Temple claims to promote an agenda of egalitarianism, social justice, and the separation of church and state. They describe Satan as a symbol representing “the eternal rebel” against arbitrary authority and social norms.
Abortion is forbidden by Jewish law except in cases where the mother’s life or health is in jeopardy. It is also forbidden by the Noahide Laws which proscribe the spilling of blood.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, explained that abortions, especially in connection with idolatry, are an intentional effort to delay the redemption.
“According to Jewish tradition, the final redemption will come when all of the souls achieve their final Tikkunim (fixings),” Rabbi Berger said. “It is for this reason that souls come back into the world many times. Pharoah perceived himself as god and thought he could delay the redemption of the Jews by throwing the babies into the Nile and preventing these souls from coming into the world. In the same way, abortion is an attempt to prevent the final redemption.”
“Children born with disabilities are very high souls,” Rabbi Berger said. “They do not need all of their facilities to achieve this final Tikkun and, as such, they bring a very intense light into this world that is hidden to most people. Parents who merit bringing such children into the world know this to be true.”