A member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee has defended the use of abortion to eliminate babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities as a “preventive measure” to “avoid the handicap.”
In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Committee this month, Mr. Yadh Ben Achour, a Tunisian lawyer and committee member, argued that one can be an advocate for handicapped people while still encouraging abortion in the case of fetuses with permanent disabilities.
Captured on videotape, the commissioner defended the inviolable right of women to an abortion, especially when her child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or another disability.
Mr. Ben Achour said in French:
If you tell a woman, “Your child has Dow…” — what is it called? Down syndrome, Dawn syndrome — if you tell her that, or that he may have a handicap forever, for the rest of his life, you should make this woman… it should be possible for her to resort to abortion to avoid the handicap as a preventive measure."
While describing himself as “an ardent defender of the handicapped,” Ben Achour insisted that the State must do everything possible to protect the handicapped “and ensure they have a life, a possible living.”
“But that does not mean that we have to accept to let a disabled fetus live,” he said. “This is a preventive measure.”
Advocating the abortion of handicapped children “doesn’t mean that we are against the disabled or that we won’t help the disabled when born disabled,” Ben Achour said.
The commissioner went on to contend that the key difference lies in catching the disability before the child is born so that it can be aborted because afterward society is obliged to defend the child’s right to live—even if the child has a genetic anomaly.
“So this is where we will find the difference between the birth of the human being. Once he is born, it is finished; with a handicap or without a handicap, he must live and we must protect absolutely, in an absolute manner, his right to life,” he said.
“So us, we defend the right of the handicapped, but, but we can avoid the handicaps, and we must do everything we can to avoid them,” he added. “And it is not contradictory.”
In response to Mr. Ben Achour’s speech, a young woman with Down syndrome made her own YouTube video in response, suggesting that the commissioner apologize for his “horrible comments.”
“I’m a human being just like you,” said the woman, identified only as Charlotte. “Our only difference is an extra chromosome.”
“My extra chromosome makes me far more tolerant than you, sir,” she said. “If any other heritable traits, like skin color, were used to eradicate a group of people, the world would cry out. Why are you not crying out when people like me are being made extinct? What have we done to make you want us to disappear?”
“As far as I know, my community doesn’t hate, discriminate, or commit crimes,” Charlotte said. “What you are suggesting is eugenics. It’s disgusting and evil.”
“You need to apologize for your horrible comments,” the woman continued. “You should also be removed from the Human Rights Committee as an expert. You are not an expert about Down syndrome. You, sir, do not speak for my community.”
“I will fight for our right to exist for the rest of my life,” she said.