A little question on statistics afflicts me. It has to do with the abortion rate. We are told sometimes that it has fallen, slightly, in most Western countries, and too, that opposition to abortion is modestly growing. From the pro-life position things are getting better, mostly because modern technology, with which the living baby in the womb can be put on visible, live-time display, frees people from the illusion that women give birth to cats — or whatever they thought the “foetus” might be, other than a human child. More than half now get that in North America, according to most polls. The proportion rises much higher when the respondents are asked to approve the slaughter of that foetus after nine months — as remains perfectly legal in Canada, USA, and many other countries today.
My reminder comes via a little report from France. (This one.) The French state has upheld a ban which the French broadcasting council placed on a video about Down syndrome children. It showed several, from around the world, smiling. An award-winning piece, from 2014, it made a point that may be imperfectly understood: that “trisomic” kids are worth having; that they are not, as modern superstition holds, a greater burden upon their parents than other children. Not necessarily; and they often prove less.
On the contrary, as I know from first hand (my younger son is Down’s), they are an extraordinary gift, to those parents and to any siblings, or others, who are brought into contact with a love, a fidelity, an emotional attentiveness, a kindliness, a joy, an innocence, an orb of communicable experience and perception that enlarges and deepens us. I do not know if there are polls on such things, but I would guess the proportion of mothers who regret having given birth to such a child is extremely small — corresponding roughly to the proportion who are real monsters.
This, anyway, was the (urgent) message the makers attempted to convey in their short film. (Here it is.)
It was publicly banned, on the argument that it would upset mothers who had carried Down’s babies in their wombs, and who had had them aborted upon discovering this fact. In France, that proportion is estimated at 96 percent; it is estimated at 90 percent the world over — who would rather kill, than deal with this adventure in love.
At the centre of the controversy is that smile — that distinctly Down syndrome smile, more haunting than the smile on the Mona Lisa. To those who happen to have eyes to see, it is in itself a moral, and a mystical revelation. I have dreamt, towards Christmas, of the Child in the manger: surely Jesus smiled upon his mother like that.
Facts are becoming hard to gather because, in Canada and many other countries, progressive governments are now suppressing all statistics and other previously available information pertaining to abortions. Feminists demand that this subject be shrouded in darkness, lest the light cast prove too harsh. What I call “the woman’s prerogative,” not to hear the screaming of her victim, has become a mainstay of contemporary eugenics and family law. This I hold to be the ultimate in misogyny — for it is designed to hide women from the very possibility of redemption, which can only begin with acknowledgement of the truth.
The rate for Down’s children is the significant abortion rate. It exposes what is truly believed by the overwhelming majority of our contemporaries, when put to a practical test. Opinion polls can never do this, for opinion is “free” unless it costs us something. Actual behaviour is what matters, and we find in this proportion a black, terrible indictment of our age.