The debate over abortion has consumed a great amount of the political air over the past few weeks, given the fact that Democrats believe that Republicans are going to ban it and so, of course, access to it needs to be expanded. Gone are the days of “safe, legal and rare.”
In the midst of this, actor Ashton Kutcher took a surprising course for a Hollywood star: He used his Facebook page to post an unapologetically pro-life video.
You may have seen the clip in question before. It involves Special Olympian Frank Stephens, who has Down syndrome, appearing before Congress in 2017 regarding the trend of women aborting babies who test positive for the genetic disorder in the womb.
Recently, Kutcher posted the video along with the caption, “Everyone’s life is valuable.”
The clips in the video were put together from the powerful statement — which was described by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic as a call for “allocating federal money to research that would help people with Down syndrome, rather than proceeding as though the best way to address it is prenatal testing and selective abortion.”
“Just so there is no confusion let me say that I am not a research scientist,” Stephens said.
“However, no one knows more about life with Down syndrome than I do. Whatever you learn today, please remember this: I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living.
“Sadly, across the world, a notion is being sold that maybe we don’t need research concerning Down syndrome. Some people say prenatal screens will identify Down syndrome in the womb and those pregnancies will just be terminated.
“It’s hard for me to sit here and say those words,” he continued. “I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist. That view is deeply prejudice by an outdated idea of life with Down syndrome.
“Seriously, I have a great life!” he continued. “I have lectured at universities, acted in an award-winning film and an Emmy-winning TV show, and spoken to thousands of young people about the value of inclusion in making America great. I have been to the White House twice — and I didn’t have to jump the fence either time.
“I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence, but to those who question the value of people with Down syndrome, I would make three points.
“First, we are a medical gift to society, a blueprint for medical research into cancer, Alzheimer’s, and immune system disorders.
“Second, we are an unusually powerful source of happiness: a Harvard-based study has discovered that people with Down syndrome, as well as their parents and siblings, are happier than society at large. Surely happiness is worth something?
“Finally,” he said, “we are the canary in the eugenics coal mine. We are giving the world a chance to think about the ethics of choosing which humans get a chance at life. So we are helping to defeat cancer and Alzheimer’s and we make the world a happier place. Is there really no place for us in the world?”
That last part is arguably what gets liberals the hottest under the collar. And boy, was there a lot of collar-heat being generated by the fact that Kutcher felt the need to post this clip.
“The idea that women should be forced into carrying a pregnancy that they don’t want is abhorrent,” one user wrote.
“If you choose to continue a pregnancy after learning that the resulting child will have downs or some other problem, that’s great. Not everyone is capable of caring for a high need individual for the rest of their lives and maybe they don’t WANT to. That’s a personal decision that the government has no business butting into. Build roads, control air traffic, protect our food and medicine, etc. My uterus is not on the list of things that needs regulating.”
“I’m NOT treating abortion like it’s birth control, not even close, and its not something to be done without thinking about it from every perspective,” another wrote.
“However, it’s my body and my choice. My belief is that an early pregnancy termination is not murder, and there are so many abused and neglected children who are suffering through life because their parents had them and couldn’t provide for them or gave them up for adoption where they played magical houses for the next 18 years. No thank you.”
It’s worth pointing out that the majority of the comments seemed to be supportive, often with Facebook users sharing anecdotes of their own. However, for a video that focused on the ethical issues of aborting a child with Down syndrome, there were certainly a lot of users willing to declaim that their ethics began and ended at their body being their choice.
After all, as Stephens said at the end of his remarks, “Let’s pursue answers, not ‘final solutions.’ Let’s be America. Let’s make our goal to be Alzheimer’s free, not Down syndrome free.”
That’s what we should be fighting for, and coincidentally, it’s exactly what some on the left are fighting against.
Kudos to Ashton Kutcher for bucking the trend.
CORRECTION: The original version of this article referred to Down syndrome as a “disease.” It is more appropriately labeled a condition or disorder. We have changed the wording and apologize for any offense or confusion we may have caused.
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