Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
Imagine some drone flying over the ocean and finding an island populated with wild horses. Within the herd are some unicorns. Upon further careful examination of these once-mythical creatures, scientists find that the unicorns cannot reproduce. They are a mutant aberration like mules, which can only be born, not bred.
Scientists noted other distinctions: the unicorns are smaller than their horse counterparts, weaker, more apt to die from various genetic issues that come from having a horn on the head and a larger heart. Ultrasounds indicated that many of the hearts themselves had holes. This trait did not make them defective, only more open. The creatures seem universally gentler, more trusting, kinder. They walk up to the scientists while the ordinary wild horses remain wary.
A nation came to claim the island and the herd for its people, but discovered one other flaw with the unicorns. They have no use. They cannot carry loads. They cannot pull wagons. They cannot be fully broken and ridden. The unicorns merely exist.
While these creatures have a unique beauty, all of them are destroyed. The world celebrates because in this world, this functional powerful economic world, beauty and kindness, gentleness and trust, are insufficient.
It’s not a myth. It’s not a bad fairy tale.
The CBS report on Iceland indicated almost 100% of those children diagnosed with Down Syndrome have been eliminated. In the year 2009, the year after my youngest son showed us his beautiful blue eyes for the first time, only three children who share his distinctive look, were born in Iceland. If you watch the report, three was an unusually high number. These children likewise come without apparent use. They are lilies of the valley who neither toil nor spin, yet are clothed in the splendor of kindness. In this worldly world, one would think sterility would be a selling point, but since these children cannot do, they are seen as worthless and better off dead.
Right now, across the world, the discovery of that extra chromosome is legitimate reason to kill such children in utero. For some countries, close to 100% are destroyed, whereas other nations show a touch more forbearance, only disposing of 9 out of 10. The United States has a 67% abortion rate for children diagnosed with Trisomy 21. Still, when you’re still killing 6.7 out of 10, there’s not a reason to cheer.
For those who still cling to the mantra, “It’s a woman’s right to choose. Her body. Her choice.” I offer the wisdom and the caution of the centaurs from the first Harry Potter book. “It is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn. Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself.”
As long as we continue to pretend we aren’t committing a genocide based on DNA prenatal testing, we can continue to kill these children before we see their smiles. It’s a funny thing about kids with Down Syndrome. No matter their other ethnic genetic background, their smiles are the same. Their smiles are overwhelmingly warm and hard to resist. It’s probably why we can’t bear to look at them. It’s just easier if they never are seen, whether it is by being put away in an institution, or sluffed off in an abortion clinic. We might soften in our resolve if we saw them. Their eyes, their smiles, their gentle pats on the back, might change us into others. They are quite dangerous to the status quo of our souls and our society.
When we slay the last unicorn, some things which should never have been forgotten will forever be lost.