By Sarah Terzo
When the fight to legalize abortion was just beginning in the late 1960s, some in the academic community supported legal abortion because they felt that abortion could prevent the birth of children with disabilities. Disabled people’s lives, they believed, were not worth living. Here is one example of a very famous anthropologist saying that it’s morally wrong to have a disabled child:
“If life is sacred [referring to the argument of the writer of a previous letter to the editor]… then it is about time we begin treating it as such, instead of continuing to commit the frightful tragedies we do in permitting individuals to be brought into the world who will suffer all the days of their lives from seriously disabling defects. … The initial basic right of the individual should be to be born without handicap. Anyone who, in the light of the facts, assists in bringing a seriously handicapped child into the world in my view commits a crime against humanity.
Abortion could prevent that “crime.”
Anthropologist Ashley Montagu “Letters to the Editor,” New York Times, February 28, 1969.
Editor’s note. Sarah Terzo is a pro-life author and creator of the clinicquotes website. She is a member of Secular Pro-Life and PLAGAL. This appeared at clinicquotes.com