Families Band Together to Fight Phobia Against the Handicapped

Following French Court Decisions on the "Right Not to Be Born"

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PARIS, FEB. 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Hundreds of families with handicapped children have joined the group Collectif Contre L´Handiphobie (Joint Action to Combat Phobia Against Handicaps), following two judicial decisions against the rights of the disabled.



The decisions were the November 2000 Perruche case (when a court recognized a handicapped person´s right "not to be born"), and a similar case a year later.

Sonography technicians are rebelling in the wake of the court decisions, which grant indemnification in the case of children born with handicaps, based on a "right not to be born."

"Since then, not a week goes by without parents requesting the interruption of a pregnancy for insignificant reasons: The child is too small, it is a twin pregnancy," 15 gynecologists wrote in the Paris daily Le Monde on Jan. 25, on behalf of the National Coordination of Prenatal Diagnosis Centers. They were referring to the decision made in the Perruche case.

"We spend our time calming and supporting mothers. Do we now have to scare them? Speak to them about what we have not seen?" the French gynecologists add.

In the next few months the French Parliament may consider legislation to address the situation created by the decisions.

As early as 1996, world-renowned specialist Pierre Maroteaux wrote an editorial in the Archives de Pédiatrie against the custom of aborting the unborn who appear to be of small stature.

In a Nov. 24, 2000, article in Le Monde, 30 Parisian lawyers maintained that the Perruche decision was based on "eugenic principles that in the future will lead to choosing the best [children] according to the social norms of the day."