The Autistic Genocide Clock

Estimated time remaining before prenatal testing and routine abortion:

Autism researchers are currently conducting genetic studies with the goal of developing a prenatal test. Dr. Joseph Buxbaum, who heads the Autism Genome Project at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said in an interview posted on on Feb. 23, 2005, that there could be a prenatal test within 10 years. Click here for the full text of the article.

These studies are funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (United States). For those of us who are Americans, that means our tax money is being used to pay for this research. Although reasonable people can and do differ on political issues concerning abortion, there are very significant ethical concerns associated with funding for autism genetic research.

The prevalence of autistic spectrum conditions is approximately 1 in 110. (Source: National Autistic Society UK.) This equates to a global autistic population of about 55 million. It is likely that millions more are genetically autistic and, because of a favorable combination of genes or the good fortune to avoid environmental stresses, have not developed any problems significant enough to warrant a diagnosis. The number of people whose genes would be identified as "defective" by a test such as Dr. Buxbaum describes could easily be more than 100 million. That is equivalent to more than one-third of the US population, or the total populations of the UK, Canada, and Australia combined.

Such testing would amount to eugenics on the largest scale in human history.

Once again, this is not just about the question of whether a woman should have the right to choose abortion. When the government funds the development of a prenatal test for a condition that has been shrilly described in the media as an "epidemic," and when doctors routinely administer such a test, this creates a coercive environment in which pregnant women will make the abortion decision on the basis of panic, stereotypes, and worst-case-scenario information. Obstetricians routinely advise women of the worst possible consequences of any condition for which a prenatal test is given; they do this to avoid legal liability. Under such circumstances, the abortion decision is not truly a knowing and voluntary choice by the woman.

Many of us have children on the autistic spectrum. We know that our kids are worthwhile human beings who have much to contribute to society. Like any other parents, we want our children to grow up in a world where they are accepted and valued. If you are outraged that the American government has targeted children like ours for extermination, then do something about it! Start reading autistic civil rights websites and learn more about the extent of prejudice and discrimination. Get involved in autistic advocacy groups. March with your family in an autistic pride parade. Build your own website discussing your views and your family's experiences. Contact your representatives in Congress and demand that funding for autism genetic research be withdrawn.

Whatever you decide to do, and there are many ways to get involved, just don't wait too long. The clock is ticking...

The informational and advocacy links shown below have been taken from a database of recommended resources maintained by Aspergian Pride's Cure for Ignorance Campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of autistic civil rights issues.

There currently are 198 links in the database.

To contact the author of this page, click here.