Two Russian mothers have won the right to rebut a journalist’s argument that handicapped children should be euthanased. Aleksandr Nikonov, of the popular tabloid Speed-Info, wrote a column contending that children with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities should be killed so that they don’t suffer, in what he termed “post-natal abortion”.
Snezhana Mitina, mother of a 10-year-old son with Hunter’s syndrome , and Svetlana Shtarkova, mother of a 3-year-old son with severe brain damage, were outraged. They filed a complaint with the Russian Union of Journalists which decided that Mr Nikonov’s words were extremist.
The two women say that many Russians share his ideas. "The opinion expressed by the author is not unique; statistics show that one-fourth of Russians share similar views," Shtarkova told the journalists’ union on February 2. "Complete strangers come up to me in the street and tell me that I'm depraved and deserve my fate. Doctors and social workers refuse to do their jobs, just because my child is severely disabled."
Mr Nikonov was unrepentant. He told the Radio Liberty “If you want to bring up a child with Down syndrome, you can do it. But if you don’t, you can euthanase him. Why is prenatal abortion legal, and postnatal abortion is not?” Full story.