THE HAGUE, Netherlands, July 5, 2011 ( – A group of advocates for individuals with Down syndrome has complained to an international human rights court that New Zealand’s prenatal screening program effectively targets disabled children for systematic eradication through abortion.

Right to Life New Zealand (RTLNZ) revealed that they have joined their name to the complaint in a press release Tuesday. The complaint is being lodged at the International Criminal Court in The Hague by a group of thirty-seven parents or siblings who have a family member with Down syndrome.

The complaint names the Minister of Health in the New Zealand government as the person responsible for authorizing the national antenatal screening program in February 2010.

RTLNZ says the complaint has been lodged with the Office of the Prosecutor under the provisions of Article 15.1 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It alleges breaches of Article 6 and 7 of the Statute through the persecution of an identifiable group of the population, namely those with Down syndrome and the deprivation of their right to life, which the group points out is the foundation of their human rights.

“Midwives and Doctors are required to offer the antenatal screening to every woman who is pregnant. The purpose of this programme is to detect babies with Down syndrome and other conditions. Women whose baby tests positive for Down syndrome are to be offered the opportunity to terminate the life of their child,” stated RTLNZ.

“There is disturbing anecdotal evidence that women are being pressured into being socially responsible by having an abortion. This is government funded social engineering and is also eugenics where only the perfect may be born.”

RTLNZ says the government is “aware from overseas experience” that such programs result in the killing of a large percentage of babies with Down syndrome. They said that The Minister of Health has hinted that the information is intended to help to women decide whether to carry on with a pregnancy.

The pro-life group accused the New Zealand government of hypocrisy regarding its own statements on caring for the disabled.

“The government is giving the message that babies with Down syndrome are not welcome in New Zealand,” said RTLNZ. “The screening programme is also in contravention of the government’s own Disability Strategy which seeks to promote, ‘a society that highly values the lives of disabled persons and continually enhances their full participation.’”

“There is no known cure for Down syndrome. The screening programme is not to promote the health and wellbeing of the baby with Down syndrome but its destruction. … It is inconsistent for the government to claim that they are endeavouring to welcome those with a disability and at the same time seeking to identify babies with Down syndrome in order that they may encourage their destruction by being torn limb from limb in their mother’s womb in an abortion sanctioned and funded by the government.”