Atheist Says Babies with Down's Syndrome Should be Aborted

Syndicated from Christian Today

Aborting babies with Down’s syndrome or “serious” disabilities would be “wise and sensible,” atheist Richard Dawkins has said.

The God Delusion author was put on the spot about a 2014 tweet in which he said it would be “immoral” to bring a baby with Down’s syndrome into the world if given the choice. 

He was pressed on his comments in an interview by RTE radio host Brendan O’Connor, whose child has Down’s syndrome. 

“You are speaking to someone who did bring someone like that into the world … why is it immoral not to abort it?” O’Connor asked. 

Dawkins said his 2014 tweet “was probably putting it a bit too strongly,” but said it seemed “plausible” to him that aborting babies with disabilities would “increase the amount of happiness in the world.”

He said he did not have any “direct evidence” and so did not “know it for certain.” He also admitted he did not “intimately” know anyone with Down’s syndrome. 

“It seems to me to be plausible that … if a child has any kind of disability then you probably would increase the amount of happiness in the world more by having another child instead,” he said.  He added that it would also be better to screen out deafness and blindness. 

“I think it would be wise and sensible to abort a child which had a serious disability,” he said. 

When pressed on his claim of immorality seven years ago, Dawkins said, “… I take that back.”

Commenting on the interview, Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “It is horrific to see a commentator with as wide a platform as professor Dawkins displaying such blatant disregard for the facts of life for people with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities who, like all humans, are capable of living full and enriching lives.

“The evidence shows that children with Down’s syndrome and their families are just as capable of happiness and fulfillment as the rest of society; it is sad that professor Dawkins cannot or will not acknowledge this.”

1 thought on “Atheist Says Babies with Down's Syndrome Should be Aborted”

  1. I led a large mom's group several years ago.  At one of our monthly administration meetings that we encouraged new members to attend, a mom introduced herself and said that one of her kids, who was 8 or 9, had Down's Syndrome.  One of the moms on the board had a niece or nephew that had Down's Syndrome, so after the meeting, she went over to strike up a conversation with the new mom.  I always stayed until everyone left, so near the end, I was also part of the conversation.  Right before she got ready to leave, the new mom said, "You know, I love my daughter.  But dealing with Down's Syndrome for so long has been hard on all of us.  After watching her struggle so hard for so long, I wish I would have just aborted her so she wouldn't have ever been born.  It would have saved us all a lot of time and energy, not to mention the grief."

    Being the head of this group, I did the political thing and tried to show as little emotion on my face as possible, but I'll be honest, I didn't know if I should smack her, scream at her, call child services to do a wellness check, or put my personal feelings aside and give her a comforting hug.  I just let her leave without saying anything.  The other mom who had the niece or nephew with Down's Syndrome immediately walked off and pretended to put things away until the woman left.  As soon as the door closed, walked back over to me irate with tears pouring down her reddened face like a flash flood.

    Through her tears, with her fists clenched hard, she just kept saying over and over again, "That woman is a real-life monster.  How can we let a monster like this in our group?"  I spent almost an hour calming her down and talking her through it because she wasn't safe driving home that upset, but it did put me in an awful position.  The only requirements to be part of the group were that you had children, you provided us your home address and phone number, and that you were willing to take a meal to a new mom the first week they were home from the hospital at least once.  It wasn't a faith-based group, so I didn't feel right saying that because she wished she had aborted her daughter that she couldn't join.  On the other hand, we were located in and around Cincinnati, which has a huge Catholic population. If the woman were to talk about that at a playgroup or an event, I wouldn't just have one mom crying hysterically, I could have a roomful. And with the pro-life militancy amongst Catholics, I worried that someone could even physically attack her for saying that.  I decided it would be best to be my laissez-faire self and keep a very close eye on the situation.

    Luckily after just a few months, the mom came to me and said that between having a toddler and an elementary-aged kid with disabilities she couldn't find the time to be in the group and to just remover her from the roster.  Potential crisis averted.  Her words, though, have continued to haunt me.  The daughter would probably be 19 or 20 now.  I know people with Down's Syndrome obviously don't understand everything on the same level a neurotypical person does, but what if at some point she found out what her mother's feelings were?  Could you imagine being intellectually disabled, but knowing that you and your struggles that seemed normal to you were such a burden on your mother that if she had to do it again, as a tiny pre-birth baby, she would have had someone grab you, cut you up in little pieces, rip what was left of you out of her body, and throw you in a dirty trash can (or sell your body for huge profit)?  I know the mom felt like she had gone through hell with her daughter, but I still can't imagine caring for a person that you feel that way about.

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