Richard Dawkins on Down’s Syndrome Babies: “It Would be Immoral not to Kill Such a Baby in an Abortion”


I’m not going to say too much about this. It speaks for itself.

Dr Richard Dawkins got into this Tweet exchange earlier this week:

<@InYourFaceNYer I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma.

>@RichardDawkins Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.

That caused a bit of an internet dustup. So, Dr Dawkins clarified things by switching from the impetuous medium of Twitter to a column where he supposedly had more time to think through what he was saying and get it out as he meant it.

Here’s his more introspective take on the question of aborting babies with down’s syndrome.

“For what it’s worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again. Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort,”

…“I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare,”

I only have two thoughts to add to this, and I’ll get through them as quickly as possible.

Thought one: Eugenics.

Thought two: This is where a “morality” based on “the desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering” leads to: Putting other people out of your misery by killing them.

That’s all folks.

  • kathyschiffer

    Add a third thought: Children with Down’s Syndrome are so happy, and bring such joy to the families which have accepted them. Their innocence is a great witness to the rest of us.

    • hamiltonr

      That true. Thank you Kathy.

    • fredx2

      So many times I hear of parents of Downs syndrome kids believing they have been blessed.

      See “Noah’s dad blog:

      “Will you help us share the story that Downs syndrome is OK?

      We are doing something really unique by telling the story of our son’s life via one-minute, daily videos. We believe that he has a story worth sharing, and we hope you’ll help us share his story; the story that all children (regardless of a disability) are so worth loving.

      The story that Downs syndrome is OK.

      Please be sure to connect with us (and thousands of other amazing families) on Noah’s Dad Facebook page… I really believe that together we can help show the world it’s time to view children like our son Noah as just as worthy of love as every other person on this planet. Will you please take a second to help us do that?”

  • oregon nurse

    Agree 100%. Dawkins has set himself up as the arbiter of what is good and right and moral. It’s what all atheistic and morally relative people do – all they have is their own subjective ‘truth’ which changes and evolves.

  • David Naas

    If Richard Dawkins did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. Few other people can sum arrogant, crude, ignorant, smaugness in 140 characters.
    I should only say, it is (obviously) his mission to disturb the peace, so do not allow his remarks to disturb YOUR Peace (by getting mad at him.)
    The worst thing a Christian could do to a person like that is not react to their words (while continuing praying for them).

  • Cecilia

    When I was told by my OBGYN that the child I was carrying had a high percentage of down syndrome my doctor gave me the option of having an abortion. And even though back then I had a strong pro-choice stand I said absolutely not. Today I have a wonderful 8 year old daughter who does NOT have down syndrome or any other genetic disorder. All the testing I got done were wrong!!! I don’t want to think about what if I had an abortion. It brings me to tears all the time.

    • fredx2

      That’s the problem. There is some degree of error involved here. And test results get mixed up.

  • fredx2

    Here is what Richard Dawkins wants to abort:

    “Tim Harris – Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations.

    As a 2004 graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tim was elected homecoming king by the highest margin of votes in school history. During graduation week, Tim was also voted Student of the Year by the administration, faculty, and staff.

    In the fall of 2004, Tim moved to Roswell, New Mexico to attend Eastern New Mexico University. Tim earned certificates in Food Service and in Office Skills and worked at a variety of local restaurants including CiCi’s Pizza, Golden Corral, IHOP, and Peppers Bar and Grill. Tim lived in a college dorm and graduated in the summer of 2008.

    After college, Tim has worked as a host at Applebee’s restaurant in Albuquerque and has participated in Special Olympics competitions throughout New Mexico. Tim enjoys basketball, volleyball, poly hockey, track and field, and golf. He has won dozens of gold medals as a Special Olympian.

    Tim spent much of 2009 and 2010 living aboard a sailboat with his parents and traveling throughout the Bahamas. Tim is now widely known throughout the Bahamas and is an excellent sailor and offshore fisherman.”

    And do not miss this video on youtube:

    • Rob B.

      But he’s mentally challenged! By definition, he must be so unhappy that it would be better if he were dead. Tim’s just too stupid to realize it!

      Can we force Dr. Dawkins to get a lobotomy? I think that would “increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering” in the world immeasurably…

  • Rob B.

    What? Richard Dawkins said something outrageously inappropriate?? He must have another weakly argued and incredibly sensationalist book coming out.

    On another topic: where did you get the image at the top of your post, Ms. Hamilton? It reminds me of a scene from the TV show House…

    • hamiltonr

      It’s an old photo. It’s all over the internet.

      • Rob B.

        Ahhh, OK. It’s a great one!

  • AnneG

    People with Downs frequently have a heart defect. I’ve taken care of some before and during heart surgery. I always felt that when I looked in their eyes I was seeing the face of God.
    I hope God is more merciful to Dawkins than he has ever been.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Let us start from the assumption that people who are going to be permanently unhappy should not be allowed to live. Given the abyss of dreadful agony that Dawkins’ continuous, yelling anger demonstrates, should he not kill himself first? (Note: THIS IS SARCASM.)

    • Rob B.

      Perhaps we can compromise. Please see my comment on lobotomies above.

  • FW Ken

    CBS News had a sweet story about a Down’s Syndrome guy who had never known he was different, so he was determined to go to college with his friends. It turns out Clemson has a program for folks with mental disabilities and he got accepted.

    A few years back, the Down’s brother of the archbishop of Cincinnati (I think) died and something like 5000 people came to the funeral. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and obviously loved throughout the archdiocese.

    Thirty years ago I ran group homes for MR folks. One was all Down’s folks, and that was my retreat when I needed to relax.

    All of which is to tell Dawkins he is full of himself.

  • Jim Dailey

    If a “gay gene” is ever identified, I am sorry to say that I am certain that children with this characteristic would be aborted based on Dawkin’s criteria.