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

Richard Dawkins on Down’s Syndrome Babies: “It Would be Immoral not to Kill Such a Baby in an Abortion” August 21, 2014


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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I’m so happy for you and your daughter. Thanks for sharing. People like Dawkins don’t realize how much love and joy and value Downs children bring to the world!

  5. 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?”

  6. 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:

  7. 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.

  8. 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.)

  9. Your experience is just like a friend of my sister’s. Her doctor told her her 4th child was going to be a Down’s baby. Do not know if the doctor suggested a termination, but she did carry to term and the little girl is fine. The test is obviously not totally accurate!

  10. A decision such as that is not up to Richard Dawkins. It is up to the woman. I had the pleasure of knowing a chronologically 50 year old man who had Down’s Syndrome. (this was several years ago). He was the 5th of 5 children. He was born way before the tests could be done. His mother was told he wouldn’t live and he should be left in some kind of a home for children like him. She took him home and until she died he lived with her. She was able to provide medial care etc. for him and refused to put him in a group home, as many professionals advised her, when he got older. She said he didn’t want to go. After attending school as far as the special ed classes could take him, he went to supervised work daily, and earned some of his own money that way, had chores to do at home etc. After her death one of his siblings took him in. Now that I have moved from there I no longer know how he is doing. He wasn’t able to live on his own, and unfortunately some of these children have no siblings or family to care for them after the parent dies. Hopefully there are good places that will take over that love and supervision for those who no longer have family or have family that doesn’t want to care for them.

  11. 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.

  12. Rebecca,

    I’m late to this one. Your two points are spot on.

    Regarding point 2, the magnificent movie The Giver (my wife Dawn and I saw it last Saturday) clearly shows what it is like “…to live in a society based on ‘the desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering'” (Spoiler Alert: No free will, no choices, and no love. It would be a bleak place–maybe hell on earth).

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