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Dawkins says downs babies should be aborted

Posted by on Aug. 23, 2014 at 7:24 PM
  • 128 Replies

 Richard Dawkins speaks at the Univeristy of Texas at Austin on March 19, 2008. Credit: Shane Pope via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Richard Dawkins speaks at the Univeristy of Texas at Austin on March 19, 2008. Credit: Shane Pope via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

.- Advocates of those with Down syndrome have strongly criticized prominent atheist Richard Dawkins’ suggestions that it would be immoral not to abort a child diagnosed with the condition.

“People with Down syndrome should not be treated like second-class citizens, and anyone making that argument sets back the great progress that has been made in terms of equality for all people,” said David Tolleson, executive director of the Atlanta-based National Down Syndrome Congress.

Tolleson said his organization believes those with Down syndrome and those who do not have the condition are “more alike than different,” and statements like those of Richard Dawkins “promote division instead of unity.”

Michelle Sie Whitten of the Denver-based Global Down Syndrome Foundation that that people with Down syndrome “can and do live long, happy and productive lives.”

Dawkins, a well-known atheist writer, biologist and former Oxford University professor, sparked controversy with a Twitter comment on the topic.

Addressing a woman who said she would face a “real ethical dilemma” if she were pregnant with a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome, Dawkins replied in a tweet: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

In an Aug. 21 blog post, Dawkins apologized for the “feeding frenzy” over his brief remark, saying he intended it to be read only by the woman addressed, who frequented forums on his website.

However, he stood by his claim that in his view, “the moral and sensible choice would be to abort” an unborn baby with Down syndrome.

“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.”

Dawkins said that his position “simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse.”

He acknowledged his opinion is “contentious,” but said that the choice to give birth to a child with Down syndrome “would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child.”

“No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice.”

The Down syndrome organizations said in a joint Aug. 22 statement that they were “outraged and saddened” by Dawkins’ comments, saying he “strongly argued for the elimination of people with the condition.”

They stressed the need for accurate information about people who live with Down syndrome.

People with Down syndrome in the U.S. have an average lifespan of 60 years and have benefited from “great strides” in medical care and research, the foundations said. They are able to take advantage of educational and work opportunities.

Most U.S. families who have a member with Down syndrome are “stable, successful and happy.” Siblings often report “increased levels of compassion and empathy,” and one study has found a lower divorce rate among parents of a child with Down syndrome.

The Down syndrome foundations said that about 67 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. who receive a positive result for the condition on an amniocentesis test terminate their pregnancies. However, over 95 percent of pregnant women do not choose to have the test.

Dawkins’ comments also elicited a response from J.D. Flynn, a Catholic writer from Lincoln, Neb., who is the adoptive father of two young children with Down syndrome. In an open letter to Dawkins, published on the First Things website Aug. 22, he voiced concern about seeing abortion of the genetically disabled as “a moral good.”

Flynn said his children are “delightful,” “beautiful” and “happy.”

“One is a cancer survivor, twice-over,” he wrote. “I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes. They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy.”

“I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you’d feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity,” he continued. “I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you’d think abortion was in their best interest. I wonder, if you played games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you’d find some worth in their existence.”

Flynn invited Dawkins to dinner at his home, clarifying that the invitation was not intended for debate or for condemnation, but simply to meet his children.

“I want you to experience the joy of children with Down syndrome. I want your heart to be moved to joy as well.”

by on Aug. 23, 2014 at 7:24 PM
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Replies (1-10):
SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Disclaimer: I am using another members name in here. I don't know where she is. If you do please message her and send her this link. I don't like to use other members names unless they are aware of it. Thanks!

FutureShock posted a post a while back about a child in Pakistan charged with blasphemy for tearing out pages of the Quaron. Blasphemy carries the death penalty. That made me sooo upset I called legislators offices ( those that I knew had a child with DS) and talked to the David Tolleson that is mentioned in paragraph 2. He gave me good advice, and told me politically how the cow ate the cabbage. The girl was set up and eventually aquitted. She and her family now reside in Canada where they were offered assylum for religious reasons. The family was Christian. The king who demanded,  an investigation within 24 hours, they had to report back to him was Muslim.

SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 9:45 PM
6 moms liked this

 Hah, that was off track. David Tolleson is really nice. This is an old article, but it is always interesting to see how these kids suffer. Tell that to me as my son climbs trees, competes in track in special Olympics, and cooks egg and various other things in the micro wave.He loves the swim pool, splashing water on you, and popcorn. Children with Down's Syndrome are more alike than different. This guy is an ass.

jobseeker
by Bronze Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 9:51 PM
1 mom liked this

 I realize it was a older article.  It just struck me today.

I don't have any PERSONAL experience w/DS children.  When I was working in youth ministry years ago, one of the volunteers was a teacher of special needs kids and we as a group participated in special olympics 'training' exercises.  Our kids (church) bowled with the team, and played other sports with the team.  It was great fun for us and some of our church teens stayed in contact with their athlete to this day.  Sadly some of the athletes have passed away.

I loved that part of my job.  The joy in their faces was always uplifting. 

SuckIt69
by Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 9:59 PM
1 mom liked this
That train of thought isn't surprising from him. Darwin himself spoke of that very thing. Eiminate the weak links to give your species a better gene pool for evolutionary success.
jllcali
by on Aug. 23, 2014 at 10:19 PM
3 moms liked this
It doesn't seem he is advocating to make it a law to abort downs syndrome fetuses.

I do feel for the down's syndrome kids that outlive their parents.
smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 10:22 PM
4 moms liked this

The person who did my ultrasound at 20 weeks mismeasured the Nucal fold and I was told my child had a soft marker for Downs. I ended up going through a level 2 ultrasound and the doctor went through all the different organs that could have problems if you were having a Downs baby. Luckily, everything was fine with my son but I don't know about having a child that has to have multiple operations before they're even one. We often see the best case scenario portrayed in the media but there are some children with Downs that have multiple birth defects. 

SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 10:28 PM
8 moms liked this

 That is called eugenics. We went through that with Hitler and the Jews during the Holocaust. Better create a big strapping german, with blonde hair and blue eyes. This crap has been going on for a long time. Imagine if the post was....and if it was possible which at this time it is not...;..abort all autistic kids. My goodness, you would have mamas crawling out of the woodwork, and rightly so. I don't know what he is lecturing on today, but I wish he would shut up about DS.

Quoting SuckIt69: That train of thought isn't surprising from him. Darwin himself spoke of that very thing. Eiminate the weak links to give your species a better gene pool for evolutionary success.

 

SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 10:47 PM

 What a great comment. The nuchal fold is a genetic marker for Down's Syndrome. Never ever ever ever abort on the triple or quad screen test given during your pregnancy. Never ever ever abort on those level 2 ultra sounds. The ONLY DIFINITIVE way to know for certain, is through an amnio, or a chronic villi sampling test. Pay more for the Fish you will get the results back in 10 days or so. Chronic villi has less of a chance of miscarriage, but it has a couple points lower in accuracy. I am glad your son is fine. I have a kiddo with Downs and I love him to pieces.

Quoting smalltowngal:

The person who did my ultrasound at 20 weeks mismeasured the Nucal fold and I was told my child had a soft marker for Downs. I ended up going through a level 2 ultrasound and the doctor went through all the different organs that could have problems if you were having a Downs baby. Luckily, everything was fine with my son but I don't know about having a child that has to have multiple operations before they're even one. We often see the best case scenario portrayed in the media but there are some children with Downs that have multiple birth defects. 

 

buttersworth
by Silver Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 11:27 PM
6 moms liked this

Dawkins can have no morality.

No matter that he pretends to have morality and to give his opinions credibility by basing those on something that mimics morality.

He cannot have morality because he has no moral authority (other than himself).

Being that he is atheist, there is no divine being, no higher power, nothing to which he would consider himself accountable to.

So his morality would be based solely upon his own opinion. He would, theoretically, be his own little demi-god who could, at a whim and within only his own personal reason, consider anything moral. That is, unless he deferred moral superiority to someone - that HE deemed morally superior or more wise than himself.

He obviously does not consider those who make the laws in this country as wise, or morally superior. Because, if he did consider our legislators morally superior, he would not "lobby" for something which is not law, to at least be a socially accepted practice.

what I mean is, it is not mandated (thank goodness!) that women abort Down Syndrome pregnancies by any law. So, as it is, Dawkins may follow the laws, but he does not respect them as moral authority either, otherwise he'd be content with what those laws were. And don't say he's not trying to change laws, because while he's not legislating, his opinion is respected and he IS trying to persuade public opinion.

So he has no morality.

He only has his sickly perversions that he has somehow, through random chance no doubt, acquired some extraordinary wisdom where he, himself, will promote his opinion as moral. As long as he's got some kind of rhetoric behind it, I guess, eh?

I think this man is foolish at best, destructive at worst, and should be completely avoided altogether.

Besides, he's really not smart at all. I've seen videos on Youtube where he totally gets schooled by other people who disagree with him.

buttersworth
by Silver Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 11:33 PM
2 moms liked this

...And another thing...

Why does this story try so hard to disprove what Dawkins says? He is a fly speck. The story is sort of against him, but at the same time, goes to all these lengths to almost apologetically disagree with him and offer up proof that DS isn't as bad as he makes it.

I don't think this fly speck on feces named Dawkins deserves that kind of sucking up. Why give him that kind of consideration for such a vile comment.

Even if that email was meant to be private, hey, this is what the guy said to a pregnant lady, and this is how the guy actually thinks, and he's promoting evolution and going after Creationists.

Pretty telling about the man.

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