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Richard Dawkins: 'Down's syndrome babies should be aborted before birth'

By CitizenNews  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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​Controversial scientist Richard Dawkins has sparked anger once again - this time by claiming foetuses with Down's syndrome should be aborted.

Comments (5)

CONTROVERSIAL scientist Richard Dawkins has sparked anger once again - this time by claiming foetuses with Down's syndrome should be aborted.

The outspoken athiest author said parents should abort unborn babies with the condition and "try again".

He made the comments during a Twitter debate, provoking fury from many online.

Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder that delays growth and causes intellectual disability.

It is named after Torpoint physician John Langdon Down, who was the first to properly detail the condition in 1862.

The online discussion involving Professor Dawkins began when he posted a link to an article in US magazine New Republic titled 'The Catholic Church prefers medieval barbarism to modern abortion'.

The 73-year-old said: "Ireland is a civilised country except in this one area. You'd think the Roman Church would have lost all influence."

Irish Catholic fitter Aidan McCourt responded by asking The God Delusion author: "994 human beings with Down's syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012. Is that civilised?"

Professor Dawkins, who has around one million followers on Twitter, replied by saying: "Yes, it is very civilised. These are foetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

He went on to say: "Learn to think in non-essentialist ways. The question is not "is it 'human'?" but "can it suffer?""

A Boston-based writer calling themselves 'InYourFaceNewYorker' tweeted at him: "I honestly don't know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down's syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Prof Dawkins' reply to the American's comment has since prompted a furious response online.

"Abort it and try again," he said.

"It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

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5 comments

  • honslknjklyt  |  August 22 2014, 2:51PM

    Downs Syndrome children are the most innocent amongst us it seems. There seems to really be no evil amongst them but showers of love to all. I will never forget being in a post office queue many years ago, I smiled at a young lad who had downs syndrome and without a second thought, left the side of his mother (or carer or whoever the lady was) who was trying quetly to call him back, and gave me such a huge hug as though he knew me for years. Even relatives don't cuddle me like that! They are wonderful and no wonder such a person as Richard Dawkins would spout such a thing.

    |   39
  • MattH74  |  August 22 2014, 8:45AM

    Gloucester Citizen Runs Article On How Aborting Downs Sydrome Babies Is Preferable....see I can twist the truth, too.

    |   1
  • IsitJimKerr  |  August 22 2014, 8:33AM

    Thirty odd years ago, my wife had the amniocentesis test. Luckily it was negative. I don't know what we would have done if it had been positive. While children with Downs today are regarded as 'special', they are almost celebrated too. But back then, there was no support, so I think we would have been pressurised to abort.

    |   10
  • Lecorche  |  August 21 2014, 9:21PM

    It's a very dangerous road to take with those who can't speak up for themselves. Where would it end?

    |   42
  • JeremyBadger  |  August 21 2014, 8:56PM

    Only Twits twitter and this case just proves the point!

    |   36

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