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Richard Dawkins claims it is ‘sensible’ to abort babies who have Down’s syndrome or are blind or deaf

Geneticist and commentator Professor Richard Dawkins has told an Irish radio host, who has a child with Down’s syndrome, that it is “wise and sensible” to abort babies who have either Down’s syndrome, or are deaf or blind, to “increase the amount of happiness in the world”.

In 2014, Dawkins was criticised over a Twitter exchange in which he responded to a user who said she would be faced with “a real ethical dilemma” if she became pregnant with a baby with Down’s syndrome. He replied: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice”.

In an extended statement in his website, Dawkins expanded: “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”.

During an interview with RTE radio host Brendan O’Connor on 11 May, Dawkins was asked whether he still held these views.

O’Connor, who himself has a child with Down’s syndrome, said: “You are speaking to someone who did bring someone like that into the world”. He went on: “I would accept that fact and I wouldn’t judge anyone’s choice about that, but why is it immoral not to abort it?”

“How do you know that it increases the amount of suffering in the world to bring in a child with Down’s Syndrome?”

Dawkins responded that he “…didn’t know it for certain. 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”.

When O’Connor pressed Dawkins on whether he had any reason for knowing that, Dawkins admitted he did not ‘intimately’ know anyone with Down’s syndrome, and denied that he had any “direct evidence” to support his statement.

When asked what other disabilities he would screen out, Dawkins responded: “I think deafness, blindness…when you have the choice [..] I think it would be wise and sensible to abort a child which had a serious disability”.

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 fulfilment as the rest of society; it is sad that Professor Dawkins cannot or will not acknowledge this”.

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Dear reader, 

Thanks to the support from people like you, in July, a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - to introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth - failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition.

We are currently facing major threats on four separate fronts:

  1. The abortion lobby is expected to make another attempt to change abortion law to allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth. A similar law was introduced to New Zealand last year and recently released data shows that the country saw a 43% increase in late-term abortions in 2020.
  2. The assisted suicide lobby has brought forward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which will be receiving a Second Reading in the House of Lords on 22 October.
  3. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland and abortion campaigners are also running a large campaign to try and introduce ‘DIY’ home abortions to Northern Ireland.
  4. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. 

Fighting both the abortion and assisted suicide lobbies over this period has already made a huge dent in Right To Life UK's limited resources.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a significant difference.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

Q

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    Q

    Be the first to know…

    When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

    Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

    Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

    Where should we send your updates?

      By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

      Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

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