Atheist pontificator and sometime biologist Richard Dawkins took to Twitter Wednesday to let the world know that choosing not to abort a baby with Down Syndrome is immoral.
Dawkins, originally expressing his disdain for Ireland’s strong anti-abortion laws (“Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area”), was asked whether it was “civilised” that “994 human beings with Down’s Syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012.”
“Yes, it is very civilised,” he responded. “They are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings.”
When one of his fans admitted that “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma,” he told her ”Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
He explained, however, that aborting a baby diagnosed with autism in the womb is not an ethical mandate, since “people on that spectrum have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. DS not enhanced.”
He also sagely noted that “unless you are a vegan (most Pro-’Lifers’ are not) you are in no position to object to abortion,” and that “there’s a profound moral difference between ‘This fetus should now be aborted’ and ‘This person should have been aborted years ago.’”
According to a 2011 study published in the medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis, between 1989 and 2006 122,519 Down syndrome live births were expected in the U.S., but only 65,492 were actually born. “Abortion for genetic abnormality” is legal in the U.S. with the exception of North Dakota, which banned the practice in March 2013.