LONDON – Outspoken professing atheist Richard Dawkins has again sparked controversy after posting on Twitter that he believes Down Syndrome babies should be aborted, and that “[u]nless you are a vegan, you are in no position to object to abortion.”
The matter began when Dawkins shared an article entitled The Catholic Church Prefers Medieval Barbarism to Modern Abortion, and Tweeted, “Ireland is a civilised country except in this one area. You’d think the Roman Church would have lost all influence.”
Dawkins’ comments then sparked a heated discussion about abortion, including being asked by one man, “994 human beings with Down Syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012. Is that civilised?”
“Yes, it is very civilised,” Dawkins replied. “These are foetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings.” He later explained that the question regarding abortion should not be “is it human?” but “can it suffer?”
When one follower stated that it would an “ethical dilemma” if their unborn child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Dawkins replied, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
“Unless you are a vegan (most pro-‘lifers’ are not) you are in no position to object to abortion,” he asserted in another Tweet regarding whether animals can feel fear.
Dawkins’ contentions continued to generate furor from followers, which prompted the Oxford professor to comment, “Apparently I’m a horrid monster for recommending what actually happens to the great majority of Down Syndrome foetuses. They are aborted.”
On Thursday, Dawkins issued what he called an apology for his statements, remarking that his “phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding,” but stood by his recommendation that mothers abort their Down Syndrome babies.
“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,” he wrote, rephrasing his answer to the woman on the subject in greater detail. “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.”
But Kurt Kondrich, whose daughter Chloe inspired Pennsylvania’s Down Syndrome Prenatal Education Act, told Christian News Network that he was appalled by Dawkins’ comments. In 2003, Kurt and his wife Margie learned that they were pregnant with a Down Syndrome child, and became horrified when they learned that approximately 90 percent of women abort after receiving the diagnosis. Kondrich soon left his career in law enforcement and began advocating for greater education and support for mothers, so that they would not abort their babies because of the condition.
Kondrich and his daughter Chloe
“My 11-year old daughter has been nothing but a priceless blessing to our family and community since her birth, and she is a girl with many abilities,” he stated, noting that Chloe is active in a variety of activities, including volleyball and baseball, and loves to read. “Chloe has planted countless positive seeds, and she is a beautiful, intelligent, independent young lady who has accomplished more amazing feats in 11 years than most people do in a lifetime. She is more than capable of taking care of herself and helping others.”
He stated that Dawkins’ comments are akin to those made during the Holocaust, when the undesirables were eliminated from society. Kondrich explained that mindsets such as Dawkins present a slippery slope that makes virtually anyone a target for elimination.
“Once a society starts identifying, targeting and eliminating individuals because they are labeled as ‘defective,’ a burden or not worthy to be here, then we start down an extremely slippery slope where we must ask the question ‘Who is next?'” he outlined. “What if there are prenatal tests for autism, ADHD, depression, baldness, shortness, and the list goes on and on. If we can eliminate someone prenatally we deem defective or ‘suffering,’ then why not do it post-natally?”
Kondrich said that while Dawkins asserts that it would be “immoral” to give life to a child with Down Syndrome, he believes that on the contrary, it is because of the deepening immorality of our society that Dawkins even made such a suggestion.
“The reality is that it is our ‘immoral’ culture that is ‘suffering’ from the absence of Jesus Christ, and Chloe and individuals with Down syndrome represent the cure we all need—unconditional love, purity, absence of malice, kindness, and joy,” Kondrich said. “Mr. Dawkins needs to meet more people with Down Syndrome so they can cure his soul ‘suffering’ infection from a society that embraces death, depravity and deception.”
“Our nation will continue to plunge into complete darkness until we restore the sanctity of life and defend and protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Kondrich stated. “I would not change a thing about Chloe and her abilities, and the truly disabled people are those who have not connected to the only source of eternal hope, peace, joy and security–Jesus Christ.”
Dawkins likewise sparked controversy in September of last year when he asserted that “light pedophilia” experienced in his childhood did not cause him any “lasting damage.”
Main Photo: Mike Cornwell