Atheist author Richard Dawkins provoked a firestorm Wednesday on Twitter by claiming an unborn baby with Down’s syndrome should be aborted and that it would be “immoral to bring it into the world.”
The debate with some of his one million followers began when Dawkins, 73, linked to an article at the liberal New Republic titled, “The Catholic Church prefers medieval barbarism to modern abortion,” by Jerry A. Coyne, according to The Daily Mail.
“Ireland is a civilised country except in this one area,” Dawkins said. “You’d think the Roman Church would have lost all influence.”
Irish Catholic Aidan McCourt tweeted in return to Dawkins, “994 human beings with Down’s syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012. Is that civilised?”
“Yes, it is very civilised,” Dawkins responded. “These are foetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings.”
Dawkins later added, “Learn to think in non-essentialist ways. The question is not ‘is it human’?’ but ‘can it suffer?’”
When InYourFaceNewYorker tweeted, “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down’s syndrome. Real ethical dilemma,” Dawkins returned, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the
Many from the pro-life community and parents and families with children with Down’s syndrome were enraged by Dawkins’ comments.
“The problem here is not that a fetus doesn’t have human feelings, but rather that Richard Dawkins apparently doesn’t,” Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told Breitbart News. “Abortion does not only dehumanize the very real child in the womb; it dehumanizes everyone who tries to justify it.”
In a press statement, Live Action President Lila Rose slammed Dawkins’ tweets: "It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities.”
“Dawkins' ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome. While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” Rose added. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."
The Daily Mail notes Dawkins’ comments came one week after he said that having a faith helped foster terrorism, and that those who believe in God enable suicide bombers to murder thousands and make the “world safe” for extremists.