So-called ethicist Richard Dawkins, famed as the world’s most active militant atheist, has now decided that all babies that don’t fit his definition of worthy should be aborted and that it is actually “immoral” if they are allowed to be born. Thus he feels that babies with Down Syndrome must be aborted and it is “immoral” not to do so.
The famed atheist recently took to Twitter to reply to a follower who said it would be an “ethical dilemma” to be pregnant with a baby diagnosed with Down Syndrome. In reply, Dawkins wrote, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
So, as far as Dawkins is concerned a person with Down Syndrome is living a life not worth living.
But this is his opinion. This is not based on anything empirical. So, if that is all we are basing this decision on, how is any reason to abort not wholly legitimate? What if you don’t want a girl, or a boy? Kill it? What if you think black people don’t deserve to be born? What if… well, the what ifs go on forever because no reason would be off limits with the barrier of a sanctity for life broken down the way Dawkins is doing it here.
Whose life is “worth” living, anyway? How do we determine this other than with fleeting and arbitrary feelings?
Should Jason McElwain of New York have been aborted?
And how do we leave the period for determination for the womb? Can’t we decide that people actually born are leading worthless lives? Can we decide to “abort” people at any age and if not, why not?
So, here’s a suggestion: what if we abort at any age someone who claims to be an atheist? Seriously. Why not? After all, Dawkins is being so entirely subjective on whose life is worthy that he certainly opens himself up for being “aborted,” doesn’t he?
What possible, empirical reason would prevent the abortion of atheists?
In any case, after the Twitter war died down, Dawkins went to the Internet to post a longer explanation of why he’d abort a child with Down Syndrome.
Obviously the choice would be yours. 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. 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. And, indeed, that is what the great majority of women, in America and especially in Europe, actually do. I personally would go further and say that, 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. I agree that that personal opinion is contentious and needs to be argued further, possibly to be withdrawn. In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else
If “reducing suffering” is your only criteria, then abort everyone because we all suffer somehow!
Seriously there is nothing but arbitrary nonsense in Dawkins’ “reasoning” here.