“Abort it and try again”

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“Abort it and try again.”

Was this nasty comment made by a faceless internet troll? No. Immature teenage kid? No. This twitter gem comes from Oxford scholar Richard Dawkins in response to a woman pondering today whether or not she would continue a pregnancy if she learned the fetus had Down syndrome.

When I logged in to twitter to see how this great mind had responded to the ensuing backlash, I was hoping to see a well thought out, albeit misguided rebuttal. I was surprised to find this:

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This is supposed to be one of the most intelligent voices of our time, and a champion for critical thinking and evidence-based logic. His defense is “everybody does it.”

Reading further down his twitter feed didn’t improve things. So far we’ve learned that Richard Dawkins not only doesn’t value a life with Down syndrome, he actually feels it is immoral to knowingly bring such life into the world. When met with resistance to this eugenic philosophy, he assures everyone that it is normal protocol for dealing with these sorts of things. How then would he handle other intellectual disabilities?

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Dawkins implies that the value in a human life is in how much that life contributes to society. He implies it is immoral for me to bring a life with Down syndrome into the world because that life has nothing to contribute to the world. He implies that a life’s value is based in its ability. Congratulations Dr. Dawkins, you can now add “ableist” to your credentials.

It’s not as though I haven’t read or heard these type of thoughts before. This is just your garden variety ignorance. We’ve only in the past 50 years begun to stop marginalizing people with Down syndrome and start supporting them in a way that makes it possible for them to reach their potential in mainstream society. Many people simply don’t understand Down syndrome. Because Dawkins has no point of reference for ever having carried an unborn child inside of his body nor does he have a child with a developmental disability, I wouldn’t expect him to understand just how precious that life can be and how much someone with Down syndrome has to offer this world. But this is no average person. This is a self-proclaimed bioethicist. He’s devoted a great portion of his life to answering hard questions about human life. Many people look to him as an authoritative voice of reason on such matters. Clearly this woman did as she posed this question directly to him. I’m angry because he should know better, or at least know enough to know that he doesn’t and keep his mouth shut.

And he is wrong. He may be brilliant, but he is absolutely wrong. Good lord, if we had to provide a resume of what we could bring to the table to gain entrance into this world we’d all be screwed. How can you decide a life has nothing to contribute before it’s started and why is that an important pre-requisite for life in the first place? For that matter, how do you measure the value of a life and justify it’s existence? This is the part where I am supposed to tell you all the reasons why my son belongs here among the living, and honestly, I really don’t feel like I should have to. It really is ridiculous. No one ever questioned my mom’s decision to bring me into the world. No one’s ever checked in to see how much I have contributed to the world in regards to my right to life. I could rattle off all the reasons Owen is awesome. I could tell you all the things he might do someday, or list off all the accomplishments people with Down syndrome have made to date, but why should I have to justify anyone’s right to live on this earth with the rest of us? My son has a genetic condition that presents no obstacle to his living a long happy life. Everything else is really irrelevant. He’s not suffering. He’s not a burden. He’s not unhappy. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what life means for Owen. This isn’t blind optimism. I don’t assert these things lightly. I’ve done the research to make sure I can say these things with confidence. I’ve not spent a minute rethinking my decision to bring him into this world.

That’s how I would respond to Mr. Dawkins. But I’ve heard it stated more eloquently.

That’s you, Richard.

My husband shared this with me several years ago. What a beautiful tribute to the persistence and rarity of human life. Think about all the things that had to fall into place for us just to be here right now. The odds we beat. The obstacles Owen has already overcome just to be alive. Things we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of understanding. How can someone understand that and so casually dismiss a human life he knows nothing about? So what changed your mind, Richard? Why can’t my son consider himself lucky to be here with the rest of us? He smiles and laughs every day like he’s lucky. He laughs like he already knows what you once knew and seem to have forgotten.

Life is beautiful, and any of us should be overwhelmed just to be here.

It’s impossible not to take it personally when someone tells me my greatest accomplishment to date was an immoral choice. It is painful to carry the knowledge that many people in the world will not see the wonderful, beautiful, valuable life that I have had the privilege to watch over as just that. I see perfection. Many will see a mistake. A glitch in the system. They will totally miss a truly extraordinary life. And it’s really their loss. It really makes my job hard though as a mom to make sure my son never feels this way about himself. How am I going to hide this bullshit from him? Will he ever for a second believe it, because that thought just breaks my heart.

Please also read the follow-up post to this one: On Suffering and Down Syndrome

This is post of part of the Summer Blog Hop Series


98 thoughts on ““Abort it and try again”

  1. thank you for this very powerful and very touching response. Dawkin’s twitter message was so cold-hearted and immoral; i had cold shivers running down my spine upon reading it. All life is precious, and a miracle in its own right.

    I browsed a bit through this blog, and I felt very touched and inspired by the things your write. All the blessings to you and your beautiful family!

    • So, let’s see, if a crack addict prostitutes herself to smoke some more crack, and gets pregnant by a client, she most likely wiould give birth to a baby with a series of numerous conditions, and most probably end up in the hands of th state because”mama” is in no condition to raise that baby….Do you mean to tell me that is OKEY to let that baby into thia world and go through a lifetime of pain, suffering and sickness? Why let that child pay for the mother’s errors, and some conditions can be prevented but the mother not always can….I don’t agree with you, I think that it is (not inmoral) irresponsible for bringing a baby to this world knowingly sick, it’s not cruelty or ignorance is responsibility 😒

      • If I knew for sure that my child would have a “lifetime of pain, suffering and sickness”, I would have a real moral dilemma on my hands. Fortunately, people with Down syndrome do not necessarily experience these things. No one can know for sure what this life will hold so I won’t say for certain that they don’t ever experience suffering, but I spent some time researching what my son’s life might be like following a DS diagnosis and what I found was a lot of people who have full, beautiful, happy lives.

      • A lot of times what you find on the internet about people’s life’s and stories are only stories of success, they don’t show you the failures and the pain they go through. Down syndrome or any other genetic condition is a life problem that you live with everyday and a suffering, it will require strength and courage to go through more than you might imagine. So I don’t oppose abortion to prevent a child from going through such a life, if I had the choice.

      • Well YOU are the one bringing the DOWN SYNDROME into MY argument, I never mentioned a specific condition, and even if DS patients do not suffer any physical pain, tell me something : Are you completely SURE that there is NO emotional or psychological trauma caused as a result of years of therepy they undergo “to make them functional”?

      • You commented on my post about Down syndrome. This is a blog that addresses topics concerning Down syndrome.The initial comments made by Dawkins were about Down syndrome. I did not address the “crack addict” comment because this is not a blog about drugs or addiction and that is completely irrelevant to the discussion. If you did not want to discuss these things as they pertain to Down syndrome, perhaps this is not the appropriate place for “your argument.” It is becoming increasingly clear that you just want to make inflammatory statements. I am interested in having a logical discussion. When you are ready to do that, I will entertain your comments.

      • Sure! I understand totally that anything nit pertaining to your own little comfortable word or anybody that doesnt agree with you is unimportant, blame it on protocol or better yet call me socially misfit, the point is not wasting your time….RIGHT?!?!? How convenient, but truth is, you are right, this is your blog so my apologies for not posting what you wanted to read 😮

  2. Powerful, inspiring post. I say this as the father of a young man with autism, as a human being and as a scientist and writer. You expressed in a much more polite way, what many of us would have answered to Dawkins. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much! Your blog looks really interesting. I look forward to reading back through your posts on the brain through the lens of a scientist and father of son with autism.

  3. One comment that Richard Dawkins made was cherry picked and is now being used to demonize one of the greatest minds of our time. I may not always agree with Dawkins, but before you go off on him for not being more accepting perhaps you should make sure you read the entire conversation.

    I have made a conscious decision to not have children as I do not want my mental illness (bipolar II) passed along. You ask “Who are we to decide which lives are precious?” I ask “Who are we to impose a debilitating condition on a life form?” I’ve had days where getting out of bed is a superhuman feat. I’ve been on the psychological/pharmaceutical merry-go-round for 30+ years, and there is nothing beautiful about it.

    • Not everyone considers a life with Down Syndrome, autism or even bipolar to be a life not worth living. As long as it is a life worth living, the person who has that life has not been wronged by being brought into existence. That condition has not been inflicted on them; they can have no other life but that one. Aborting one and trying again is not fixing them but exchanging them for someone else.

      I worry about parents who end the life of imperfect offspring. What happens if a subsequent child turns out to have some problem they couldn’t detect when it was still legal to kill it?

      • Which is exactly why we need to improve the screening process to ensure that we’re catching more defects as early as possible.

  4. Beautiful. Dawkins needs to read this. You should tweet the link to him. I have a genetic disorder also. (Marfan’s Syndrome) We struggled with the decision. Eventually we decided and we have a son. He got my gene. But I am so glad he is here. He makes me a better person. I volunteerd with a therapy group and iworked with folks with Downs Syndrome. No matter my mood or how I felt, those smiles brightened my day. Their kind affectionate and happy nature is always inspiring!

    • Thanks for kind thoughts! I really hope he does read at least one thing written a person with a little more insight on this issue.

  5. Pingback: On Suffering and Down Syndrome | Let's go have some pancakes.

  6. The big clue to Dawkins’ attitude is his use of the word “it.” Not he, she, or baby. When a child is nothing but an “it,” you can do whatever you want.

    Very compelling, thought-provoking post.

    • I just read your post. What a beautiful story about your brother! He sounds like a wonderful person who’s impacted so many lives. I can’t help but wonder how different things would have been had your mother listened to the doctors.

      • Thanks for checking in. I just wanted to add. Your baby sure has a great mom in you. Keep up the good work and let us know how you and your family are doing. I am sure some great adventures lie ahead.

  7. What a disgusting thing to say. He’s entirely wrong anyway – people with Down’s syndrome are just as able to contribute to society as anyone. Take, for instance, Councillor Stephen Green in Nottinghamshire. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28196677 He has Down’s syndrome, and to my mind is contributing far more than many people I’ve met!

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  9. I know InYourFaceNewYorker personally. She’s a friend of RD, and I’m a friend of hers. He wasn’t intending this as anything malicious or cold toward her. She knows that (she and I discussed this).

    There are a couple things about Richard Dawkins. 1. He’s very logic-oriented, though very nice personally. 2. He seems to have some difficulty adequately expressing his full thoughts on Twitter. He does an outstanding job in long-form, but Twitter definitely isn’t that.

    He did post an explanation on his website.

    For what it’s worth, I am on the Autism spectrum (yes, professional diagnosis. I’m much better in writing than I am verbally).

    This is just a quasi-explanation. I don’t expect to change minds here, especially as it’s only the words of little ole me that I’m offering. Yes, his words came out rather harsh in that line, and sometimes logical pragmatism can be very harsh on a person.

    140 characters usually leaves room for EITHER logic OR emotion. Rarely both. If you know Mr. Dawkins, I think you know which one he’ll opt for if he has to choose. 😉

    • I appreciate your response, particularly from the perspective of someone who is on the Autism spectrum, and I also appreciate that Dawkins’ places a high value on logic. That’s what I have liked about him in the past. I have read his extended response on his website, and to be honest, I’m not sure he did a much better job representing himself with an expanded format. I just don’t think his logic holds water here. I write this from a place of passion as a mother certainly, but I also write this from a place of logic. I wouldn’t dream of opposing Dr. Dawkins any other way 🙂

      I did my research, and you can find some the stats in my follow up post to this here: https://letsgohavesomepancakes.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/on-suffering-and-down-syndrome/ Down syndrome does not inherently cause suffering and studies show that 99% of people with DS are happy with their lives and so are those that know them. Based on these numbers, I don’t find it immoral to bring such a life into the world. I’ve met many people with DS and I think the world is a much better place because they are here.

      • I really like your response.
        People with DS can teach the rest of the world a lot about love. It seems that what he’s talking about is that sometimes they can have such an unnecessarily difficult time that life can be truly tragic.

        As for me? With Autism? I’m a little bit torn. Sometimes I’m glad I’m here… Sometimes I’m not (don’t worry, I understand the value of counselling. lol). The Autism has led to such difficulties, some of them tragic…. and I’m semi-functional (though still disabled). For those who have it more severely… I just don’t know.

      • I often think about what it would be like to have Down syndrome even for a day. As much as I try, I will never truly be able to understand what it’s like to be Owen. I hope that someday he is able to tell me truthfully that he is happy to be here and glad that I made the choice that I did, but all I can do is look at the evidence available which tells me he has a pretty good shot at feeling that way. When I watch that video in my post and I can’t help but think that Owen’s life was 1 million years in the making. I think as Dawkins said himself “we are the lucky ones” just to experience life. I think anyone who has a shot at it ought to be given every opportunity possible to be part of it. A previous commenter said “Who are we to impose a debilitating condition on a life form?” I would counter with: who I am to decide this life holds things that can’t be overcome? Who am I to decide for my son that he doesn’t have what it takes to hack it in this world? A fellow blogger wrote in a post recently that two thirds of the world has a disability or a connection to a disability: http://www.meriahnichols.com/two-thirds-club/ I really appreciate her perspective because she speaks as someone who has personal experience with disability herself and as a mother of a person with DS. People with disabilities are not defective outliers. Disability is a normal human occurrence. If given the choice to eliminate disability or accept it as a natural occurrence and work towards creating a world that accommodates people of all abilities and reduces their suffering, I have to think the latter is better. Though I acknowledge things aren’t so clear cut when talking about severe disability that causes intense suffering more days than not. You’ve made me think a lot, and of all the comments I’ve gotten on this post today, I have really valued your perspective. And I like your blog.

  10. Amazing. “Good lord, if we had to provide a resume of what we could bring to the table to gain entrance into this world we’d all be screwed.”

    Thank you for being the voice of love and reason. I wouldn’t be intimidated by intellect because reading your blog post inspired and moved me today than Richard Dawkins ever will move me in this lifetime.

  11. If the disabled person we are discussing were miraculously able to be fully intelligent and aware for a minute in order to decide for himself or herself, I feel sure that he or she would choose not to live.

    • Good news! We don’t need a miracle. Individuals with DS may not have as high an IQ as the average person, but they are intelligent individuals. They think, love, dream and aspire just like the rest of us. They can and they did tell us how they feel about being alive. A study in 2011 shows that 99% of individuals with DS are happy with their lives: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3740159/

      I wrote a follow up post to this one that you might appreciate. It addresses the idea of suffering in individuals with DS: https://letsgohavesomepancakes.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/on-suffering-and-down-syndrome/

    • Then obviously you have never closely known anyone who has DS, because they are aware and intelligent in a way you obviously cannot comprehend. just because they may not be able to do advanced mathematics or tell you how a microwave oven works is no reason to murder then in the womb. If criteria like yours were what we judged by then I suspect a great majority of politicians would never have been born, nor would a great number of other people on the earth especially in America and other “developed” nations, for there are very few people who are “fully intelligent and aware”. Too many lock themselves into a television to watch what passes for “news as entertainment”, “daily or nightly soap operas” or “televised sports”. Those who are “aware” are to busy fighting injustices and intolerances like the one you and Dawkins obviously hold toward a group of people whom you have never bothered to get to know, personally.

  12. This is beautiful. Your son is so lucky to have you guys as parents. Life is beautiful and exquisite and amazing. Thanks for writing this!!

  13. How can anyone say they value human life when they devalue people that don’t fit certain criteria. As Christians, my wife and I never had second thoughts when the doctor that our third child had markers for Down Syndrome. We were going to love her regardless. She was born without Down Syndrome, but it didn’t matter to us. We love her and couldn’t imagine our family without her.

    • See, parent’s like you make sense. You are blessed with a new life coming into your family and you are intelligent enough to realize that the blessing is in the gift itself, not what package it arrives in. After having been blessed to know a friend with DS from birth to 12 y.o. when our doctors suggested testing for possible “conditions” one of which being DS, while our eldest and the twins were in utero, I thought about Tommy for a few minutes and then refused to have the tests because after being told in my very early 20s I could never have children, just the fact that I got pregnant was miracle enough for me. If I were also blessed with a child of pure love and joy, then so be it, that would obviously have been what I was supposed to have and learn from. We are given our lives in order to learn and grow and if we are blessed with children in our lifetimes, the opportunity for growth increases exponentially. That is the blessing of life.

  14. It’s heartbreaking that such thinking exists and discouraging that such beliefs are supported but the some so-called “great minds.” Life is sacred. Yes, the parents of children with Down syndrome and those sweet, loving children do not live easy lives. But if we just start doing whatever is easiest, where will we end up?

  15. Great post! My friend has a little girl who has Downs and I swear she is just the most beautiful child in the world, she never fails to melt my heart and make me smile, she’s given me more joy in three years that some adults have in their whole lifetimes.
    They give love in abundance and that’s something this world lacks a lot of!

  16. Dawkins response is illustrating a common point of view about the kinds of human qualities that are commonly considered valuable and those that are not. We would do well to stop trying to “fix” people against standards of selective appreciation and being open to relating. A big part of the challenge for the mother in raising this baby would be the resistance from society she might face in the form of judgment, insufficient resources, pity, and rejection. Acceptance and openness would cease much of the anticipated (and socially orchestrated) suffering of this family.

  17. I could see how this would effect someone as close to you as the subject is with pain. It is really very unkind and mean. You covered this well in rebuttal. May you and your family be blessed always.

  18. I will agree with a single statement from Dawkins “the value in a human life is in how much that life contributes to society” and I will stand by it to the day I die.

    What differs between us is that I have been blessed to have a person in my life who had DS, so I learned first hand what an amazing gift they are to this world and how much they do contribute to society. What differs between us is that I have experienced his pure sweet nature seen in the smile that Tommy gave me every time I saw him, usually quickly followed by a big bear hug. When he was four, I finally understood the way he experienced life as an adventure daily. That the world was fresh and new and it caused me to see the world differently than most teenager girls did who thought themselves jaded and experienced by the grand old age of 17. He was born to an amazing dad and grandparents, and a mother, much like Dawkins, who was too blind to see this amazing gift she had received.

    Sadly, the family moved away when Tommy was 12 so I never got to see him grow up. I did not get to see the amazing man he became and though he has been gone from the last 27 years of my life, I always have and always will consider myself blessed to have had him for the time I did. It gave me the opportunity to see the profound effect he had on those he loved and who loved him. No matter how bad your day was, once you had gotten a “Tommy grin and hug” all was right with the world once, again.

    Pure love and joy, THAT is how he contributed to society when I knew him.

  19. It is shameful to see how a person with the gift of intellect, like Dawkins, throws it away. The wonder of God’s love shines out in our disabled children and brings us to a better understanding.

  20. Your response to Dawkins, to me, is just about perfect!! Each child on this planet God created, is precious in His sight! I hold to the biblical perspective that we each are made in His image–I couldn’t begin tell you how He worked that out!! A Christian theologian might be able to do that, sure as heck better than me! LOL!!

  21. I once told a woman she was lucky she would have her son forever as a child, to care for and watch over. She said she’d never thought of it that way and thanked me. I truly believed it. Not that I regret my healthy children but how many of us don’t sometimes wish they were babies again? There are challenges to being a patent. Period. And to me, EVERY child is beautiful, the loss of one a tragedy. This man is exactly as you describe, a learned ignoramus. My MIL (my first one who was essentially my stand in mother) told me I knew everything but understood nothing. She was, IS, VERY wise and I still love dearly, and world tell this guy the exact same thing. Under this man’s rules I would need to be put out in the field to starve as I’m completely disabled. I can’t cook, clean, take care of a child, myself or live alone. Can’t drive, take a bus and sometimes, like now, can’t walk upright to the bathroom. My worth? My son, with whom I live, would say priceless because I can still render judgment on electronic purchases, find real estate worth buying, help the children with bilingual homework and help his wife learn English and him with advice he trusts. So how do you put a price on my head?

    • The price I would put on your head is the price of a “loving mother” who does everything she is capable of doing for her children and grandchildren.. Sorry… those are priceless so if you were asking in order for your son to be able to sell you, too bad since no one could afford to buy you 😉

      Coming from parents who had seven kids then either abused or ignored them, I might be willing to sell everything I have other than my own children, but nope, still not enough to buy you for us.

  22. He should not have answered it (at least not on Twitter). It is a tricky question to respond to and it could have gone either way. Its the lady’s decision to take and RD should have mentioned it instead of giving his opinion.

  23. I believe Dawkins is saying more about his own disability than that of people with Down Syndrome. Perhaps it’s society’s fear of care provision and taking responsibility for more than oneself that is the real issue. Although Stephen Hawkings had a progressive debilitating illness his contributions to science has advanced all humans and he required complete assistance after a certain point in order to function, yet he is still a “contributor”. Probably a loved and encouraged child is all that matters to ensure happiness.
    I am pro-choice, for the record, and believe each individual reason for abortion should be a private and personal decision. People can seek advice, but need to weigh their own choices carefully. The woman asking for Dawkin’s wisdom on the matter can’t blame him for telling her his truth and context. (not that she does) And as a man he is even less qualified to advise her about her body. (no matter what the Pope, for example, tells women).
    I know plenty of contributing “disabled” people. “Disabled” being a controversial word choice among them these days. And adversity has actually made them some of the most positive people I’ve met.

  24. Pingback: Differently abled | Mandy Mitlyng

  25. Lovely post 🙂 Hi eugenic philosophy is the logical conclusion of the Pro-Choice path because if the choice belongs to the woman alone then the value of a baby is subjective. As every life is valued by God, we are ill inherently and objectively valuable. Life is beautiful. Peace and love x

    • Hi did they say buttered, by your logic, if the woman does not own her own body and make her own choices, she’s the object and thereby subjective. I however, defend your rights to your religion and reasons for making a different choice. I am not casual about life. Please do not project that onto me. I am completely supportive of the author’s view of her child’s beauty, ability and purpose of being. I do not want to turn this into a personal battle over my womb. God is a personal private thing. So is a woman’s body. So is choosing how and when and if to birth. Life is beautiful. So are equal rights for women. Please don’t take us back to wire hangers and higher maternal death rates. Love and peace are not excluded from or by pro-choice people. We care deeply.

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  27. Dawkins stated “the value in a human life is in how much that life contributes to society”, okay that sounds somewhat valid, realistically every life contributes or affects society in some way whether it be positive or negative. I much prefer something along the lines of, “It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
    The thing is, who measures your impact or “contribution” to society to decide if it is “enough”? Is that Dawkins’ job? Does having a high IQ automatically get you that role? Madonna reportedly has an IQ of 140, she has contributed much to the music industry, but I would never take her advice on what movie to sign up to 🙂
    Dawkins’ most recent work seems to be all about preaching the non-existence of a “supernatural creator” and coining the term “meme”, yup… so who judges his contributions to society? It seems to me that someone who is soooo intelligent could perhaps direct their massive brains to a more dignified cause.

      • Yes, exactly like that, perfect example. It would be nice if he redirected himself to the work he started in the 80’s. He had some good ideas and just think, if he had applied himself fully to that area instead of spending decades trying to prove the non-existence of a “supernatural creator” we could be incredibly advanced in both those fields now… His most recent “noted” work (meaning it possessed cutting edge theories and new ideas) was published in 1982, 32 years ago. What could have been accomplished from 32 years dedicated research in the field of evolutionary biology?

  28. I think part of the problem was trying to have this conversation on Twitter. Your post can only be, what, 140 characters? That’s not enough room to get more than a very simple message across. I’m not defending Dawkins; if he’d been responsible he would have sought out a means of replying that allowed for a more complex discussion of a complex issue. IMHO it’s a matter of personal choice; the most responsible answer would be to provide information, means to converse with people who have Downs syndrome & their parents, and to ask questions that help the person consider the issue in the context of their own life.

    • I agree he shouldn’t have responded on twitter. He said in a more expanded response on his site that he didn’t realize it would show up in his feed and thought that it would only go to the person to whom he was responding. However, I think you post something on twitter, you should consider it public. Given the expanded format to further explain himself on his site, I still wasn’t satisfied. You can find that response here: https://richarddawkins.net/2014/08/abortion-down-syndrome-an-apology-for-letting-slip-the-dogs-of-twitterwar/

      “…provide information, means to converse with people who have Downs syndrome & their parents, and to ask questions that help the person consider the issue in the context of their own life.”

      I really think you hit the nail on the head. I have been careful to not engage a pro-life versus pro-choice argument. I think it’s polarizing and is not productive when talking about selective termination in regards to Down syndrome. I am pro-information. Complete, accurate, neutral information for all parents that receive a prenatal diagnosis of DS. I think too many uninformed decisions are being made and the personal views of healthcare professionals are being imposed upon parents in a vulnerable position. I have heard of parents who received their diagnosis, and in the same conversation, were told that their termination had already been scheduled for them. There is not an informed decision happening there and that needs to change. Fortunately it is starting to. Many US states have passed pro-information laws this past year requiring healthcare professionals to provide thorough information to parents receiving a prenatal diagnosis of DS.

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  30. Thank you for your blog. I’m so angry and fed up of some folk picking on people with Downs Syndrome or “other defects” at birth.

    As a society we declare (mostly) we all want love, peace and acceptance. Down with Racism, Sexism etc. Since when was it ok to dehumanise those with physical or mental difficulties? Why are we trying to make everyone the same or labelling them with “defects”?

    Where’s our love, compassion, and acceptance of those needing it? Where’s the patience offers of care and assistance to those who formulate part of the diversified nature of the Human Race, when they need it?

    Why do we now have an attitude to “get rid” if it’s not convenient or going to make us uncomfortable? Richard Dawkins only highlighted what’s wrong with some of “our logic” – it lacks the “unique” element that each individual should be afforded as a human being – Respect.

  31. Reblogged this on WhalleyWorld and commented:
    Having a daughter with Down Syndrome also, I feel this blog sums up what I feel. Being an educator, I see so much more that these kids bring to society – their contributions may not be academic, (although they could be!), but they can sure make the world a better, more pure place to be.

  32. Lovely piece. If all decisions were made by people like him we would never have discovered how people with a range of conditions can live fulfilling, happy, productive, loving lives if they are nurtured from the beggining. This whole ‘I know science so I can say hateful things’ trip Dawkins is on smacks of Scientific Racism, Eugenics etc…

  33. Pingback: The Business of Awareness | Let's go have some pancakes.

  34. Pingback: “Abort it and try again” | Chandler Johnson

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