Abortion, Evolution and Atheism: Why Richard Dawkins’ Beliefs about Children with Down Syndrome Should not Surprise Us

“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.” — Richard Dawkins

Every once in a while I come across something that grips me so completely, I cannot rest until I have processed through it, usually by writing about it. Such was the case for me after reading this article about the heinous tweet and subsequent explanation by Richard Dawkins pertaining to his view of children with Down Syndrome.  Dawkins is a prominent atheist, evolutionist and obvious pro-choicer, so his tweet, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice,” should not shock us. But it is no less sickening to those of us who value life. For those of us who have heard the words “fatal birth defect” and “incompatible with life” as we watched our baby on an ultrasound screen and then chose to carry to term anyway, this tweet is a punch to the gut. For those of us who have been privileged to know and love children with special needs, this tweet sucks the air right out of our lungs. For those of us who acknowledge the Creator who gives, sustains and takes life, this tweet is beyond reprehensible. But not surprising.

This is the logical conclusion for anyone who believes that ending the life of a child in utero is acceptable. Dawkins explains, “What I was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse.” He’s right, of course, and at least he owns it. This is also the logical conclusion for anyone who believes in the theory of evolution. It’s survival of the fittest—eugenics, pure and simple. And this is the logical conclusion for those who believe that there is no God. Because if there is no God, then why would life be valuable? Why would there be meaning to suffering or hardship? Why would you care about anything other than your own happiness and comfort? Why wouldn’t we all become the Gods of our own lives? Dawkins says, “…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.” Exactly. If the purpose of life is the sum of my own happiness, then why would I knowingly bring a life into this world that may infringe upon that happiness? And allowing breath for a child who may not enjoy the same “quality of life” as a normal, healthy baby with the right amount of chromosomes? Well, how could we describe that as anything less than immoral? I don’t want to keep following this reasoning to its logical end. It looks a lot Hitler’s pursuit of “racial purity” and Margaret Sanger’s vision for “race betterment.” It looks bleak, meaningless and utterly depressing.

Dawkins offers a backhanded apology for his tweet: “My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can’t help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand.” No. There is no “wanton eagerness to misunderstand” here. I understand exactly what you are saying, Mr. Dawkins. I understand why you are saying it. It makes perfect sense to me that someone who believes as you do would say this—and that is what is most terrifying. To be able to twist things so easily, so casually? The audacity of that kind of evil is chilling. To call the choice to NOT kill an unborn child with Down Syndrome “immoral,” and to know that you are revered by millions who probably feel the same way, disturbs me to my core. It makes me want to scream and weep.

down syndrome babyThankfully, there is a God, whether you believe it or not, Mr. Dawkins. Thankfully, you are not Him. Thankfully, you do not get to say a life has less value than another because it does not meet whatever standard you’ve deemed as deserving. You do not get to shake your fist in the face of God forever. You will meet Him one day, as we all will.

If you are reading this and consider yourself to be pro-choice, an evolutionist, or an atheist, please consider what your worldview demands you believe. Please ask yourself if this is a road you want to follow to its logical end. And if it’s not, I beg you, seek God. He is there.

If you are a Christ follower, please pray with me for the eyes of the blind to be opened to the Truth. Praise God for His sovereignty over all things. He is a God who redeems. He is God who is making all things new.

“…so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11