I’m sure you’ve all heard about Richard Dawkins’ tweet regarding unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. He was asked what should be done if a woman discovered she was pregnant with a child with DS. His response:
Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.
How does Dawkins justify his views about abortion and DS? He wants to minimize suffering. He doesn’t want to destroy DS babies because he’s evil. He thinks they will suffer and killing them does not cause them to suffer and so in order to create a world with the least amount of suffering, you kill those kids before they become a person deserving of rights. That’s still wrong, but notice what’s motivating his view. He’s trying to stop suffering. He’s not intending to be insulting to parents of DS children.
While I disagree with his methods, I agree with and appreciate his goal of reducing suffering. We disagree about whether abortion reduces suffering, or if it did, whether or not that would justify it. Richard Dawkins is hostile to most of my values, but we can find common ground with anybody.
And the depressing reality is that Dawkins’ ultimate perspective is not that different from many people’s. As Dawkins’ says in an article he posted as a follow-up to the Twitterverse explosion:
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. […] 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.
It’s a whole sad state of affairs.