Popular atheist author recently came under fire for comments he made on social media asserting that unborn babies with Down Syndrome should be aborted and parents should "try again" to conceive.
"Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice," the 73 year old professor said Wednesday in response to a Twitter user asking what she would do if pregnant with a child with Down syndrome.
Dawkins called such killings "civilized" as they are "fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."
He then continued by defending his statement, tweeting, "If I were a woman with a DS fetus I personally would abort. So do most women in fact. If you wouldn't, good luck to you. It's your decision."
Dawkins, who authored "The God Delusion," clarified by stating that he wouldn't directly tell a woman such advice, but was simply relating what he would do if in that position.
"Woman said she wouldn't know whether to abort. I told her what I would do & why. I OBVIOUSLY wouldn't TELL a woman what to do. Up to her."
The Pro-Life campaign in Ireland expressed horror at Dawkin's comments, calling them 'chilling' and 'deeply insulting'.
'These shocking comments by Professor Richard Dawkins are a chilling reminder of how easy it is for society to fall into the trap of deeming some human beings "imperfect" and unworthy of life," a spokesperson for the group told the Daily Mail.
'To suggest that unborn babies diagnosed with Down's Syndrome should be discarded through abortion is deeply insulting to children with this special need and their families. 'All human beings are entitled to live their lives to the fullest of their capabilities. In a compassionate society, we must work together to put in place the supports and assistance that will make this possible for everyone."
Professor Dawkins's controversial comments come shortly after tweeting that having a faith helped foster terrorism. He suggested those who believe in God enable suicide bombers to murder thousands and make the 'world safe' for extremists. He later apologized for his tweets, but only in the sense that they did not offer his complete thoughts on the matter.
Justus Reynolds, whose daughter Grace was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, responded to Dawkin's comments on abortion, saying that killing his baby girl due to her disability would have been "the greatest mistake" of his life.
'I don't think it is "civilized" to abort a fetus that has Down's Syndrome to avoid difficulties in the future, because you will also lose any joy that you would have had from having a wonderful child of God as part of your family.
'Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth every trouble? Yes it is.'