Richard Dawkins has faced heavy criticism from parents after he said not aborting a baby with Down’s syndrome would be “immoral”.
This week, two fathers expressed their outrage and disbelief at Dawkins’ comments and spoke of their love and respect for their children who have the condition.
Writing in the Sunday Times, columnist Dominic Lawson described his 19-year-old daughter Domenica as a “robust young woman with an irrepressible joie de vivre”.
He said Dawkins’ argument that people with Down’s syndrome suffer more than others “could be believed only by a person who has never taken the trouble to investigate the matter”.
Mr Lawson referred to a paper published by the American Journal of Medical Genetics which found that people with Down’s do not feel unhappy with their lives.
It said: “Nearly 99% of people with Down’s syndrome indicated they were happy with their lives, 97% liked who they are and 96% liked how they look”.
Challenging Dawkins’ measure for valuing life, he pointed out what he believes Prof Dawkins really thinks of Down’s syndrome children.
He said: “It is not any “suffering” that makes him think Down’s people would be better off not existing: it is the fact that they have below-average IQs and so don’t “have a great deal to contribute””.
The father of a 16-year-old girl with Down’s who has just passed six GCSEs also spoke out against Dawkins.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Tim Skelton said his daughter’s success “is proof people with Down’s syndrome can live successful lives”.
Currently, doctors can approve abortions up to full term if they think there is a “substantial risk” that the child will be seriously handicapped, under ground E of the Abortion Act.