Hot on the heels of Denyse O’Leary’s recent post on Richard Dawkins’ tweet that it would be immoral to bring a kid with Down syndrome into the world by choice, P.Z. Myers has weighed in against Dawkins. Myers writes:
I’m fully in agreement with Dawkins that abortion is not an unethical choice. The woman can choose whether to keep a child or not, and it is perfectly reasonable, and even responsible, for her to include any information about genetic disorders in making her decision. However, singling out children with Down Syndrome is seriously problematic — it is not immoral to have a child with Downs. It is immoral to insist that a fetus with Down Syndrome should be aborted.
I recommend reading any of Michael Bérubé’s stories about having a child with Down Syndrome — he doesn’t have any regrets at all. Or you could read about how Bérubé schooled Peter Singer, and Singer did the right thing and changed his mind. He also wrote a book on the subject, reviewed in the NY Times.
We should not judge a person’s humanity by the number of chromosomes they have, or how intelligent they are, or by how close their appearance fits a particular standard.
Professor Myers and I obviously disagree on the morality of abortion. Nevertheless, in pointing out that children with Down syndrome are fully human, and that the lives of these children are worth living, New Atheist P.Z. Myers is on the side of the angels. Let’s give credit where credit is due. I’d like to thank P.Z. Myers for speaking out in public, as he did.