Dear Richard Dawkins

I recently read your Twitter rant about your support of aborting babies with Down syndrome. It started with someone asking your opinion on the matter and you answered her, but then you continued. As I read your statements, I’ll go so far as to agree with you on one point you made – that the majority choose abortion. That’s a fact and I even wrote about it here. But I have no idea how you feel you are entitled to have an opinion concerning suffering and Down syndrome.

When you say, “Suffering should be avoided. Cause no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can,” in reference to whether someone should abort a baby with Down syndrome, that is pure ignorance.

When I think of suffering, there are a lot of things that come to mind.

I think about people fighting for their lives as they fight cancer.

I think of people around the world who are literally starving and thirsting to death for lack of food and clean water. Wouldn’t it be horrible to go to sleep hungry and wake up the same way with no end in sight?

What about the Holocaust? The innocent people held captive in concentration camps as they died from hard labor, hunger, hypothermia, and a multitude of other horrifying ways. Can you imagine how much they suffered? Just hoping it would end somehow?

Parents who have lost their children too soon in life are brought to my mind. What heartache.

How about adults who have to bury their own parents, and carry on in life without them?

September 11, 2001 brought a lot of suffering. Can you imagine being trapped in a burning building with no way out? And what about the families that lost their husbands, wives, parents, children, and friends that day? That kind of tragedy will cause a lifetime struggle with suffering for some people.

It would be really hard to lose your job, your house, and the ability to provide for yourself and your family, wouldn’t it? I’d probably consider that suffering as well.

In fact, suffering is defined as “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.” So based on that, everything that I just mentioned is absolutely considered suffering.

Knowing this, it’s completely inaccurate for you to declare that a child with Down syndrome being born will suffer. Or that their family will suffer. Or that the community that surrounds them will suffer.

We had a baby girl six months ago. Her name is Gracie. She was born with Down syndrome and we knew that diagnosis prenatally. We made the decision that her life was too valuable and precious to throw away. I won’t even bring our faith into this conversation since you and I are at polar opposite ends of that spectrum, but you can read about what we believe and why here. She has been an amazing addition and blessing to our family. She fits so perfectly.

When you look at our Gracie, she is not suffering.

photo 1(8)

Even after her open heart surgery a few weeks ago, she still isn’t suffering.


Her brother? He’s doing awesome. Definitely not suffering.


Her mom and dad? Grandparents? Aunts and uncle? No suffering there.

Proud daddy.

Proud daddy.

We had to take a picture after we got the great news from the cardiologist! So grateful!

Mommy and Gracie had to take a picture after we got the great news from the cardiologist! So grateful!

What about the community around Gracie? Is she causing them to suffer? Is she too much of a burden? So far, so good. Our community has rallied behind us to walk with us, encourage us, and love Gracie.

In fact, there was actually a study done to find out if families who had children with Down syndrome were happy. The findings? 97% of parents were proud of their children and 96% of siblings loved their brother and sister with Down syndrome.

Do you think this sounds at all like suffering?

You’re entitled to have an opinion in the pro-life/pro-choice conversation – but please, in all the knowledge you possess, understand that you know nothing about Down syndrome. You know a lot about being a professor and a writer, but you know NOTHING about Down syndrome.



Posted in Down Syndrome, Gracie
34 comments on “Dear Richard Dawkins
    • Anelica M. says:

      I was at the DMV with my older son. He was non-stop complaining about how long it took me to allow him to get his driver license. While at the DMV i noticed a young man with down syndrome who had just pass his driver test. He was giving his mom hugs and kisses an repeatedly told his mom how much he loved her. He was so happy and grateful.

    • Sharon Anderson says:

      Bravo! Well said!

    • Joanie says:

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! You expressed exactly what so many of us feel about our Children. We do NOT need pity, we do NOT need to be seen as a liability or a hardship. We need to be seen with open eyes and an open heart, and most of all we need to be loved and accepted for every unique fiber in our beings. Our Bella is 5 years old now and has Down Syndrome, and she suffers no more or no less than anyone else. The one thing she has that Richard Dawkins doesn’t have is a pureness of heart that has not yet been jaded by people like him. Blessings to You and Your Beautiful Family ❤

  1. jayhigham says:

    Love this post! As a teen and young adult, I worked at a summer camp that ministered to children, teens, and young adults with various physical and mental limitations. But what I learned was that despite their limitations, their love for life and those around them was limitless! I learned so much those summers. Life is a gift. But sometimes the best gifts come when God sends us something a little more special. Every life is perfect in it’s creation and purpose, and the only suffering that happens is when we suffer without experiencing the special loves He brings along.

    – jay

  2. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. As the mama to a one year old precious baby boy with Down syndrome, I felt absolutely sick reading Richard Dawkins comments. Thank you so much for your perfect response to his ignorance. 🙂

  3. Jamelle S. says:

    What a blessing you are to all of us. Thank you for sharing…and making us reflect on what is important – and what is not in our lives.
    Continuing to pray for you and your family….

  4. Jessica says:

    Thank you for describing the way i feel. I couldn’t find the words, you could.
    Proud mama of 4 year old Quint, who is not suffering at all.

  5. Maaike says:

    In Holland we would say: Topper!!
    Great post and wonderfull pictures!
    With love from Holland

  6. Tonia says:

    Well articulated! Thank you!

  7. Sarah says:

    Thank you for saying all the things I was thinking. My son is a precious, happy gift to our family and community. He doesn’t know what suffering means and I will do everything I can to make sure he never will.

  8. Best rebuttal yet! My is almost 21 with DS and the only time he would ever tell anyone he is suffering is when I wouldn’t let him go on a cruise by himself. He has more fun than anyone else I know and brings the party with him everywhere he goes! Your daughter is beautiful!!

  9. I have a second cousin and a great-niece with DS and I wouldn’t trade either of them for anything in the world. They are both wonderful, amazing human beings, and neither they nor their families immediate or extended are suffering, in fact they bring a light and joy to our lives and I am grateful that they are with us.

  10. Dori says:

    Amen!! I love my sister with Downs more than life itself!! She is the best person I know and has the most unconditional love! If I told her about this ignorant man, she would want to pray for him! Sounds like we all need to!

  11. Nancy says:

    Your baby is beautiful and so is your message and affirmation of God’s gift of life.

  12. Richard Dawkins should stop playing God and stick to what he’s good at! Tina

  13. Lisa Johnstone-Davies says:

    Well done for representing the views of kindred parents so beautifully. Your daughter is beautiful and she will continue to bring endless love to all she meets. My son is 26 now, and his birth is one of the best things that has happened to me and my family. His siblings adore him and agree that their life is all the better for having him as their older brother.

  14. Bass says:

    As Richard Dawkins is an agnostic (or whatever) ,he should stop trying to play God.

  15. mandy t says:

    As the very proud and overly protective sister to an amazing Down’s brother, I commend you. Fighting ignorance and stupitity is a common occurerence. My brother is a true light in this world. His unconditional love makes everything right in the world. This man needs to meet a Down’s person. He will feel a compassion and love he has never know. Thank you for your words and enjoy your precious little girl.

  16. What gorgeous little girl and a beautiful, joy filled family you have!

  17. Michelle says:

    She is absolutely beautiful! x

  18. timsmitchell says:

    My 2 months old girl, Diana, has Down syndrome, and she has only been a total blessing to me, my family, my community, and the universe in general. I am thankful to God for her every single day. She will need open heart surgery this fall, but she will not suffer nor will we suffer. God is in control, and God will bless us with every moment that we can get with Diana.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

  19. Sherry says:

    Thank you for your comments, Gracie is beautiful and a blessing in her own right. Our son is almost 22 and he has taught many people what he can do and his abilities, not necessarily what he cannot do. My motto as an advocate for him, ignorance breeds intolerance, intolerance breeds fear. If people don’t have a clue what they are talking about, it is usually negative. It you look for negative, that is what you get, always look for the positive and you will receive it.

  20. Pam says:

    Thanks so much for your response to Richard Dawkins; it is a shame that in this day and age that such ignorance still exists. My son Mitch has Downs and he celebrated his 24th birthday today. He has never experienced “suffering” as Richard Dawkins must perceive it and neither has his family, friends, teachers, or any other person he has been associated with. Mitch has always been a blessing and continues to spread his infectious optimism to those who have been lucky enough to cross his path. Mitch just finished auditing 2 years of classes at Mid America Nazarene University in Olathe, KS and his teachers, mentors and friends had nothing but praise for Mitch. Richard Dawkins needs to take off his blinders and open his eyes, it is obvious that he is the one that is suffering.

  21. Cyndi says:

    I pray for you, your family and for all of those people whom you will touch through your special gift from God. I had a brother with DS who blessed our lives for 53 years. He was the most beautiful person I’ve ever known. He did not have a mean bone in his body and liked everyone he met. He was born in 1960 and my parents were told when Steven was 6 months of age, to put him in a home quickly before we kids got used to him. That he’d never read, write, walk or talk. Well, Steven achieved all that as well as teaching us the power of God’s love as it shone thru his eyes. We were all blessed to have Steven in our family.

  22. Melinda says:

    Abortion would not alleviate suffering…if fact I would say it would promote suffering. When a couple decide on an abortion, they have to suffer the idea for the rest of their lives that they ended a life.

  23. I think the suffering that happens is when a mom who did abort her child has to live the rest of her life seeing the joy of other children born with Down syndrome, and wondering what her child would have been like. The suffering of living with that regret every single day has got to be unbearable. I know women who’ve had abortions for other reasons, and they do suffer. Most were pressured into having one, and none of them feel like it was the right thing to do . All of them became pro-life afterward. So I can only imagine the ones who let their child with down syndrome go, live with seeing the beautiful lives of these children and it haunts them silently. Pray for them.

  24. Tammy brill says:

    I wrote a comment to your Richard Dawkins response. I am not very good at knowing how to work all this media stuff. I shared it on my page and I’m not sure if it went to you but you can look at it on my FB page. I think. Let me know if you can’t. Thanks you are amazing.

  25. Kathy Appleton says:

    Our youngest daughter has given us love and blessings to fill an ocean!!! She is my hero! She lights up all of our lives. Her siblings adore her. Her big sister became an obstetrician herself and has had many opportunities to share with new families of children with Down Syndrome the joy her sister is to our family and community. Her brother wrote one of his thesis papers on his sister and her impact on our family. He is almost a full fledged psychologist. Erin brings out the best in everyone who interacts with her.

  26. […] I am so excited to see that my most recent post, “Dear Richard Dawkins,” has had over 11,000 different people view it so far! That’s amazing because however […]

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