20/08/2014 12:59 BST | Updated 21/08/2014 12:59 BST

Richard Dawkins Sparks Twitter Debate Over Aborting Down Syndrome Fetuses

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Richard Dawkins Author and evolutionary biologist, poses for a portrait at the Oxford Literary Festival, in Christ Church, on March 24, 2010 in Oxford, England. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

Richard Dawkins’ brand of strident rationalism has won him many fans, but it can also lead to the occasional tone deaf comment on Twitter, with the academic’s latest offering a staunch defence of abortion if a fetus is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

When questioned if the same held true for a fetus with autism, Dawkins said people with autism can "contribute" and even offer "enhanced ability", however people with DS are "not enhanced".

Naturally with an issue as emotive as abortion, reaction was mixed with some welcoming the debate around such a taboo subject, while others suggested the professor should talk to parents of children with DS.