Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments
In case anyone ever sneers at you for drawing a connection between abortion and infanticide, refer them to an article in which two Australian “ethicists” make the case that there’s nothing wrong with killing newborn babies:
Two ethicists working with Australian universities argue in the latest online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so too should be the termination of a newborn.
Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne write that in “circumstances occur[ing] after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”
Just don’t call it infanticide, okay? Because that makes us feel guilty about this Nazi crap we support.
The two are quick to note that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion“ as opposed to ”infanticide.” Why? Because it “[emphasizes] that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.”
Don’t call it euthanasia either because that might make the parents of the…entity feel guilty and they don’t need that. Nobody does.
The authors also do not agree with the term euthanasia for this practice as the best interest of the person who would be killed is not necessarily the primary reason his or her life is being terminated. In other words, it may be in the parents’ best interest to terminate the life, not the newborn’s.
Ya think? And we’re not just talking about putting down the handicapped either. As far as these two “people” are concerned, you can off your kid if you’d rather not take the financial hit just now.
The circumstances, the authors state, where after-birth abortion should be considered acceptable include instances where the newborn would be putting the well-being of the family at risk, even if it had the potential for an “acceptable” life. The authors cite Downs Syndrome as an example, stating that while the quality of life of individuals with Downs is often reported as happy, “such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”
This means a newborn whose family (or society) that could be socially, economically or psychologically burdened or damaged by the newborn should have the ability to seek out an after-birth abortion. They state that after-birth abortions are not preferable over early-term abortions of fetuses but should circumstances change with the family or the fetus in the womb, then they advocate that this option should be made available.
What about the fact that a newborn is, well, newly born? That it’s no longer connected to Mom? That it is no longer fed through an umbilical cord? Irrelevant, declare Professors Himmler and Mengele.
Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.
I hope you can follow the logic because I’ll be damned if I can. Literally. A newborn baby is, in fact, a human being. But because that human being can’t articulate why living is better than not living, it’s okay to kill that newborn.
Why not wait until our inarticulate newborn can tell us why being alive is preferable to the alternative? Because the humans who somehow managed not to die simply can’t wait that long. How are they supposed to buy a new Lexus or take European vacations every year if they’ve got a stupid kid to lose their money on?
The authors counter the argument that these “potential persons” have the right to reach that potential by stating it is “over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being because, as we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence.”
Surprised? Shocked? Horrified? I’m not any of those things since, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, the arc of the pro-abortion argument is long but it bends toward infanticide.
And I really don’t want to hear the “lighten up, Johnson, this is just a couple of academics sitting around speculating” sneer again. Much of the moral depravity that currently infects our world started out as a wild theory that “reasonable” people assured us couldn’t possibly happen, never mind be accepted, in real life.
UPDATE: Are you angry about this article? Do the views expressed in it sicken and disgust you? According to editor Julian Savulescu, you’re the one with the problem.
As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.
What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.
What the response to this article reveals, through the microscope of the web, is the deep disorder of the modern world. Not that people would give arguments in favour of infanticide, but the deep opposition that exists now to liberal values and fanatical opposition to any kind of reasoned engagement.