HELENA HANBASKITT

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized

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.

42 Comments to HELENA HANBASKITT

Smurf Breath
February 28, 2012

Chris, you’re being unfair. You seem to be implying that helpless, innocent life is being taken. But according to the authors:

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

This means a newborn whose family (or society) that could be socially, economically or psychologically burdened or damaged by the newborn

See? These are dangerous infants: they put the well being of the family at risk. They are causing damage to the family and to society. Hopefully this will mitigate your narrow minded views and appreciate the good to family and society that can result from this.
[/s]

Smurf Breath
February 28, 2012

Post birth abortion used to be an ironic quip meant to get pro-choicers to see what they were doing, but they’ve sunk beneath that level now. The horror caused by the holocaust only seems to have delayed secularism’s rush toward eugenics and “life unworthy of life”, rather than cured it of that view.

I also like the talk of “burden to society”. People are regulated and taxed to the point where they must rely on the State. And then the state can turn around and call you selfish if you don’t admit to its barbaric demands. The State giveth and the State taketh away.

Martial Artist
February 28, 2012

@Smurf Breath,

You write:

The State giveth and the State taketh away.

That should more likely be “The State giveth to enable the State to coerce obedience through the threat that The State will take away.”

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

francis
February 28, 2012

Martial Artist: I thought it was more a case of
“The State taketh away [from the goods of the people] in order that it may have thereby the means to take away [from the life, liberty and conscience of the people].

There is nothing that the State giveth that it hath not already taken away. At best, we are talking about a paltry return of that which has been involuntarily surrendered, a return which is carefully engineered so as to give the returner total control over the returnee.

Gregg the Obscure
February 28, 2012

Of course they don’t mind “post-birth abortion”. They already approve things that are worse. Early-term abortions are no less murderous, but then add layers of deception and lies about the humanity of the victim.

The Lakeland Two
February 28, 2012

My other half jokes that if abortion is allowed, it should be allowed until the kid is 21. It was a JOKE, people.

CJ’s First Law crossing over into mainstream…scary.

Grandpa Dino
February 28, 2012

Wow! The Kool-Aid is definitely getting stronger Down Under!

Katherine
February 28, 2012

The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics says infanticide equals “liberal values.” God preserve us from medical doctors trained in “ethics” like this.

Donald R. McClarey
February 28, 2012

Stand up for offing kids and some people get upset. Go figure.

Bill2
February 28, 2012

Sounds like Obama’s defense of the “No Child Born Alive” law in Illinois.

Peyton
February 28, 2012

Is “Australian Ethicist” now an oxymoron???

Dale Matson
February 28, 2012

It’s all just a matter of renaming something to make it palatable. Kind of like calling Draino a milk shake.

Barney
February 28, 2012

Hmmmm… Then we can justify off-ing these 2 yahoos. The are harmful to society and a danger to the family.

Dave
February 28, 2012

So… before I make the obvious comment about aborting a few “medical ethicists” I am reminded that these people cannot actually BE ethicists.

The study of ethics requires belief in an Ethos… A starting point. a foundational context which is based more on belief than on pure reason. Without this, the study of ethics is simply a wandering in the wilderness. But with it, one can build a coherent ethical structure which in turn is the basis for the development of a moral context which in turn informs our day to day conduct.
I feel sorry for the “ethicist” who has no (acknowledged) belief system. He’s trying to build a house without a foundation and he has no idea what horrors the (unacknowledged) belief system which actually informs his “ethical” pronouncements is leading him into.
The writer of Ecclesiates said it best. For most of the book he wanders the wilderness, looking for meaning in the physical and the intellectual. His conclusion is that “all is vanity”.
But finally, at the very end of the book, he solves the riddle of life’s meaning and (by the way) of the foundation upon which an ethical system can rest: “…the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of Man.”

Clown Celebrant
February 28, 2012

The National Catholic Register points out, astutely, that this argument is almost a gift because it so blatantly highlights the absurdity of the pro-abortionist agenda. I agree. It is classic reductio ad absurdum. We clowns thrive on the absurd, but this is beyond sick. There is nothing even remotely funny to be found in this story, unless, in the photo of this “ethicist,” it’s the difficulty one has distinguishing the difference between him and kangaroo feces.

Royal and Catholic
February 28, 2012

@Clown Celebrant: Agreed, it is not unlike the recent fuss over the Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial that said doctors should be able to refuse ultrasounds to their patients to prevent the killing of girls. All the pro-aborts got into a huff because it proposes limits on baby killing, but then they get stuck with also claiming that the child is not a child and so there can’t be a moral value on killing them.

To paraphrase from a Peter Kreeft talk on LOTR (particularly on the role that *Spoiler Alert* Gollum plays in the destruction of the Ring), evil defeats itself like a self-refuting proposition; there is no other proposition that can refute it, it collapses on its own.

Paula Loughlin
February 29, 2012

This sickens me but does not surprise me. I have tried to explain to pro abortion advocates that the same arguments advanced for abortion could easily be used to argue for infanticide and I was roundly condemned and told I was sprouting nonsense.

Oh if only that were so.

Paula Loughlin
February 29, 2012

d someone who does not exist (the ‘us’ whom
“A consequence of this position is that the interests of actual
people over-ride the interest of merely potential people to become actual ones. This does not mean that the interests of actual people always over-ride any right of future generations, as we should certainly consider the well-being of people who will inhabit the planet in the future.”

Did you catch this little genuflect to Gaia? Kill the babies for the planet.

Paula Loughlin
February 29, 2012

Second try.

“A consequence of this position is that the interests of actual people over-ride the interest of merely potential people to become actual ones. This does not mean that the interests of actual people always over-ride any right of future generations, as we should certainly consider the well-being of people who will inhabit the planet in the future.”

Did you catch this little genuflect to Gaia? Kill the babies for the planet.

Paula Loughlin
February 29, 2012

Chris, the editor’s whinging brought to mind this article. The subject was Global Warming but the author’s take on how Liberals handle being faced with criticism grounded in facts applies to this situation as well.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100139690/why-i-am-so-rude-to-warmists/

Allen Lewis
February 29, 2012

Hmmmm! These esteemed ethicists factor in the costs to society as a whole. Does this mean that if little Johnny does not do well in school that we can off him, based on the fact that taking care of his dumb self for the rest of his life will be an enormous burden to society?

With that argument in hand, we can win the War on Poverty by simply eliminating those who will not be productive citizens because they cannot perform well in school. That way, we do not need to hand out food stamps or child care to continue their sorry existence!

I wonder how many people would support that idea?

Think of the burden which will be removed from the planet as we have fewer people to use the resources available?

Of course, the reasoning used by these two great ehticists could be used on the other end of life to eliminate those who have lived “long enough” and are no longer entitled to utilize the Earth’s resources. We could call this procedure a “Before Death Abortion.”

That would mean that those between 18 and 65 would not have to pay into Social Security to support all these old geezers. Just think of the savings and the improvement of their quality of life if society does not have to take care of the selfish elderly who are using up more than their “fair share” of resources?

Of course, taken to the logical extreme, it means that I can off anyone I choose to if I determine that their life is not worth living.

Dumb asses!

Fuinseoig
February 29, 2012

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, Nellie! So we can “post-birth abort” already born babies on the grounds that they are not in possession of personhood, but we must look to the rights of entities which are not actually in existence as of now (and, if these people get their way, never will be in existence)?

I always thought that the language of abortion-rights would do away with personhood as an intrinsic possession of the human being, and reduce it to a legal status that is contingent on (fill in whatever condition is convenient at the time) and which can be both given and taken away by legislation.

We’ve done this already, by declaring certain persons to be chattel or ‘animate tools’ or property in the case of slavery (and not just on the grounds of ‘your skin has a different proportion of melanin to mine’; slavery thrived in the ancient world where people who looked Just Like You could be classed as things not persons). We’ve done it to babies in the womb; we’re doing it to the old, sick and disabled, and now it would seem we’re gearing up to do it to babies and infants once born.

Do these people never consider that they themselves might lose their personhood, should it ever become convenient to society? If we can define “not a person yet because not up to an arbitrary cognitive standard”, then we can define personhood by intelligence quotient, financial status, or academic achievement. If these ethicists, for example, were to fall into the lower half of the scale as graded by peer-reviewed research and adjudged not to have produced any work that advanced science, then why not strip them of personhood on the grounds that they were no longer functioning as fully-contributing human persons, and take away their assets, rights and liberty? What’s to stop any social advance in that direction, once personhood becomes something to be held at whim?

Michael Berry
February 29, 2012

It wold appear that the current occupant of the White House is on board with post-birth abortions: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/292204/obama-s-infanticide-votes-patrick-brennan

[...] tip:  MCJ  Posted by Jack at 7:27 am  Tagged with: Christianity, ethicist?, NU [...]

Therese Z
February 29, 2012

I can see the ship of abortion slowly swinging around to the “self-defense” justification, in time to meet the inevitable successful court challenge to the “right to privacy” justification that Roe V Wade was originally decided on.

Because this argument is that the parents of a disabled newborn should be able to protect themselves and their money and their families from this…..monster.

I can’t figure out why these same people don’t advocate death penalties. Oh wait, I know, those people “couldn’t help it,” it was their environment or the eeeeevil corporations. The newborn however is deemed completely guilty of being horrifying.

St. Gianna Molla, pray for us!

Jacob Morgan
February 29, 2012

Why post-abort them when they could be used for slaves? On that basis, if a race, scientifically, statistically, on average, is below another in IQ, why on earth should they not be enslaved? Where were these guys in the early to mid-1800′s when ammunition was needed to fire back on religious fanatics like H. Stowe and Wm Wilburforce?

On a more serious note, why not just offer the unwanted ones for adoption? What is it about humanists, who want to save humanity, that makes them start off by murdering as many people as they can?

And where is the media coverage of this? What if some fringe religious group came with something equally bizarre? It would be in the head lines. Journalists, now there is a group whose collective demise really would benefit humanity.

Bill2
February 29, 2012

Weren’t the Jews considered to be a drag on society at some point and subject to about 6-7 million after-birth abortions? Seems like I read that somewhere…

Michael+
February 29, 2012

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. In a culture that worships uninhibited moral relativism, this is the result. The doctrine of the convenient or useful becomes the operative way of looking at the value of anything or anyone. There is no intrinsic value to a person or thing, and let’s not even consider that there might be a “soul” or anything like that at work.

It’s a Brave New World out there, but the good news is that there are plenty of seats available on the new Space Ark being built by the Network of Overwrought Anglican Homebodies. It’s only a matter of time, folks.

Fr. Michael+

Daniel Muller
February 29, 2012

More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.

Liberals have … abandoned liberalism.”

Allen Lewis
February 29, 2012

@Jacob Morgan –
On a more serious note, why not just offer the unwanted ones for adoption? What is it about humanists, who want to save humanity, that makes them start off by murdering as many people as they can?

From what I gathered, the continued existence of the adopted children would cause “harm” to the birth mother. She might want them back. So better to kill them off and have her grief be real, eh?

I had not realized that Ethics had sunk to such a depressingly low level. But, then again, I tend to get my ethical news from decidedly Christian writers such as St Paul, St James, etc. I am not really up on the “modern” movement in the field.

Michael D
February 29, 2012

Yes, Clown, this is a “gift” for those who debate against abortion based on a slippery slope. But it seems to me that logic has little traction with most liberals, so the gift is a bit of a Nerf gun – satisfying to shoot but of little value as a defensive weapon.

I realize now that the appalling acceptance of “partial-birth abortion” was not a destination but rather a step en-route to “after-birth abortion.”

Unfortunately history and anthropology offer references to many societies where infanticide was sanctioned (India is arguably a continuing example). Ancient records show that Christians have stood against abortion and infanticide from the very beginning, so I assume that is why Western society has made infanticide (and until recently abortion) illegal. With the widespread replacement of the Bible as the moral foundation, with “my personal sense of justice” as the moral foundation, I don’t have great hope that “after birth abortion” will be rejected for long. Sorry to be pessimistic this morning. We need Jesus back .

Robb
February 29, 2012

Somewhere in Hell Ba’al is laughing.

chris (not our esteemed host, or the other chris who posts here)
February 29, 2012

Quoth Barney: “Hmmmm… Then we can justify off-ing these 2 yahoos. The are harmful to society and a danger to the family.”

This reminds me of a short story by GK Chesterton, called “When Doctors Agree.” i believe it’s in the book “The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond.” The story’s plot contains the same kind of reasoning, applied to a different situation.

Bill2
February 29, 2012

I’m sure Katie Rags is writing a “post-birth abortion is a blessing” sermon as we speak.

Ed the Roman
February 29, 2012

“I can see the ship of abortion slowly swinging around to the “self-defense” justification…”

Been done several years back, by liberal Jews citing Talmud: “If someone comes to kill thee, rise up and kill him first.”

Lee Penn
February 29, 2012

This new article is hideous, but these ideas have been in circulation for a long time. In 1972, philosopher (?) Michael Tooley published an article in a philosophy journal claiming that fetuses and newborn infants do not have the right to life … but that certain animals do. Tooley still holds these positions 40 years later. (Google “Michael Tooley” and abortion and infanticide, and see what comes up.)

If the current article is a sign of terminal moral decay, the same sign was flashing in 1972, before Roe v. Wade.

Lee

Smurf Breath
February 29, 2012

@Lee, so Peter Singer is not even an original pervert? He’s a plagiaristic pervert?

Lee Penn
February 29, 2012

Smurf, I think – but am not certain – that Singer and Tooley were contemporaries. Tooley published his essay in 1972; Wikipedia shows that Singer was already publishing in the 1973-1979 period.

Lee

Gabriel Austin
February 29, 2012

I believe it was the eminent Australian [sic] ethicist who correctly pointed out that aborting a “fetus” as against killing a child was a mere matter of dates.

Steve
February 29, 2012

Jonathan Swift and his Modest Proposal…was centuries ahead of his time

Truth Unites... and Divides
March 1, 2012

Journal Editor: “Not that people would give arguments in favour of infanticide, but the deep opposition that exists now to liberal values

I’d fellowship, to some degree or another, any one who has a “deep opposition” to liberal values.

Jay Random
March 1, 2012

The thing to remember is that an Ethicist is not a student of ethics. An Ethicist is a professional academic who gets preferment and promotion by publishing original research. Since there is nothing original and truthful to be said about the moral law, an Ethicist must make a living by telling original lies.

In short, this is ‘dog bites man’ . . . but the dog (or rather, his academic standing) still needs to be put down. Society desperately needs people to teach ethics; it desperately needs NOT to have people to invent ethics. This is but one of many ways in which the publish-or-perish model of academia is broken beyond repair.

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