April 12, 2013 | 163 comments
February 4, 2013 | 68 comments
January 23, 2013 | 69 comments
January 22, 2013 | 30 comments
January 17, 2013 | 68 comments
The anti-life crowd gives new life to arguments for infanticide.
While political liberals are busy advancing the fiction of a conservative “war on contraception,” their counterparts in academia are promoting a lie at the opposite end of the reproductive continuum. The anti-life crowd is giving new life to arguments for infanticide.
In a much-discussed recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva take the “pro-choice” argument to its logical and loathsome end. They argue that “when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”
They propose to call the practice “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to stress their belief that the moral status of a newborn baby is no different from that of an unborn baby.
While other anti-life extremists limit their support for infanticide to those deemed genetically “unfit,” Giubilini and Minerva argue that the practice might be acceptable even in “cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”
Risks to the well-being of the family include the “unbearable burden that a child can create for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing children, regardless of the condition of the fetus.”
While the authors allow that both the unborn child and the newborn are “human beings,” they insist that neither has a right to life because they are “potential persons” not “persons.” “Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life,” they assert.
Predictably, the article has generated a lot of criticism. A Conservative congressman denounced it on the House floor, and both the authors and the journal have received demands for apologies and death threats.
Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be upset. Many abortion-rights supporters claim that something magical happens at the moment a baby passes through the birth canal. But the authors start from a premise that pro-lifers have long maintained: that there is no difference between the moral status of an unborn child and that of a newborn child.
The article leaves many questions unanswered. For one, if infanticide were legalized, would the law stipulate how infants could be killed? If infants are no different than unborn babies, can they also be aborted “after birth” in the same gruesome way, torn limb from limb without anesthesia? If not, why not?
Also, if newborns may be killed, why not two-year-olds, who also can have a substantial effect on the “well-being of a family.” What about teenagers? What if grandpa becomes an unbearable burden? Can a family euthanize him and call it a 240th trimester abortion?
According to the authors, a rights-bearing person is “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.” The authors claim that babies develop this self-awareness sometime “in the first days or few weeks after birth.”
But research and experience demonstrate that human beings have desires, needs and personalities that emerge well before they are born. Many mothers can attest to the reaction of their child in the womb to music, voices and other stimuli.
Yet, according to the authors, “the fetus and the newborn are potential persons” whose interest “amounts to zero.”
Arguments for infanticide are not new. In fact, the logic behind them has been embraced at the highest levels of government. As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as “persons” babies who survive late-term abortions.
Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother’s wombs are “persons,” and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?