Another unprincipled exception bites the dust

Two Australian ethicists have declared their support for literal, unquestionable infanticide (h/t to Thinking Housewife):

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 to 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.”

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.” 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 newborns.

I’m pleased to see that the left has, in fact, come around to the right’s argument that the grim logic of the abortionistas can just as easily legitimize postnatal infanticide as prenatal infanticide. I am obviously displeased that this acknowledgment has taken the form it has.

The exception of children outside the birth canal from abortion-logic was always unprincipled, and its abandonment now is not a deviation from liberalism but a fulfillment of it. “My body, my choice,” if taken as a moral imperative, doesn’t cease to be imperative ten seconds after delivery. After all, the newborn child is still dependent on its mother; dependency doesn’t cease the moment the baby slides squalling into the world. It still represents a constraint on her will and a drain on time and resources she might prefer to spend otherwise. It still represents an obligation, a duty, something transcendent that binds her and makes her unfree, and this liberalism cannot ever permit.

Has the work of a Christian ever been so difficult? Has any society ever merited so much punishment? Woe to this graveyard of a civilization.

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50 thoughts on “Another unprincipled exception bites the dust

  1. I have a little scenario I propose to those who take the my body, my choice position. Imagine you are Under these circumstances would you force the remaining woman to nurse a child that is not her own, even if she didn’t want to? She is the only person there that can save the baby’s life. It makes for some interesting silences.

      • Sorry, Imagine that there is in a plane crash days away from help. Two nursing mothers, two babies. One mother dies, leaving an infant behind. One baby dies, leaving a grieving mother who refuses to nurse an infant that is not her own. She is the only hope to save the orphan infant. Would you force her to nurture the infant who will otherwise die without her. Does my body, my choice apply as a valid ethical position?

  2. Sorry, I seem to have lost part of the post. imagine you are in a plane crash, days away from help. If one mother dies, and one baby.

  3. I’m pleased to see that the left has, in fact, come around to the right’s argument that the grim logic of the abortionistas can just as easily legitimize postnatal infanticide as prenatal infanticide. I am obviously displeased that this acknowledgment has taken the form it has.

    Yes!

    I have heard Peter Kreeft speak about a class discussion with some pro-murder, feminist university students who afterwards came to him to explain that they were convinced that infanticide follows from the abortion logic. Rather than abandoning their views they became infanticide supporters. Sadly, in these most horrible times, you really do have to worry about arguing people into complete acceptance of murder.

  4. The more unprincipled exceptions they rule out, the better. They are performing the reductio ad absurdam on their own doctrines. Only the most bloody-minded of them will persist in their absurdity.

      • These heartless liberals reminded me of something. My daughter just finished reading to me the new translation of Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” an evil witch who traps innocents who have been beguiled with the beautiful sterility (and lie) of pure reason, by way of a shattered evil mirror created by the devil. The girls in your post must have very large slivers lodged in their hearts and eyes.

        Going on my salesman’s training that most people use their heads to justify their appetite, and seeing just how aggressive liberalism and leftism continues to be, and knowing that some pre-Christian societies practiced infanticide, I’d say Kristor is being optomistic on this one. From our own observations over the last 50 years, we see that absurdity doesn’t slow them down one bit. It seems in deed that the blood they draw only increases their madness. [insert Lady MacBeth reference here.]

  5. Although the article (http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/02/22/medethics-2011-100411.full) begins by discussing marginal cases, such as infants with severe birth defects, this is a quickly abandoned pretense by the time the core arguments of the article are presented. Most startling is the following core claim: “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.” Excerpting the section in full:

    “The newborn and the fetus are morally equivalent”
    “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.
    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. This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.
    Our point here is that, although it is hard to exactly determine when a subject starts or ceases to be a ‘person’, a necessary condition for a subject to have a right to X is that she is harmed by a decision to deprive her of X. There are many ways in which an individual can be harmed, and not all of them require that she values or is even aware of what she is deprived of. A person might be ‘harmed’ when someone steals from her the winning lottery ticket even if she will never find out that her ticket was the winning one. Or a person might be ‘harmed’ if something were done to her at the stage of fetus which affects for the worse her quality of life as a person (eg, her mother took drugs during pregnancy), even if she is not aware of it. However, in such cases we are talking about a person who is at least in the condition to value the different situation she would have found herself in if she had not been harmed. And such a condition depends on the level of her mental development, which in turn determines whether or not she is a ‘person’.
    Those who are only capable of experiencing pain and pleasure (like perhaps fetuses and certainly newborns) have a right not to be inflicted pain. If, in addition to experiencing pain and pleasure, an individual is capable of making any aims (like actual human and non-human persons), she is harmed if she is prevented from accomplishing her aims by being killed. Now, hardly can a newborn be said to have aims, as the future we imagine for it is merely a projection of our minds on its potential lives. It might start having expectations and develop a minimum level of self-awareness at a very early stage, but not in the first days or few weeks after birth. On the other hand, not only aims but also well-developed plans are concepts that certainly apply to those people (parents, siblings, society) who could be negatively or positively affected by the birth of that child. Therefore, the rights and interests of the actual people involved should represent the prevailing consideration in a decision about abortion and after-birth abortion.
    It is true that a particular moral status can be attached to a non-person by virtue of the value an actual person (eg, the mother) attributes to it. However, this ‘subjective’ account of the moral status of a newborn does not debunk our previous argument. Let us imagine that a woman is pregnant with two identical twins who are affected by genetic disorders. In order to cure one of the embryos the woman is given the option to use the other twin to develop a therapy. If she agrees, she attributes to the first embryo the status of ‘future child’ and to the other one the status of a mere means to cure the ‘future child’. However, the different moral status does not spring from the fact that the first one is a ‘person’ and the other is not, which would be nonsense, given that they are identical. Rather, the different moral statuses only depends on the particular value the woman projects on them. However, such a projection is exactly what does not occur when a newborn becomes a burden to its family.”

    The logic is, of course, wholly utilitarian and largely specious. Why should the stated definition of ‘person’ above be taken as authoritative? Who decides and who imposes? It is perfectly clear that the wishes of the mother of such a ‘non-person’ are to be overridden, as these are merely ‘subjective’. What is most astonishing is the universality of the claim: not that some newborns are ‘non-persons’, but that all newborns are ‘non-persons’. Within the constraint of the logic given, how can one offer principled objection to any imposition of ‘non-life’ on ‘non-persons’? Put more pointedly, if a ‘person’, in an act of savagery, were to ‘dispose of’ all the ‘non-persons’ in a maternity ward, would he not have engaged in a ‘victimless non-crime’? Would he be, in fact, less culpable than if he had drowned a cat? The usual meta-problem also applies: all the considerations posed lie wholly outside the horizon of the Transcendent, yes presuppose ‘reasons’, ‘rights’, ‘conditions’ and the rest, none of which inhere in a nihilist worldview, cut off from the Transcendent, in which the very concept of ‘personhood’ for anyone – including the paper’s authors – is rendered absurd.

    • “The usual meta-problem also applies: all the considerations posed lie wholly outside the horizon of the Transcendent, yes presuppose ‘reasons’, ‘rights’, ‘conditions’ and the rest, none of which inhere in a nihilist worldview, cut off from the Transcendent, in which the very concept of ‘personhood’ for anyone – including the paper’s authors – is rendered absurd.”

      This reminds me of something I meant to post about months ago on C:TB but never got around to and, subsequently, forgot about completely.

      Leftists like to imagine that the murder of abortionists proves that pro-lifers (at least the pro-lifers responsible) aren’t really pro-life. But the converse is also true: it proves that there is, in fact, something like a right to life, and that the denial of it is a worthy object of rage. For surely the leftists aren’t angry about the murder of abortionists simply because pro-lifers are hypocrites? In the laundry list of things to be angry about in such situations, hypocrisy is surely near the bottom!

      • Proph, is it nihilist? Their statement is, “if it has a will, it has a right to satisfy that will, as anything that impedes it is harmful; if it doesn’t have this will, then it has no right to life.” Which makes me think, what if my “will” or mental development is stronger than others? Is this a binary choice? It doesn’t seem so, from the “mental process” argument they advocate. Therefore, if I am smarter, or have a stronger understanding of my “will”, my rights are above those not so fortnunate, right? Eugenics, anyone?

      • In his defense of the published article, the Journal editor mentioned that similar ideas are found in the writings of the Australian ‘philosopher’ Peter Singer. As you may know, Singer is an obsessive animal-rights advocate, though he is just as passionate about abortion rights. As CS Lewis has noted in his great essay on animal rights, moderns get the whole hierarchy upside down, for in their view animals are all-important, followed distantly by humans, with God in third place. And all of this Paul prophesied in Romans:

        “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.”

      • The ‘Great Chain of Being’ inverted! Perhaps it’s a case of civilizational dyslexia? An entire culture confusing “dog” with “God”? Another manifestation of “spiritual autism”?

    • The quoted passage does an amazingly bad job of explaining what a person is. Evidently newborns and fetuses don’t have “aims,” and entities without aims can’t be people. But newborns sure look to me like they aim to obtain milk and changed diapers. Recall that babies in those hideous Romanian orphanages do not cry. Because crying does not cause them to be fed or changed. This sure looks like evidence of aims. Similarly, fetuses aim to avoid light hitting their eyes when people try to film them in utero. So, WTF are they even talking about?

      The sheer arbitrariness of their definition of personhood should be worrisome. Why, indeed, should we accept it? Other definitions might be even more convenient. Why shouldn’t old people be re-defined as non-persons because all people are productive? Or because all people smell good?

      • More than that, their view is incoherent. The child’s body, as an organized, self-directed cooperative unity, has aims of it own, to which things like obtaining milk are only a means–specifically, self-directed growth and development that are, in essence, the principle “aims” of any living body. And since their account dismisses the notion that any of us might have souls–literally, we are our bodies–then their distinction between the body’s desire to grow and protect itself from disease on the one hand, and the action of neurochemicals to produce an *awareness* of the body’s will to live on the other, is entirely arbitrary.

    • Presumably it is morally neutral to kill people in their sleep, since they lack self-awareness and don’t (necessarily) know they are being harmed.

  6. Replying to widespread furious criticism, the editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics wrote: “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, etc.” Spelling this out a bit, evidently an argument’s being old is one of the criteria for validity. Who knew? Laura Wood issues the standard reply of reductio ad absurdum: aren’t the arguments for slavery and Jewish genocide very ancient also? Yes they are, but neither argument would ever appear in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Why not? Because both are extremely politically incorrect. The editor admits that transcendental logic is not his guiding standard for publication of papers on ethics, but only the question of whether a given argument is current or popular. So this is ethics by democracy, with a vengeance.

  7. This, to my eyes, is the heart of their argument:

    Rather, the different moral statuses only depends on the particular value the woman projects on them. However, such a projection is exactly what does not occur when a newborn becomes a burden to its family.

    It explains, for example, why they would be outraged if someone did carry out a slaughter in the maternity ward. You see, those mothers wanted those children, and that’s the only thing that confers value on the infants.

    Sadly, it doesn’t seem to matter that there are others — including, of course, the readers of this website — who do cherish those infants and don’t want to see them killed. The mother apparently has a property claim which overrides anyone else’s concerns.

    By the way, notice the subtle semantic trick being played with the last word of the passage I’ve extracted from Peter’s longer quotation. It’s only the mother who has the “right to choose” but here it’s being presented as if it were a family decision.

    *

    It’s a slippery-slope argument, I know, but I don’t see anything in this “logic” that couldn’t also be used to justify the murder of the elderly when caring for them becomes too burdensome. I’ve already noticed a groundswell of animosity from the younger generation toward my own generation of boomers, and I often wonder whether this is something that is being engineered in order to prepare the way for euthanasia.

    (Not that we boomers have any more sense of filial loyalty and duty! We were conditioned early on to distrust and dislike the generation that came before us.)

    • Re: CorkyAgain,

      Unless I am mistaken, I believe that your interpretation differs quite crucially from that of the paper’s authors. My reading of the section I excerpted is that, as summarized in a key passage: “It is true that a particular moral status can be attached to a non-person by virtue of the value an actual person (eg, the mother) attributes to it. However, this ‘subjective’ account of the moral status of a newborn does not debunk our previous argument.” The ‘previous argument’ being that “the moral status of an infant is [such that it lacks] those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.” In other words, the newborn or infant has no moral right to life, regardless of the ‘subjective’ value attached to it by the mother. Now, does the ‘subjective’ value attached to it by the mother override the ‘subjective’ non-value attached to it by others, whether a baby-killer or Dutch medical personnel? Nothing in the argument insists upon this.

      • I understood that passage to mean that there cannot be any other grounds for attributing value to the fetus/infant.

        That is, I read the ‘previous argument’ as saying that objectively speaking the “non-person” fetus/infant has no intrinsic right to life.

        Which means there are no grounds for overruling the decision of the mother (or of the “experts” you mention.)

        I agree that the article itself doesn’t touch on this, but the fact is, most pro-abortionists insist on the woman’s “right to choose.” And they vigorously defend that right, even against the wishes of the fathers.

        It’s interesting, however, that they would countenance a role for the medical “experts” — which will doubtless come into play when the woman makes the “wrong choice” and “burdens” the society at large with her offspring.

      • Re: CorkyAgain,

        Does this follow? How does the ‘subjective’ value override the ‘objective’ non-right?

      • It doesn’t “override” it. It’s just that it’s the only reason left standing.

        Again, my point is that the mother’s subjective evaluation is — as a result of their argument — the only grounds for seeing the non-person fetus/infant as something that should be allowed to live. Or, when it comes down to it, as something to be disposed of.

        Their argument, as I see it, is that there are no objective grounds for deciding one way or the other.

      • What they seem to be saying is that the baby is objectively ontologically worthless — that subjective valuations are all that can meaningfully be attached to it, and these must necessarily be arbitrary. A mother can decide she wants to keep her baby, but this decision can never be rooted in an objective ontological valuation of the child.

  8. Read this following post carefully – the argument is *not* one of the standard positions adopted on this topic!

    I do *not* believe there is a ‘Natural Law’ argument against abortion and infanticide nor against euthanasia, since the practices of abandonment and even purposive killing of newborns seem to be common – maybe universal – in hunter gatherer societies as well as many others (including the Roman Empire into which Christianity grew)

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/12/purposive-killing-infanticide-and.html

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2011/03/active-killing-versus-letting-die.html

    Prohibition of abortion and abandonment/ infanticide is a distinctive (albeit not unique) *Christian revelation* – indeed (according to Rodney Stark) this difference seems to have helped in the rapid demographic growth of early Christians.

    THEREFORE I do not see much possibility of a rational argument between Christians and Non-Christians/ Atheists on this topic – considered in detachment from the truth of Christianity itself.

    To slow, prevent and stop the expansion of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and all the rest – therefore requires a major Christian revival.

    And Christianity must come *first*; absent which these things will continue to expand; because the ‘morality’ of a non-Christian society simply does not perceive them to be wicked in and of themselves; nor will *non*-Christians spontaneously be revolted by them (since they are not spontaneously prohibited by instinct).

    • This needs to be broadened somewhat, as the prohibition of infanticide is to be found in a number of religious civilizations, in certain instances more explicitly and authoritatively than in Christianity itself. The Koran, for instance, offers a case in point:

      “Losers are they who slay their children in folly, without knowledge, and have forbidden what God has provided them, forging against God; they have gone astray, and are not right-guided.” [Koran 6:142, tr. Arberry]

      “And slay not your children for fear of poverty; We will provide for you and them; surely the slaying of them is a grievous sin.” [Koran 17:33, tr. Arberry]

      “…when the buried infant shall be asked for what sin she was slain, when the scrolls shall be unrolled, when heaven shall be stripped off; when Hell shall be set blazing, when Paradise shall be brought nigh, then shall a soul know what it has produced.” [Koran 81:9-14, tr. Arberry]

      More generally, also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide; http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/medical/infanticide_1.shtml

    • And Christianity must come *first*;

      Why? That ain’t how it worked historically. Christianity came after the conversion of Constantine the Great, for example. And he started remodeling the empire on Christian grounds right away.

      • My point stands: principled (not expedient) prohibition of infanticide is apparently a product of divine revelation – not an inbuilt aspect of spontaneous human morality.

        In this respect infanticide is different from murder – it *feels* different to the perpetrators, which is why it has been so prevalent through most of history in most places.

    • Natural law refers to cosmic order that pertains to human and that can be perceived by human intellect and reasoned through.

      It is irrelevant whether deviations are found in practice-that would be consequence of Original Sin.
      The word “Natural” is misleading since we have been conditioned by modern biology to interpret this “Natural” as “what is found in Nature”

      But this term originally from medieval philosophy means “According to nature”

      And what is “nature” esp “human nature”?.
      Human nature is rational animal, monogamous, non-thieving etc. .

      • @Bill – I am assuming as correct Rodney Stark’s account of the growth of Christianity – which has Constantine going with the flow of a religion that had for many generations been growing very rapidly (doubling in numbers about every 15 years, if I recall correctly) especially among the Roman elites.

        (Stark also showed a very similar trajectory of exponential growth doubling every c15 years among Mormons since 1830 – and for similar reasons – larger families.)

    • You make a very important point, I think, with which I perhaps agree, although I do like to distinguish.

      I disagree inasmuch as I think one likely can make a natural law argument against abortion / infanticide, meaning that one could by reason offer arguments as to why they are wrong _and_ why they are wrong even without divine positive law forbidding them.

      I agree, however, inasmuch as I think that, these “arguments” will (probably) have little to no traction upon those whose intellects and wills have not been reformed by grace, and whose habits have not been formed by Christian culture. Sin blinds man, and will make him not wish to see even that which he partially sees.

      Thus, because an argument can be made, objectively, for something, does not mean that this argument will in fact be useful. Nature cries out, as Augustine said, that it is created; but nevertheless we find atheists who do not see it so crying.

      The natural law argument would nevertheless be important as part of our understanding of the human person, proceeding in the light of divine revelation. But for apologetic, or at the very least political purposes, I am much more dubious of its value. And thus I would agree that to “slow, prevent and stop the expansion of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and all the rest… requires a major Christian revival.”

  9. Obviously the threat to the moral principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition exists not only in America but also in Australia.

    Catholic Insight: In a meeting with various U.S. Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI said that the consensus which once existed in America supporting “ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God,” has faded. “Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such,” he said.

  10. What’s happening is moral madness.

    The best hope against it is ultrasound plus natural human sympathy, supplemented by the same common-sense arguments that are already being made. The more people see the babies, the more sentiment turns against killing them, and the more sentiment turns against abortion, the less that morally mad theoreticians are able to build consent for further horrors upon abortion’s evil but wilting precedent.

    • Daybreaker,
      To what extent this also may be caused by the existence of urban areas with no families, mostly single people or couples without kids? (e.g. NYC and London) People in those areas look at kids like an alien concept: a pet that you actually have to educate and have to take care of until you die. They last more than 10 years. As long as the victim remains anonymous, the issue of infanticide is at most worthwhile a 20 second comment while sipping a martini. Thus, kids have no voice, but perverts do.

  11. In his defense of the published article, the Journal editor mentioned that similar ideas are found in the writings of the Australian ‘philosopher’ Peter Singer….

    Replying to widespread furious criticism, the editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics wrote: “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, etc.”

    It is not a defense of a morally depraved idea to mention that other people have repeatedly presented similarly morally depraved ideas.

      • JP – Please note that in the two quotations of my words that you’ve provided, you have left out what I went on to say, which shows how I’m in complete agreement with your response. Didn’t my scare quotes around the word “philosopher” in front of Peter Singer signal to you that I hold him in contempt? I also mentioned that it’s easy to reduce to absurdity the claim that an argument’s being popular entails its being true. And in the original link at the top from the Thinking Housewife, Laura Wood points out that both plans for slavery and for Jewish genocide are ancient and popular, but you don’t see arguments for either of those popping up in leftist journals like the one under discussion.

  12. Notice the underlying assumptions here about what values constitute a neutral ground that people should be operating from:

    http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/

    One moment with the fake neutrality:
    “the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises.”
    “The Journal does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument. Moreover, it supports freedom of ethical expression.”

    And then with the liberal values:
    “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”
    “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.”

    Somehow I don’t think the writer spares a moment to worry about the deep opposition to conservative values.

  13. Ralph: “To what extent this also may be caused by the existence of urban areas with no families…”

    I don’t know.

    I’ve seen the phenomenon you refer to, and been startled by the replies I got when I gently challenged people. (“Look at that empty playground. Have you thought about how few children we’ve seen, walking though the neighborhood at this hour. Don’t you find that strange?”)

    So it must have some weight.

    But it’s hard to think it has a great weight. In nature, if the population thinned out like this, then you would get an unhealthy culture for a while, but naturally the reduced population density would open up opportunities with healthier attitudes to reproduce mightily, and their children would right the cultural ship.

    I think the killer combination is chronic mass immigration, so that we get more displaced as time goes on and we never get our natural recovery, plus another “crowding out” in the mass media, so that even in areas where the fertile segments of the native population are inheriting the future from the sterile and perverse, they still don’t have much say in the construction of public culture.

  14. In the link that Erik posted (http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/) the editor says that opposition to the article constitutes a threat to freedom.

    Some of the comments the editor cites merely described the article as evil. Others, however, did contain veiled threats against the article’s authors.

    I think that the death threats are unconscionable. But I fail to see how they can be unconscionable *from the editor’s point of view.* After all, why is it acceptable to advocate violence in one context (infanticide) but not in others (threats against people who practice or advocate infanticide)?

  15. Also, what’s especially disturbing about the original article is that, unlike Peter Singer, the authors do not advocate infanticide only for the purpose of ending the infant’s suffering. Rather, they argue that it should also be allowed for children that the parents simply do not want:

    “Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.”

    Their argument seems strange because, for every healthy infant born, there are probably at least 10 infertile couples clamoring to adopt it (which is why even Singer doesn’t sanction the murder of healthy babies). Moreover, a major pro-choice goal is “liberating” women from the burdens of pregnancy and childbirth–which is why they don’t think pregnant women should have to carry the fetus to term and then adopt it out. But if the child has already been born, why kill it *then*?

    The only possible answer is that they don’t just want to free women from pregnancy. They want to free them from motherhood itself. Even a woman who finds adoptive parents for her child is still a mother in some sense–a “birth mother,” to whom the child will always have a connection. Even this level of responsibility is apparently untenable.

  16. This is a font of horrors. Glancing through the paper some more:

    “But, in fact, people with Down’s syndrome, as well as people affected by many other severe disabilities, are often reported to be happy.
    Nonetheless, to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

    Coming up next on the slippery slope: “Your children would be a burden on society, we can’t let you reproduce.” Identify and sterilize the undesirable classes.

  17. This is still an intermediary stage. The argument is that the particular individual is an inconvenience to another individual whose claims are prior. But the next step is to argue that society is prior to any particular individual and that it is up to society to determine which individuals it finds inconvenient – no, this is not a reductio ad absurdum.

    Yes, I get compared to Hitler, and my simple response is that if what Hitler had said about the Jews had been true the Holocaust would have been entirely appropriate. IF the Jews had been inconvenient THEN their removal would have been appropriate. If the distinction between a fetus and an infant is arbitrary then so is the distinction between and infant and a child or a child and an adult. Logically, then, the distinction between fetus and adult is just as arbitrary.

    It never ceases to amuse me how easy it is to blow the minds of really smart people who bend all their intellect to advancing premises they refuse to analyze. Good times.

  18. Pingback: Another rare moment of honesty | The Orthosphere

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