‘After-birth abortion’ is logically sound: that’s why it will boost the pro-life movement
[And if the line in the sand is moved from 24 weeks in utero to at birth, what’s to say it won’t be moved to 1 month after birth, 2 months, even two years as some nutter suggested? I couldn’t help but post the entire article. It’s just too good. And it’s short anyway.]
by Will Heaven
A paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics, entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?“, argues that killing a newborn baby should be “permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”. (Hat-tip: Catholic Herald.)
The authors of this paper, Alberto Giubilini of the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva of Melbourne University, argue that “both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons”. Secondly, they say that “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant”. Thirdly, they write that “adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people”.
In summary – and it really is this brutal – newborn babies are not actual people, ergo killing them is not immoral.
Now Julian Savulescu, the Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, is complaining that the authors – both leading ethicists – have received “personally abusive correspondence”, most of which is anonymous, “threatening their lives and personal safety”.
Which doesn’t surprise me, not that I approve of such harassment. You can’t be unashamedly pro killing babies and not expect controversy.
But what interests me is how this paper might lead to support for the pro-life movement. As Matthew Archbold points out on the National Catholic Register, the ethicists’ arguments are actually sound: if we accept their ideas on personhood, there is no ethical reason to stop carrying out abortions at the arbitrary point of birth.
Archbold writes from a Catholic perspective:
The second we allow ourselves to become the arbiters of who is human and who isn’t, this is the calamitous yet inevitable end. Once you say all human life is not sacred, the rest is just drawing random lines in the sand.
An ethicist’s job is like a magician’s. The main job of both is to distract you from the obvious. The magician uses sleight of hand to pretend to make people disappear. But when ethicists do it, people disappear for real.
It’s almost a pro-life argument in that it highlights the absurdity of the pro-abortion argument.
Isn’t he right?
In the UK, in most cases, it is only legal to have an abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy (provided certain criteria are met). But that time limit is nothing more than a line drawn in the sand – a compromise between pro-lifers and their pro-choice opponents. It’s a moral fudge simply because we can’t agree on when a human being becomes a human being.
That’s why these ethicists have successfully taken the pro-abortion argument to its logical extreme, by drawing their line in the sand after birth. The only totally logical response I can think of – and that can’t include the 24-week fudge – is to be altogether anti-abortion. To agree with Rick Santorum, in other words.