The slope has slipped … when infanticide is presented as a “reasoned” argument [Darleen Click]
The irony of a paper entitled After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? running in the Journal of Medical Ethics
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled. […]
In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasise 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. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. 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.
Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims. However, this consideration entails a much stronger idea than the one according to which severely handicapped children should be euthanised. If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet.
Do read the whole thing; a succinct example of the perfect monstrosity made capable by those devoted to “reason” and “rationality” fully untethered from any morality fit for human beings.
We’ve seen some of this argument before; specifically the odious scribblings of Pete Singer. This is the Eugenics’s idea that a “right to life” hinges solely on a narrow definition of personhood — and in whose hand lays the power of making that definition is conveniently left unstated. It’s “rationality” that speaks to the perfectibility of homo sapiens, culling not only the defectives but also the inconvenient, least they impinge on the aims of “actual persons.”
And, oh, not to forget the “cost to society”
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.
But what is even more striking than this chilling tract of retro-Nazi racial hygenics, is the hysterical spittle poured forth by the Journal’s editor, Julian Savulescu against the rabble who dared to criticize the article
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.
Just imagine what nice, neat, reasoned list Julian is making of people who quality for after-birth abortion, if only he was in a position of power … Lebensunwertes Leben
h/t The BlazeTags: abortion, eugenics, infanticide, journal of medical ethics, nazi, newborns