Why bioethicists believe it’s “morally irrelevant” that fetuses and newborn infants are “potential persons.”

These folks have jobs, y’all, where they teach doctors how to make life or death decisions. Comforting, isn’t it?

Via Wesley Smith at Secondhand Smoke, an abstract of a journal article printed in The Journal of Medical Ethics discussing “Afterbirth Abortion,” or in layman’s terms, infanticide:

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.


That anyone, let alone someone hiding behind the façade of “ethicist,” can suggest in a professional setting that (1) fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as you or me is deeply troubling for myriad reasons, least of all that it’s patently false. But to argue point (2)–even if you accepted the first invalid premise–requires a certain degree of willful ignorance: how can anyone argue that a newborn infant isn’t a person? It’s not a potential person. It’s a living, breathing, unique individual with needs, wants and desires. That a newborn cannot inform others of the needs, wants and desires isn’t unique to newborns. I just read pjKid a book about Helen Keller. She couldn’t communicate for years. Granted, to most “medical bioethicists,” that is sufficient for saying Helen Keller wasn’t capable of living life fully, therefore she should’ve been “aborted,” too. The final argument presented is one of sheer convenience: oh, bother. I shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. I shouldn’t have carried the baby. Why wrestle with the emotional haggle of giving the child up to someone who desperately wants a baby, dear me, I should legally have the right to just kill it. And my doctor agrees! I don’t like the kid’s kinky hair or dark brown eyes. Dammit, he looks like my mother-in-law. It cries too much! Ah, kill it! We’ll try again next time.

Smith comments:

So, if a woman has a mixed racial affair, she and her same race husband should be able to prevent gossip and embarrassment by killing the baby?  (I know of one such case, although the woman wasn’t married, she aborted simply because she didn’t want to have a mixed race child.)  Heck, if the baby’s life is worth so little, let’s harvest her organs and give them to those babies whose parents want them to live.

How unsettling to some that a few of us do want babies to live.

(What proof of Joe Klein’s opinion, no?)


Infanticide isn’t a crime, but littering is?

Infanticide by any other name: The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy

“The position that allows abortion also allows infanticide under some circumstances. . . . If we accept abortion, we do need to rethink some of those more fundamental attitudes about human life”

UPDATE: Linked by Pundette as a “Recommended Read.” Thanks!

17 Responses

  1. […] again, bioethicists argue for this very reason, no, that abortion should be available as an after-birth […]

  2. […] they truly don’t want “safe, legal and rare.” They want no-holds barred. They want to be able to murder children after birth to spare folks unnecessary anguish of adoption. They refuse to see the blood of millions on their […]

  3. I find myself strangely un-shocked by this bioethics opinion. Dude is like, yeah it’s a baby. We don’t care b/c it can’t defend itself so we’ll do what we want.

    Sadly, this brutal, evil honesty is refreshing compared to the completely irrational hairsplitting (not viable! fetus not baby! mass of cells not a fetus!) of the usual pro-abortion arguments.

    • I see your point. I’m not so much shocked by it anymore–Peter Singer never fails to amaze me–but I’m awed by it, I guess. The brazenness.

  4. […] Why bioethicists believe it’s “morally irrelevant” that fetuses and newborn infant… […]

  5. Disturbing. Why are bioethicists and why do we need them?

    • They’re there to teach doctors how to decide right from wrong. Oddly enough, they always seem to be on the wrong side of the discussion.

  6. I have been saying for some time now that there will be greater pushes for “post-natal abortion”, or as you put it, “after birth abortion”.

    The handwriting is on the wall for this. As states cut funding to Planned Parenthood, some legislators are trying to force funding and support. It’s almost as if they believe everyone has — not a “right” to an abortion — but a duty to abort.

    • It’s infanticide, John, no matter which way it’s described. I linked an earlier post, the last in the string. It’s a quote from Peter Singer, the famed bioethicist here in the US, who believes in “4th trimester” abortions after birth. Run the genetic tests and just tell folks their kids will be a burden to themselves and society at large. What’s striking to me about this attitude, is where does one draw a line (it can’t be done) with disease and propensity toward it? Cull all the little girls who possess one or both copies of the breast cancer gene? Alcoholism? Celiac disease? Heck, those folks can’t eat the staple that drives the world around. Too expensive to feed ’em. So just cull the undesirables.

      That’s what we’ve come to. Sex-selection abortions. Mixed-race abortions. Wrong eye color abortion.

      Evil personified.

    • John,

      I think I told you once before that many on the Left justify abortion with dreadful tales of overpopulation. I’ve literally read lefties on Spinny’s blog remark that abortion should remain legal if for no other reason than to stave off overpopulation.

      And then you have anti-lifers like Rosie O’Donnell’s producer, who once remarked that she had plans to take the child into the words, dig a hole, kill “it”, then bury “it” if she ever became pregnant and lost the “right” to abort.

      These people are certifiably insane. You know I’ve been all over the political map of late, but in all honestly, the left’s views on abortion are starting to “lead me home.”

      “A liberal, a conservative, and a moderate walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey, Mitt! What’s up?” Yeah. I’m the “Mitt” now. Ugh.

  7. This was the same basic premise that was used about that young woman in Canada that killed her newborn shortly after birth. She got very little jail time. The judge said since abortion was widely accepted in Canada that it wasn’t all that different. The problem is that he was born alive. When he started crying she strangled him with her undies. The judge also felt she shouldn’t have anymore jail time because other prisoners were calling her a baby killer!! Were they wrong? She killed her child, no?

    I do have sympathy for some women who find themselves pregnant and are scared for a variety of reasons that seem perfectly valid to them. I can see why abortion may seem like the best solution. The problem is that we look at babies as a “problem” instead of a human being. As an adoptive mom of one of the most beautiful little girls who has ever existed I am so grateful for that young girl who gave me that miracle. She was only 16 and he was 17. I cannot imagine my life without my Grace. So many families would love to have children and just can’t. They should think about that beforehand.

    • I linked the Canadian story. She was fined for littering. Surreal.

      As far as seeing babies as human, I’m all for it. It boggles me that they aren’t already. Or in this case, even as “potential” humans. What nonsense. We have many friends who have been blessed by adoption, and many more who wait wanting.

  8. Reblogged this on Sibboleth and commented:

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