From Abortion to Infanticide
I recently read a startling article from the Journal of Medical Ethics published on February 23, 2012. In After-birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live? Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argue that it is morally acceptable (and in some cases preferable) to kill a newborn because newborns are essentially not any different than fetuses, which are aborted everyday.
This horrific article printed in a “serious,” peer-reviewed, professional journal, should cause all clear thinking people pause. What was once criticized as a slippery slope by abortion proponents is now firm reality, at least in the world of medical ethics. And what is even more revealing is that the manner in which the authors argue their ethics is sound.
Giubilini and Minerva argue that its okay to kill newborns based on three reasons. First, fetuses and newborns share a common status of “non-persons.” Second, just because both are “potential persons” is morally irrelevant. And third, adoption is not always morally a good thing because it does not always help “actual people.”
My assessment is simple. Giubilini and Minerva are right. That’s correct, based on our cultural justification to murder the unborn, we have also opened the door to murder the born. Period. Of course, when we were seeking to justify abortion, we were told it was ridiculous to assert that this would open the door to other heinous actions. And as I noted earlier, what was once considered ridiculous (or a slippery slope) has now become sound ethics.
But Giubilini and Minerva are also wrong. As is the entire abortion movement. The hinge the door swings on is the idea of “personhood.” We are told that a fetus is not a person. If we concede this to be true then the authors are correct that a newborn is also not a “person” so why should it be protected?
This idea of personhood is a ruse. It is an invented category designed to draw distinctions and thus justify killing. But personhood is simply not definable and the authors admit this much, punting to others on determining the point that a newborn would become an “actual person” and should thus be protected.
The truth is that we are all “persons” from the moment of conception, and all life is worthy of protection. In fact, there are only four differences that I have been able to determine that separate a fetus (and now a newborn) from an adult person. I would challenge anyone to offer any other difference than these four. And I would further submit that none of these four, individually or collectively, justify killing.
Size: a fetus or newborn are “smaller” than an adult. But my nine-year-old son is also smaller than me, and he is not less a person than me.
Level of Development: a fetus or newborn is not as developed as an adult. But neither is a teenager. Also, adults move through various stages of development as well. Women move through menopause. Levels of development do not justify killing outside the womb and they should not inside the womb either.
Environment: a fetus is in the womb and an adult is outside the womb. Occasionally I fly. When I am in a plane at 30,000 feet (clearly an environment that is not natural to human life), I am no less human and my right to life does is not forfeit.
Dependency: a fetus or newborn is dependent on an adult for life and care. A fetus by an umbilical cord. When my aunt was alive she went daily for dialysis treatments. I visited a woman in our church last week on a ventilator. Dependency has never been a condition for life in adults and it cannot be in the unborn or newborn.
After conception we are all the same except for these four differences. The only thing added to a fertilized egg is time and nourishment. Nothing else is added to the chemistry. It is wrong to kill the unborn. Period. And now the scary thing is that if you allow it based on flimsy logic then that same flimsy logic opens the door to murder on an expanded scale.