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Elspeth
03-18-2012, 01:28 AM
From The Telegraph, the "Health News" section. Health?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9113394/Killing-babies-no-different-from-abortion-experts-say.html

Quick note: I have tried several times from different websites to get the original peer-reviewed article from the Journal of Medical Ethics but it seems to have been removed.

Edited to add: I have found a working link: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full




Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent

1:38PM GMT 29 Feb 2012

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”.

The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

The journal’s editor, Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said the article's authors had received death threats since publishing the article. He said those who made abusive and threatening posts about the study were “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.

The article, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?”, was written by two of Prof Savulescu’s former associates, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.

They argued: “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.”

Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”.

They explained: “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.”

As such they argued it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.

The authors therefore concluded 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”.

They also argued that parents should be able to have the baby killed if it turned out to be disabled without their knowing before birth, for example citing that “only the 64 per cent of Down’s syndrome cases” in Europe are diagnosed by prenatal testing.

Once such children were born there was “no choice for the parents but to keep the child”, they wrote.

“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.”

However, they did not argue that some baby killings were more justifiable than others – their fundamental point was that, morally, there was no difference to abortion as already practised.

They preferred to use the phrase “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to “emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus”.

Both Minerva and Giubilini know Prof Savulescu through Oxford. Minerva was a research associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics until last June, when she moved to the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Melbourne University.

Giubilini, a former visiting student at Cambridge University, gave a talk in January at the Oxford Martin School – where Prof Savulescu is also a director – titled 'What is the problem with euthanasia?'

He too has gone on to Melbourne, although to the city’s Monash University. Prof Savulescu worked at both univerisities before moving to Oxford in 2002.

Defending the decision to publish in a British Medical Journal blog, Prof Savulescu, said that arguments in favour of killing newborns were “largely not new”.

What Minerva and Giubilini did was apply these arguments “in consideration of maternal and family interests”.

While accepting that many people would disagree with their arguments, he wrote: “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.”

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he added: “This “debate” has been an example of “witch ethics” - a group of people know who the witch is and seek to burn her. It is one of the most dangerous human tendencies we have. It leads to lynching and genocide. Rather than argue and engage, there is a drive is to silence and, in the extreme, kill, based on their own moral certainty. That is not the sort of society we should live in.”

He said the journal would consider publishing an article positing that, if there was no moral difference between abortion and killing newborns, then abortion too should be illegal.

Dr Trevor Stammers, director of medical ethics at St Mary's University College, said: "If a mother does smother her child with a blanket, we say 'it's doesn't matter, she can get another one,' is that what we want to happen?

"What these young colleagues are spelling out is what we would be the inevitable end point of a road that ethical philosophers in the States and Australia have all been treading for a long time and there is certainly nothing new."

Referring to the term "after-birth abortion", Dr Stammers added: "This is just verbal manipulation that is not philosophy. I might refer to abortion henceforth as antenatal infanticide."

Another article with more detail appears here:


http://naturalsociety.com/medical-journalists-call-for-after-birth-abortions/

Medical Journalists Call for ‘After-Birth Abortions’, Say Infants ‘Aren’t People’



From the original article:


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…”


Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/medical-journalists-call-for-after-birth-abortions/#ixzz1pRXwrkbN

Elspeth
03-18-2012, 01:52 AM
Adding info from the original peer-reviewed article:

http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full


Abstract

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.

There is a lot to read at the link and many responses to the article. The editors have felt the need to defend themselves for publishing the article:


http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/#comment-451456352

“Liberals Are Disgusting”: In Defence of the Publication of “After-Birth Abortion”
28 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group


The Journal of Medical Ethics prepublished electronically an article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”

This article has elicited personally abusive correspondence to the authors, threatening their lives and personal safety. The Journal has received a string abusive emails for its decision to publish this article. This abuse is typically anonymous.

I am not sure about the legality of publishing abusive threatening anonymous correspondence, so I won’t repeat it here. But fortunately there is plenty on the web to choose from. Here are some responses:

“These people are evil. Pure evil. That they feel safe in putting their twisted thoughts into words reveals how far we have fallen as a society.”

“Right now I think these two devils in human skin need to be delivered for immediate execution under their code of ‘after birth abortions’ they want to commit murder – that is all it is! MURDER!!!”

“I don‘t believe I’ve ever heard anything as vile as what these “people” are advocating. Truly, truly scary.”

“The fact that the Journal of Medical Ethics published this outrageous and immoral piece of work is even scarier”

(Comments from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/ethicists-argue-in-favor-of-after-birth-abortions-as-newborns-are-not-persons/#comments)

As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. 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, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.

The novel contribution of this paper is not an argument in favour of infanticide – the paper repeats the arguments made famous by Tooley and Singer – but rather their application in consideration of maternal and family interests. The paper also draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands.

Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, 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 authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.

Of course, many people will argue that on this basis abortion should be recriminalised. Those arguments can be well made and the Journal would publish a paper than made such a case coherently, originally and with application to issues of public or medical concern. 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. The Journal welcomes reasoned coherent responses to After-Birth Abortion. Or indeed on any topic relevant to medical ethics.

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.

On the Blaze which reported it (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/ethicists-argue-in-favor-of-after-birth-abortions-as-newborns-are-not-persons/#comments):

“Liberals are disgusting. They have criminal minds. To think that a person must be considered “worthy” to live is criminal.”

“It seems to me if good people are not going to stand up to do away with people who believe in doing away with live babies, then it means no one is good, and it’s just easier for God to drop a couple asteroids on earth.”

“i can’t even comment on this atrocity. I know these people are murderers in their hearts. And God will treat them as such. They are completely spiritually dead.”

“I have to say that I would personally kill anyone doing a after-birth abortion if I had the chance. Is that clear enough?”

The comments include openly racist remarks:

“Alberto Giubilini looks like a muslim so I have to agree with him that all muslims should have been aborted. If abortion fails, no life at birth – just like he wants.

“Journal of Medical Ethics” — hahaha! You libs and your quack science. Ya think that’s impressive, Albutt & Franpoop? No ****! I can beat you in my sleep. Here goes:

I take a ‘subject of a moral right to life’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to my own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to me.

Here’s the “projected moral status” you comunisti italiani pigs would get: Bang, bang. Drop in toxic waste dump reserved for left-wing contaminants.”

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.

Julian Savulescu, Editor, Journal of Medical Ethics

Odysseus
03-18-2012, 10:31 AM
From The Telegraph, the "Health News" section. Health?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9113394/Killing-babies-no-different-from-abortion-experts-say.html

Quick note: I have tried several times from different websites to get the original peer-reviewed article from the Journal of Medical Ethics but it seems to have been removed.

Edited to add: I have found a working link: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full




Another article with more detail appears here:



From the original article:

Yeah, that article really embarrassed the abortion advocates. Fortunately for them, our media has mastered the old Pravda practice of retouching the past in order to protect itself and its allies.

Elspeth
03-18-2012, 01:56 PM
Yeah, that article really embarrassed the abortion advocates. Fortunately for them, our media has mastered the old Pravda practice of retouching the past in order to protect itself and its allies.

Well, I did find the article itself and it is worth reading just for the lack of logic and of morality one finds in it. How anyone can think that killing an infant is moral is beyond me.

Of course, I'm not referring to infants that could not live more than a few hours or days on lots of painful life support systems. Allowing them to be in less pain for a shorter time makes sense. The problem is the authors go from something like that situation, which is painful for everyone and in which artificially prolonging life is cruel, all the way to just getting rid of an infant who is born with mild birth defects or is merely inconvenient.

Odysseus
03-18-2012, 02:28 PM
Well, I did find the article itself and it is worth reading just for the lack of logic and of morality one finds in it. How anyone can think that killing an infant is moral is beyond me.

Of course, I'm not referring to infants that could not live more than a few hours or days on lots of painful life support systems. Allowing them to be in less pain for a shorter time makes sense. The problem is the authors go from something like that situation, which is painful for everyone and in which artificially prolonging life is cruel, all the way to just getting rid of an infant who is born with mild birth defects or is merely inconvenient.

Even there, there's a difference between allowing an infant that cannot live to die by not prolonging his life, and deliberately killing him. The Hippocratic Oath states that the physician shall do no harm, and that's clearly the demarcation. Those who don't see it as doing harm have set themselves up as the arbiters of what constitutes harm, and what constitutes a life worth living. That's not a choice that I want doctors or politicians to have to make, as it ends up attracting the wrong kind of person to the former profession and the latter already wield far too much power.

Dan D. Doty
03-19-2012, 01:51 AM
What we have here is just a slightly updated version of the Nazi T-4 program.

The Nazi told people that by getting rid of the mentally handicapped, the mentally ill and thoses with disabilities that Germany could stop wasting resources on those who were a drain on society. Disabled children were sent to " special" hospitals for " threatment " ; within a month of arrival the families were told the children had died from pneuma, or other natural causes.

The T-4 program was used as a testing ground on how to kill large numbers of people quickly and cheaply.

These are some of the victums of the Holocaust that go unremembered, and sadly as we see today some think T-4 was not a bad idea.

Odysseus
03-19-2012, 08:47 AM
What we have here is just a slightly updated version of the Nazi T-4 program.

The Nazi told people that by getting rid of the mentally handicapped, the mentally ill and thoses with disabilities that Germany could stop wasting resources on those who were a drain on society. Disabled children were sent to " special" hospitals for " threatment " ; within a month of arrival the families were told the children had died from pneuma, or other natural causes.

The T-4 program was used as a testing ground on how to kill large numbers of people quickly and cheaply.

These are some of the victums of the Holocaust that go unremembered, and sadly as we see today some think T-4 was not a bad idea.

Other countries didn't take it as far, but there were steriliztion campaigns to keep what progressives considered "undesirables" from breeding. Usually, it was confined to the mentally ill, but in some states, it also involved persons convicted of crimes and, in the case of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, it also entailed programs targeted at eliminating whole racial groups. The Soviets defined their undesirables by class rather than race, and simply worked them to death. The Nazis and Communists simply took their common progressive ideals to their logical conclusion.