Article Advocating ‘After-Birth Abortion’ Mugs Liberals with Reality

American Thinker was kind enough to publish some of my thoughts about usefulness of the after-birth abortion article:

Conservatives were horrified when the Journal of Medical Ethics published an article advocating “after-birth abortion” for handicapped, or just inconvenient, babies.  They are correct that it is a disgusting piece of amoral analysis, but that is its virtue.  As much as conservatives hate it, progressives hate it more.  Many are convinced that it’s a plant by the pro-life crowd.  What progressives cannot articulate, but intuitively understand, is that by applying a reductio ad absurdum approach to the notion of abortion, the article forces pro-abortion people to confront the Big Lie that underpins their willingness to terminate a pregnancy, even an advanced one.

Francesca Minerva and Alberto Giubilini have advanced a very simple proposition, which is that only “a person” deserves to live:

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.


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.’

In the authors’ lexicon, to be a “person” deserving of life, one has to have a cognitive sense of self, akin to Descartes’ proposition that “I think, therefore I am”:

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.

Because babies lack a higher existential sense, they have no greater right to life than other biological entities without an existential sense of self — say, for example, a cockroach or chicken.  Downgrading a baby’s status from “person” to something equivalent to a cockroach leads to the next step in the analysis, which is that adults have the absolute right to terminate this living, breathing non-person’s existence:

[W]hat 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.

We’ve been down this path before.  It ended in Auschwitz.

Read the rest here.

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  • Ymarsakar

    This is also what happens when you just let the Left do whatever they want to do, without destroying them utterly. Weak people with weak wills, determination, and knees, along with non-existent spines, contribute to the growth of such things. Didn’t happen all on its own. People allowed it to happen. And then they come complaining about it later on. 

  • Mike Devx

    This is what it means to be immersed in a ‘culture of death’ rather than a ‘culture of life’.  These are words we blithely skate over, but they MEAN something deep.

    If you are comfortable with abortion – if it does not bother you – you should consider whether you have become too immersed in the culture of death.  Of discardable life.  I am not saying you must become anti-abortion.  But you should not be comfortable with it.

    And now we have the concept of a “post-birth abortion”.  That is truly a shocking concept, because abortion by its very definition is pre-birth, so this is a nonsensical term that rips apart and tears to shreds even the very concept that WORDS MEAN SOMETHING.  For what purpose?  One can only imagine.

    Sometimes when I contemplate what is going on, I get a deep chill.  There’s some genuinely horrifying nastiness hiding behind these seemingly innocuous philosophies.   20th-Century totalitarianism led to millions upon millions of screaming deaths, and it was because the individual – and the value of individual life – was negated so that the State could rule supreme, and the individual would serve the State, even unto death.

    And now, with “post-birth abortion”, we seek to murder born babies.  Because, apparently, they don’t think enough.

  • Tonestaple

    Ever since I woke up a few years ago and remembered something someone (Thanks, Jan!) said in Mrs. Hoffman’s 9th grade biology class and realized the only logical position is pro-life and anti-abortion, I have also realized that it’s not possible to do anything about abortion right now beyond praying for a change of heart.  I say this because as long as the left maintains the fiction that this is all about the woman, and abortion is just removing a meaningless clump of cells, we can’t have a rational conversation with them.  Until they wake up and realize that we are talking about the taking of innocent human life, we cannot have a rational conversation with them.

  • pst314

    Ah, but Book, you really shouldn’t be outraged. After all, it’s a sophisticated, nuanced argument for baby-killing, not like those crude arguments made by the uneducated. /sarc
    Many years ago I read an essay by a famous intellectual in which he advanced an argument for a “sophisticated” antisemitism to replace “crude antisemitism.” The result would be the same, but it was okay because it was a highly intellectual rationalization for evil. The author, Paul de Man, was a revered icon in liberal academic circles, one of the principle theorists of postmodernism. When his Nazi-collaborationist past was revealed, numerous academic icons tried to discredit the data and destroy the person who reported it.
    Funny, isn’t it, how academia is often so willing to embrace evil as long as it seems “sophisticated”.

  • michal

    they took the article down from the med ethics website. what a joke. Eugenics all over again.
    see here for a good argument/ explanation of our values
    Funny, isn’t it, how academia is often so willing to embrace evil as long as it seems “sophisticated”.
    it’s sad that a so called academic is all about style with no substance.

  • Wolf Howling

    Something I’ve repeated ad nauseum:

    For the better part of two millennium, the Judeo-Christian ethic has provided a rock solid framework for morality at the heart of Western society – one that puts maximum value on each individual human life and one that provides moral clarity in such things as Christianity’s Golden Rule and Judaism’s “Great Commandment.” Take that mooring away from the ancient expressions of our deity and all morality then becomes dependant on what any particular person or government defines as the greater good.
    When governments and individuals can define by their whim what is moral or immoral, what is desirable and what is punishable, human life is almost inevitably devalued. Certainly StalinHitlerMaoCastro, and Pol Pot, between them responsible for the murder of well over a hundred million people in the 20th century, held to socialist belief systems that devalued human life and elevated in its stead political ideology. Many in the green movement argue that man is a parasite on the world and call for strictly limiting his impact using authoritarian means – including population controlforced sterilization and other such methods.  

    What we are seeing here is Western socialism creeping towards the same destructive morality that gave us the monsters and mass slaughters of the 20th century.    

  • pst314

    “they took the article down from the med ethics website.”
    I saved a copy, and can post it here if you wish, Book. (But it would make an awfully long comment.)

  • Bookworm

    No worries, pst314. Nothing truly vanishes from the internet!