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February 24, 2014

Flashback: "Philosophers" Making Case for After-Birth "Abortion"

Update: It's Old. Apparently this is a 2012 piece. But Brit Hume just Tweeted about it, hence me (and others) treating it as if it's new.

They urge the adoption of this terminology -- "after-birth abortion" -- over the morally judgmental and politically difficult term "infanticide."

This appears to be quite real:

[I]n order for a harm to occur, it is necessary that someone is in the condition of experiencing that harm. If a potential person, like a fetus and a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then there is neither an actual nor a future person who can be harmed, which means that there is no harm at all. … In these cases, since non-persons have no moral rights to life, there are no reasons for banning after-birth abortions. … Indeed, however weak the interests of actual people can be, they will always trump the alleged interest of potential people to become actual ones, because this latter interest amounts to zero.

Via Twitchy, which cites Brit Hume's stunned reaction.

One caveat:

This seems so outrageous that I suspect the possibility (only the possibility) of a Jonathan Swift-like"Modest Proposal" intent here -- that is, these philosophers, by taking the logic of pre-birth abortion and claiming it apples to post-birth abortion as well, may actually intend to cast the pro-choice argument as itself fatally flawed.

On the other hand, it could more easily be seriously intended. After all, there are those who seriously propose that the Human Species render itself extinct, voluntarily, to "save the earth."

So there are plenty of people willing to go there at the drop of a hat.

Apparently Real: Saletan apparently debated other abortion absolutists who make similar claims.

They may not have intended a Jonathan Swift-type case... but they've still done so inadvertently, as he notes:

Predictably, the article has sparked outrage. Last week, Reps. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., denounced it on the House floor. But it isn’t pro-lifers who should worry about the Giubilini-Minerva proposal. It’s pro-choicers. The case for “after-birth abortion” draws a logical path from common pro-choice assumptions to infanticide. It challenges us, implicitly and explicitly, to explain why, if abortion is permissible, infanticide isn’t....


As [a pro-choice absolutist Furedi] explained in our debate last fall, “There is nothing magical about passing through the birth canal that transforms it from a fetus into a person.”

The challenge posed to Furedi and other pro-choice absolutists by “after-birth abortion” is this: How do they answer the argument, advanced by Giubilini and Minerva, that any maternal interest, such as the burden of raising a gravely defective newborn, trumps the value of that freshly delivered nonperson? What value does the newborn have? At what point did it acquire that value? And why should the law step in to protect that value against the judgment of a woman and her doctor?







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