March 2, 2012
You might think medical ethicists contemplate the principles for medical decision making in the tough cases. Surely, killing newborns is not even debatable. Well, some do. In an piece titled in Orwellian fashion, After-Birth Abortion: why should the baby live?, 2 scholars associated with prestigious institutes in Italy, Australia and the UK argue in a recent journal article that if abortion is morally permissible, so too is killing newborns.
You may think this line of thinking is crazy. And it is. Yet this is the logic of the pro-choice position. The claim that killing an unborn baby (if a woman so chooses) is morally permissible leads one to ask, why not kill a partially born baby? And if that is permissible, as a number of pro-abortion Senators think, then why not admit that killing newborns is morally permissible?
This played out in the U.S. Congress in the 90s and then later in 2003 in a debate over banning partial-birth abortion. Those who opposed the partial-birth abortion ban were adamant that this was different than killing a fully born baby. But as those debates revealed --- especially in the debate between Senator Santorum and Senator Barbara Boxer over the ban in 1999 --- if one could abort a partially born baby, why not let a baby be born and then kill her?
Senator Boxer refused to answer Senator Santorums questions directly. Why? Because the logic is rather compelling that location is not a criteria for moral worth. If you can kill a fully developed human baby inside a womans womb, then why not once its born?
Read Wesley Smiths compelling response to this honest if not horrific ethics paper.