Monday, March 12, 2012

Infanticide: The logical conclusion to a pro-abortion argument

Two philosophers associated with universities in Australia caused an uproar after a paper they wrote was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The paper, “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” argues it should be legal for parents to kill their newborn children. In the abstract of the paper, Alberto Giubilini's and Francesca Minerva's argument is summarized:

“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.”

In the paper, Giubilini and Minerva use an argument which is often employed by abortion advocates and take it to its logical conclusion. Since the science of embryology has conclusively proven human life begins at conception, abortion advocates frequently argue the unborn aren’t “persons” (and therefore it should be legal to kill them) because they lack some quality like being self-aware or being rational. However, abortion advocates rarely follow their premises to their ultimate conclusions. Since newborn children aren’t self-aware or rational either, the “personhood” argument which justifies the killing of the unborn would just as equally justify the killing of the newborn.

Now a prolife person sees this argument and discerns that if your premises lead you to horrible and terrifying conclusions, then it is likely your premises are wrong and abortion should not be accepted.

However, instead of being revolted by the logical conclusion (infanticide should be permissible) of their personhood argument, taking a step back and dismissing their argument as abhorrent, Giubilini and Minerva accept it with open arms. This is what happens when people abandon the belief in the sanctity of human life and accept the idea that certain properties make humans valuable. To Giubilini and Minerva, human life by itself has no value.

While we may recoil at Giubilini’s and Minerva’s frankness, at least they have the nerve to follow their premises to their logical conclusions. Too often, abortion advocates assert the unborn aren’t persons therefore killing them by abortion should be legal. They then fail to provide any reasoning for why a short journey down the birth canal makes the same child worthy of legal protection.

For more responses to arguments in favor of abortion and information about the infanticide reality, please visit Right to Life of Michigan’s web site at