|Gee, if only their parents had had the option...NOT.|
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Slippery Slope: Justifiable Infanticide
I ended my last post with the comment:
..the validity of the logic depends on the truth of the premise. I’m afraid the world is bordering on insanity on this issue, and is willing to deny the truth in order to pursue the logic of the culture of death.
I actually wrote those words last September. A few days ago, I discovered that the world was teetering over the edge of that insanity border when I read the LifeSiteNews story that came out on February 28, 2012, entitled “Ethicists Justify Infanticide in Major Medical Journal”.
We are surely plummeting down that slippery slope now. LSN reported that:
Taking the logic of abortion to its ultimate consequence, two ethicists have argued that “killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”
[The writers] have made the case that since both the unborn baby and the newborn do not have the moral status of actual persons and are consequently morally irrelevant, what they call “after-birth abortion” should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is perfectly healthy.
There are no words to describe how sick and perverted that reasoning is. But it is the logical consequence of both the abortive and contraceptive mind sets that prevail in this country.
All these ethicists are doing is coming up with twisted reasoning and re-definition of terms in order to justify the killing of newborns. They are blunt in the words they use, but intellectually dishonest in their re-definition of terms. Have you read the actual paper? It is available here.
Here’s an example of their convoluted reasoning (all emphases mine):
In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.
Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.
At least the authors of that paper are honest enough to admit that they are talking about “killing newborns” – a phrase they use a number of times. And they are chillingly and brutally honest about the fact that they believe that “what’s best for the child” is not at all of concern. They dodge the entire issue of whether a baby with a disability or disease would be able to live a “meaningful” or “acceptable” life simply by acknowledging that “it is hard to find definitive arguments to the effect that life with certain pathologies is not worth living”, and then focusing on the needs of others, whose rights take precedence over the rights of the person to be killed:
Nonetheless, 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. On these grounds, the fact that a fetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion. Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.
In other words, because it is permissible to abort an unborn baby who is prenatally diagnosed with a debilitating disorder or disease, it’s also permissible and morally neutral to kill the newborn who was not diagnosed prenatally, but showed up with debilitating symptoms at birth. It’s not about whether “life is worth living” for the baby; it’s about whether life is worth living (for the family) with the baby.
Not only this, but the authors add other situations that justify killing a newborn:
…or if economical, social or psychological circumstances change such that taking care of the offspring becomes an unbearable burden on someone, then people should be given the chance of not being forced to do something they cannot afford.
So…if the parent(s) simply change their minds about “wanting” the child, it should be permissible for them to kill the baby. This is simply exalting the self above another human being. It is diabolical.
The authors also attempt to forestall any “personhood” arguments. They deny the “actual” personhood of the unborn and the newborn child, but placate us with an acknowledgement that these little ones are “potential persons”:
Although fetuses and newborns are not persons, they are potential persons because they can develop, thanks to their own biological mechanisms, those properties which will make them ‘persons’ in the sense of ‘subjects of a moral right to life’: that is, the point at which they will be able to make aims and appreciate their own life.
Yet, they claim that it does not make sense to claim that a fetus or newborn is “harmed” by being denied the chance to develop into an “actual” person:
However, whereas you can benefit someone by bringing her into existence (if her life is worth living), it makes no sense to say that someone is harmed by being prevented from becoming an actual person. The reason is that, by virtue of our definition of the concept of ‘harm’ in the previous section, in 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. So, if you ask one of us if we would have been harmed, had our parents decided to kill us when we were fetuses or newborns, our answer is ‘no’, because they would have harmed someone who does not exist (the ‘us’ whom you are asking the question), which means no one. And if no one is harmed, then no harm occurred.
Sort of like the age old question: if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to witness it...Oh dear. If you buy this, I have some ocean-view property in Arizona I would like to sell you. This is double-speak, pure and simple. It is false logic because it is based on the false premise that the fetus or newborn is not an “actual” person.
What about adoption? Surely these ethicists might agree that since the baby is actually born, adoption would surely be the preferred option if the parents truly do not want their child. No…they again cater to their perception of the needs of the mother, completely denying the right to life of the child.
…[W]e also need to consider the interests of the mother who might suffer psychological distress from giving her child up for adoption. Birthmothers are often reported to experience serious psychological problems due to the inability to elaborate their loss and to cope with their grief. It is true that grief and sense of loss may accompany both abortion and after-birth abortion as well as adoption, but we cannot assume that for the birthmother the latter is the least traumatic. For example, ‘those who grieve a death must accept the irreversibility of the loss, but natural mothers often dream that their child will return to them. This makes it difficult to accept the reality of the loss because they can never be quite sure whether or not it is irreversible’.
Wow. I do believe these ethicists have forgotten to do their homework on the psychological effects of abortion on women. As we know, those effects are profound and long-lasting, even when the abortion was performed on a “clump of cells” and the mother had not even seen her baby. Imagine the devastating psychological and emotional after-effects of giving birth to a baby and then authorizing the child’s death!
But, then, it’s all about the actual people, not the potential people, according to these ethicists:
…[T]the rights and interests of the actual people involved should represent the prevailing consideration in a decision about abortion and after-birth abortion.
And just exactly when does the “potential” person become an “actual” person? The authors don’t really know. But they know you can’t wait too long:
…[W]e do not put forward any claim about the moment at which after-birth abortion would no longer be permissible, and we do not think that in fact more than a few days would be necessary for doctors to detect any abnormality in the child. In cases where the after-birth abortion were requested for nonmedical reasons, we do not suggest any threshold, as it depends on the neurological development of newborns, which is something neurologists and psychologists would be able to assess.
So these “ethicists” have opened the Pandora’s box of the killing of human beings whom others have decided are a “burden”, and they have left the window of time for such killings to occur up to other “experts”. We are on the slippery slope, we are much closer to the abyss, and the grade is getting steeper.
I suggested in my earlier post that the difference between the killing of an unborn baby by an abortionist versus the killing of a newborn baby by the mother is only a separation of a small slice of time and the difference of physical location. Now these “ethicists” have made that difference even smaller.
It is a small step from here to killing other defenseless individuals who are deemed to be a “burden” on their families – those with profound disabilities, extreme retardation, lack of cognitive ability…coma…persistent “vegetative” state…elderly…etc. Do you see where this is going? When the family gets tired of dealing with the “burden” – who we can re-classify as not an “actual” person because of a lack of awareness, or for whatever reasons we want – then the person can be killed.
And just a little farther down the slope will come the declaration that, even if the family does not consider the individual a burden, society might – especially if social and medical services are being provided at a cost to the state (as in…hmm…Obamacare).
Here’s one more telling paragraph from the article:
…[A]s we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence. Actual people’s well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child requiring energy, money and care which the family might happen to be in short supply of. …[S]ince non-persons have no moral rights to life, there are no reasons for banning after-birth abortions. We might still have moral duties towards future generations in spite of these future people not existing yet…This argument, however, does not apply to this particular newborn or infant, because we are not justified in taking it for granted that she will exist as a person in the future. Whether she will exist is exactly what our choice is about.
That last sentence bears repeating:
Whether she will exist is exactly what our choice is about.
If that is not “playing God”, I don’t know what is.