Monday, April 9, 2012

The Slope Has Slipped

(WARNING: Controversial Adult Topic)

I remember media coverage of Roe vs Wade.  Oh, nothing like today’s coverage of controversy, but we read the arguments in newspapers and listened to 30-second video clips of pundits, activists, the pros and cons. Pro-life referred to this move in the United States as a slippery slope that would have unintended consequences as well as costing lives. Pro-choice gave statistics on how many lives would be saved by erasing illegal abortions and providing healing medical care.

I regretted the SCOTUS decision, believing there would be abuse. I never expected something that was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics by Australian philosophers. My niece brought the article to my attention.

While researching what she posted, I found had an in depth review. One quote caught my eye:
They argue that both the fetus and the new-born infant are only potential persons without any interests. Therefore the interests of the persons involved with them are paramount until some indefinite time after birth. To emphasise the continuity between the two acts, they term it “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide.
No, that’s not the currently acceptable ‘partial-birth abortion’ where the fetus’ head, but not the body, leaves the womb and the fetus is killed.  These ethicists believe that ‘after-birth abortion’ is an option that should be utilized. Their paper “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” states:


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.
These ethicists wrote:
This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.
Please note their equation of “… many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons …”

I have no scriptures to quote.  People who believe them already understand the importance of life.  Those who don’t will not be swayed by them. I can only share the ethicists conclusion:
If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.
Can we accept their conclusion?  There are a number of interesting responses, and one states:
If one accepts the rationale of abortion in the first place, there can be no drawing the line at such silly boundaries as birth and death. Ultimately the State can use such reasoning to kill anyone, any time.
Where is the line to be drawn?

1 comment:

  1. This is so wrong, and such an abuse of what God has created, the baby is the same baby that will be held and loved a few months later, how can anyone actually see this as not another separate human life. Umph!!!


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