Friday, March 02, 2012

Ethical Paper on After-Birth Abortions?

The British Medical Journal's "Journal of Medical Ethics" just published a paper defending the possible practice of After-Birth Abortions and infanticide. Wow, when I heard about this article coming out, I couldn't believe it. But if you click the link above you can read the entire article free of charge.

The publishers defend the paper, it's authors, and their decision to publish the paper stating that 1. "the arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature," 2. Infanticide is already legal in The Netherlands. 3. They say they would happily publish an ethics paper supporting the contrary view.

The author's faulty logic in support of infanticide includes: 1. Since abortion is ethical, infanticide is ethical. 2. Intra-uterine, pre-natal testing still misses a large percentage of babies with severe congenital disorders. 3. There is a need for guidelines about cases (like perinatal asphyxia) in which death seems to be in the best interest of the child and family 4. Raising "a disabled child would represent a risk to her mental health." or be an "unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing." 5. If aborting a baby with Down Syndrome is legal then why should there be no choice but to keep the child after it is born. and discovered that it has Down Syndrome at birth. 6. Many genetic disorders are so rare, it is not possible to test for all of them before birth. 7. Ancient Philosophers have proposed euthanasia for children with severe abnormalities whose lives can be expected to be not worth living and who are experiencing unbearable suffering. 8. Infanticide is already legal in The Netherlands. "the Groningen Protocol (2002) allows to actively terminate the life of ‘infants with a hopeless prognosis who experience what parents and medical experts deem to be unbearable suffering’." 9. Even if a child with Downs can be "happy", raising that child can still be a burden on the family. 10. The newborn and fetus are morally equivalent. 11. The new-born infant is not a "person" but is a "potential person" because it does not have "aims". 12. ‘person’ is defined as "an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her." Any "individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons." 13. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Examples include: Spare research embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal. 14. Yet, the person doesn't need to be aware of the harm being done at the time. So smoking and drinking during pregnancy is still unethical because it could affect the quality of life of a person later when they are aware. 15. The projection of value onto a fetus or a child doesn't make them a person 16. There is no value in potential. 17. There is no harm unless a person is in the state of being able to appreciate harm. In the case of smoking, the fetus will one day become a person and may experience the harm. A fetus or infant who is killed will never exist as a person to experience the harm.

What can you say to this? 1. Abortion and infanticide is wrong because there is value in potential. Just like potential energy. 2. Science has produced evidence of the existence of an aware spirit that is aware of the harm being done to it in preventing its aim to gain a body and live. 3. Infants are persons and have aims which they manifest by eating, growing, learning, interacting with environment, crying, and releasing waste products. 4. While man does not need to increase suffering by unnaturally prolonging life by preventing natural death, man should not interfere when nature has ruled in favor of life.

Man should not unnaturally prevent death nor should we unnaturally end life.

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