By Jack Minor
A recent report in a medical ethics journal arguing the benefits of infanticide is simply a rehash of what members of the Obama administration have advocated regarding how Obamacare should be implemented, according to the head of a group that defends the unborn.
The recent paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics, titled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” argued that infanticide “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled” because the authors do not believe a newborn is a person.
Alberto Giubilin, a philosopher from the University of Milan, and Francesca Minerva, an ethicist from the University of Melbourne, said killing a newborn is not a crime because that person does not exist.
They claim the child is not a person until they are capable of understanding they are a sentient being and until then “the interests of actual people over-ride the interest of merely potential people.”
Gualberto Garcia Jones, of Personhood USA, said the statements in the article should not shock to anybody, as they have been the same views advocated by Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton who also has argued for the right to kill infants.
Jones pointed out that Singer is a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, where Minerva teaches.
Last year appearing on “Up with Chris Hayes” Singer said. “A person is a being with some awareness of who they are, existing beyond simply the physical organism.”
When asked if that would exclude a four month old baby, he said, “Possibly. I don’t think that’s problematic to say a four month old baby is not actually a person, that’s simply true.”
Singer wrote as long ago as 1979, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons.” In 1993, he stated that newborns should not be considered a person until after at least 30 days after birth and doctors should kill some disabled babies immediately.
Peter Breen, founder of the Thomas More Society, says the problem with the premise is there is no way to have a firm definition of when one should qualify for legal protection.
“The logical conclusion of saying that someone’s life is worth less at one month after birth rather than later is where do you draw the line. You either have the right to life or you don’t.”
He went on to say that the authors were simply following the logical progression that began when abortion was legalized in the 1970s.
“In the beginning abortion advocates said the child was simply a lump of cells. Then with ultrasound technology it became obvious that wasn’t so,” Breen said. “Then the argument moved to suggesting that it was acceptable to abort a child out of the womb such as partial birth abortion, to finally refusing medical care for a child who survives a ‘botched’ abortion.”
Singer’s views on personhood versus being human stem from a philosophy known as utilitarianism where the stated goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain for the most people possible. It was popularized by Joseph Fletcher, an apostate Episcopalian minister who became an atheist and was hailed as the “patriarch of bioethics.”
Fletcher popularized the distinction between a human being and person that is central to Singer’s ethics proposing a formula which included requirements such as “minimum intelligence,” “self awareness,” “memory,” and “communication” to qualify as a person.
While some in the pro-abortion community would deny it, a key element in the movement to move personhood beyond birth is a lack of belief that human beings are unique creatures made in the image of God.
Singer says, “Some opponents of abortion respond that the fetus, unlike the dog or chimpanzee, is made in the image of God, or has an immortal soul. They thereby acknowledge religion is the driving force behind their opposition. But there is no evidence for these religious claims, and in a society in which we keep the state and religion separate, we should not use them as a basis for the criminal law, which applies to people with different religious beliefs, or to those with none at all.”
Singer has also advocated euthanasia for persons who lack the “capacity to understand the choice between continued existence and non-existence.”
This philosophy could help explain why as a state senator in Illinois, Obama opposed a bill that would have provided the right to medical care to babies who survived a “botched” abortion.
Obama opposed the bill arguing that it would place an “undue burden on the mother.”
His opposition was striking in that many pro-choice lawmakers supported the bill because it was assumed that the woman’s right to choose ended when the child was born.
During the debate on passing Obamacare, Singer also advocated for rationing health care. In an article for the New York Times magazine on July 15, 2009, he said, “The debate over health care reform in the United States should start from the premise that some form of health care rationing is both inescapable and desirable. Then we can ask, what is the best way to do it?”