A professor at Loyola Marymount University is arguing that dolphins need personhood status, but not babies, so it’s just fine to kill them with abortion.

The stunning position has been adopted by Thomas White, a professor of business ethics, who, according to a report from the Cardinal Newman Society, has joined a campaign advocating for abortion coverage in the Catholic university’s health care package.

The issue arose because administrators at the school said they were dropping the abortion coverage from employee health coverage, a decision that still must be ratified by the school’s board.

About 80 staff and faculty members then launched a full-page advertisement in the student newspaper, the Loyola, telling officials with the Jesuit University to keep up the abortion coverage.

The ad explained, “As members of the LMU community, we value the freedom of conscience, diversity, and collaborative decision making necessary for the well-being of a university. We urge the university to maintain full healthcare coverage for women.”

White also is the author of “In Defense of Dolphins: The New Frontier,” in which he argues for dolphins as “nonhuman persons.”

In presenting his research to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he said, “Dolphins should be considered nonhuman persons because they have the kind of consciousness that, in the past, we thought was unique to our species. They’re not just aware of the world around them but they have the ability to look inside and say ‘I.’ They have a sense of choice and will.”

He argues dolphins are intelligent and, like humans, appear to be self-conscious, unique individuals.

That means, he said, dolphins should be given “moral standing” as individuals.

According to a statement from the university, White says dolphins need to be treated as humans.

He explains human fishing practices would need to change, as would policies regarding the hundreds of captive dolphins used in entertainment facilities.

“Every year an estimated 300,000 dolphins die around the world, caught by commercial fishermen searching for tuna. Thousands more die in the annual Japanese drive hunts,” White explains.

However, White, who is a fellow of the Oxford Center for Animal Ethics, argues for abortion.

He’s part of the team asking the university to pay for abortions, and he’s joined by LMU’s “feminist theologian and social ethicist” Cynthia Garrity-Bond, Anna Harrison, associate professor of theological studies, and Sheilah Jones, adjunct professor of theological studies.

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