CAUTION: Infanticide ahead

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by Wesley J. Smith,

from Legatus Magazine,

The late Fr. Richard Neuhaus famously said: “Thousands of medical ethicists and bioethicists, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on the way to becoming the justifiable until it is finally established as unexceptionable.”

In my nearly 22 years of advocating against the Culture of Death, I have found the “Neuhaus Equation” (as I call it) to be absolutely true. Example: In the 1980s, bioethicists began to discuss removing tube-supplied sustenance from people with severe cognitive impairments. Intentionally dehydrating a human being to death — once considered unthinkable — quickly became “debatable.” It was soon justified as merely refusing medical treatment. Today, dehydrating those who need feeding tubes has become routine in all 50 states.

Infanticide has been “debatable” in bioethics for 40 years — although it has been a harder slog getting to the unexceptional stage. Peter Singer became (in)famous for arguing that babies could be killed within 30 days of birth because they are not self-aware “persons.” Because of his views — not in spite of them — Princeton appointed him to head the misnamed Center on Human Values.

Bioethical arguments for infanticide usually take place in professional journals and at academic symposia where they escape public notice. But once in a while people get a glimpse of what utilitarian bioethicists have planned for them, leading to angry controversy.

n 2012, the Journal of Medical Ethics published “After Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” by bioethicists Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. The article blatantly advocated the moral permissibility of infanticide, specifically asserting that whatever justifies abortion also validates killing newborns. But the baby is a human being! So what? The authors sniff: “Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.”

The authors even claim that healthy babies can be killed if they are not wanted by parents, further arguing that babies who would be adopted can be put to death.

Good grief! Unlike most pro-infanticide journal articles, this one was picked up by the media. Demonstrating that all is not yet lost.

That which we don’t condemn, we may ultimately allow. The disturbing fact that infanticide has reached the “justifiable” stage in the Neuhaus Equation speaks volumes about the bioethics movement. Anyone who thinks it can’t happen here just hasn’t been paying attention.

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CAUTION: Infanticide ahead