Home > Sanctity of Life > Why Not Infanticide?

Why Not Infanticide?

February 29th, 2012
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For a number of years, when debating abortion, I’ve challenged those who defend the mother’s right to choose to end her unborn child’s life to tell me why the mother should not have the right to kill her newborn? After all, a newborn is no more able to sustain his/her own life than the unborn child is….so why not?

Well, apparently, a group of bioethicists have reached the conclusion that infanticide should be an option. Their conclusions have been published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

You can read more about this here.

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.

As the authors note, an examination of 18 European registries found that between 2005 and 2009 only 64% of Down’s syndrome cases were diagnosed through prenatal testing, leaving about 1,700 infants to be born with the condition. Since the mothers would have likely killed the child in utero, why should we not permit them to kill the child afterthe birth?

Sadly, this is not a reductio ad absurdum intended to show the illogic of abortion but a serious philosophical argument made in defense of infanticide: “. . . we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

This article—which, it should be noted, was published in a respected journal—shows that once we discard the Christian principle of inherent dignity of humans, anything we decide to do to an infant becomes “ethically permissible.”

HT: Gospel Coalition

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Categories: Sanctity of Life
  1. Dcs. Kathleen
    February 29th, 2012 at 12:37 | #1

    I read this article and it absolutely blew my mind. It is the next logical step, and someday those who support abortion will also have to support infanticide, just as those who speak against abortion will have to decry both. I wonder which way the scale will tilt? You mentioned that this is not “reductio ad absurdum”, but part of me hopes that it actually ends up functioning as such. That people would decide that killing a 5 day old baby is horrifying, and then, by this line of argumentation, come to the realization that killing the child who is yet unborn is equally deplorable.

  2. Rahn Hasbargen
    February 29th, 2012 at 13:34 | #2

    Since new health care directives now classify pregnancy as a “sexually transmitted disease”, it stands to reason that it should be legal to do away with the resulting effects of this “disease”:

    The slide towards Gomorrah continues…..

  3. Rev. Roderick Schultz
    February 29th, 2012 at 14:08 | #3

    The depths to which idolatry takes us is at times staggering. The language in the article is so cold and callous with regard to human life and yet it’s written with such arrogance. Pray for those can’t care for themselves (regardless of age!). Lord have mercy on us all!

  4. Anonymous
    February 29th, 2012 at 14:52 | #4

    Please join me in praying for these people that they respect all life, regardless of age or handicap.

  5. Michael Mohr
    February 29th, 2012 at 21:26 | #5

    Even the Romans, whose entire culture was founded (according to legend) by twin brothers who survived an attempted “exposure” infanticide, came to realize that “exposing” infants was morally repugnant and to be outlawed.

  6. Dennis Peskey
    March 1st, 2012 at 09:01 | #6

    Deja Vu – apparently, the Journal of Medical Ethics has, de facto, assumed the position of Gerousia. If only they could obtain directions to the nearest Apothetae, their quest for domination would be complete. Kyrie Eleison.

  7. Robin
    March 1st, 2012 at 21:16 | #7

    I, like you Dr. McCain have thought the same thing for some time. I am glad that finally the abortionist are being honest. Hopefully, there is still sanity amongst the majority of people… who knows. I recently talked with someone who was glad that the cases of Down Syndrome were diminishing because people were having abortions. She wasn’t telling me this because she thought it was tragic, she was glad because the human race could progress. I almost threw up. Can anyone say Hitler?

  8. March 2nd, 2012 at 08:07 | #8

    How dare we sit in moral judgment against an entire nation (Germany) for the Holocaust when we have murdered millions more? Robin, you hit the nail right on the head. Infants are now Lebens unwortes Leben. Life not worthy of living.
    To quote Jefferson, I tremble for my country when I know that God is just. Heil Obama!

  9. March 2nd, 2012 at 10:45 | #9

    I, too, am glad that the abortionists are finally being honest. I shudder because I know that even this will not be a wake up call to very many people.

  10. Karen Keil
    March 2nd, 2012 at 13:43 | #10

    Not just age or handicap but also sex.

    China and India are doing massive numbers of abortions of unborn girls whose only flaw was being female. Now millions of parents in China are finding few wives available for their sons. The upper caste Indian families are finding the same situation–few upper caste women for their sons to marry.

    I know sadly that there are many people who will abort if they find out before birth that the baby will be deaf. People have not said this to my face, but I have been told secondhand. For instance, my sister told me about her friend’s mother saying after finding out about me that she would rather abort someone like me than have a deaf baby.

    I often half-seriously say that I have two birth defects–hearing loss and femaleness.

    An article in the New York Times reported on a Jewish career woman (among others) having her unborn child tested for genetic defects, especially for those more common among Jews, willing to abort if the tests came out unfavorably. When the testing showed the child healthy, she had the baby, a son, who turned out profoundly deaf. Apparently, deafness was not among the conditions being tested for. Why not just kill “it”? I was not diagnosed with hearing loss until around the time I turned four. With the mentality of the world as it is towards imperfect children, why not just kill them the minute you find out they are not perfect?

    Pete Seeger, a singer, reportedly said that it should be acceptable to kill all children up to two years old if they turned out imperfect as they aren’t “people” until after age two. I read this somewhere but can’t find the quote at the moment.

  11. Wtba
    March 2nd, 2012 at 20:03 | #11

    @Karen Keil
    I think you mean Peter Singer, abioethicist at Princeton. You can read his opinions on which groups of people are good for killing by doing a simple web search.

  12. Jon Adams
    March 2nd, 2012 at 20:35 | #12

    Should a female be required to bring to term a pregnancy caused by rape?

    • March 2nd, 2012 at 20:39 | #13

      So, you agree with the journal article, Jon?

      Further…why should one of the two innocent victims in a rape situation have to die?

  13. Robin
    March 3rd, 2012 at 00:22 | #14

    Pt McCain the above comment shows that pre birth abortion and post birth abortion are the same thing. You show us an article about people wanting infanticide and people keep asking what about rape? what about rape? Is that the only thing they can think of that could justify such actions? Your comment was spot on.

    I actually know a girl who is a product of rape. I’m pretty sure she considers her life valuable as does the rest of her family and siblings. Actually, they were a pretty close family and what was even more interesting is that the girl in question doesn’t even look like her siblings because her mother’s rapist was of a different ethnicity yet, she is still part of that family.

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