This coming Thursday, January 22, 2015, is the forty-second anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. Since then it is estimated that more than fifty-six million babies have been aborted. This figure is more than nine times the number who died in the Nazi-inspired Holocaust. This is why some refer to abortion as the American Holocaust.
The basic philosophy underlining the Court’s decision is the fetus is not legally considered a person until birth and is not afforded legal protection of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Advances in medical science have made huge strides in neo-natal care challenging the limits of ex utero viability and the advent of sonograms have put a decidedly human face on the developing baby in the womb. For these reasons, the incidence of abortion is on the decline. But a new threat looms.
Francesca Minerva, at the University of Melbourne and Oxford University, and Alberto Giubilini with the University of Milan, published a paper in January of 2012 in the Journal of Medical Ethics entitled After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? My first thought was, why ask why?
Their premise has three points. First, “Both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons.” Second, “The fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant.” And last, “After-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all cases were abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” You read that right.
The authors write “having a child can itself be an unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing children.” Are we really expected to believe that adding to the family will create irreparable psychological trauma? These are supposed to be professors teaching ethics. I would think the proper teaching of ethics would be to condemn murder, not formulate a specious argument to condone it.
It would be easy to dismiss such papers as ridiculous drivel, but these are educated people who are discussing whether or not it is ethically moral to kill a newborn. Many feared acceptance of abortion would place the sanctity of life on a slippery slope, but the truth is these authors suggest it is okay to throw newborns over the bridge railing in much the same way John Jonchuck threw his five year old daughter into the Tampa Bay.
Christians hold life sacred. The psalmist has written, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them,” Psalm 139:16.
I suppose I was aware there are those who viewed human life in such cold, utilitarian terms. But I never thought such ideas would be given a public hearing, or serious consideration. I never thought newborns would be considered expendables.