A British medical journal is defending the publication of an article that argues it should be permissible to kill newborn babies because they don’t have the “same moral standing as actual persons.”
“After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” was published last week in the Journal of Medical Ethics. It was written by Alberto Giubilini, of the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva, of the University of Melbourne and Oxford University.
The writers suggested that newborn babies are morally equivalent “potential persons” whose family’s interests override theirs, according to the Sydney Morning News.
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.”
Both academics said they have received death threats after writing their paper, which Minerva said was “theoretical” and intended for an academic community.
“This was a theoretical and academic article,” she told the newspaper. “I didn’t mean to change any laws. I’m not in favor of infanticide. I’m just using logical arguments.”
But pro-life advocates in the United States scoffed at such a defense.
“It’s not just theoretical,” said David Prentice, a senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council. “As soon as you propose this type of idea, there are people who will pick it up and try to put it into practice.”
Prentice said the academic paper is further evidence “of the erosion of any sort of consideration for human life and human dignity.”
Prentice, who has a Ph.D. in Bio-chemistry, said article shows how this could “easily become a real life and death situation for many people.”
“They are saying a newborn essentially has no moral standing as a human being,” Prentice told Fox News.
Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, said the medical journal exposed the true nature of the pro-choice movement.
“Those of us who are pro-life should welcome this article because it unmasks the pro-choice movement for what it really is – a license to kill,” Jeffress told Fox News. “This is more indicative of the culture of death in which we are living. This shows the natural end of the abortion argument – which is killing children for convenience.”
Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, condemend the article.
“This is deeply, darkly disturbing,” she told Fox News. “It’s just carrying the abortion argument to its logical conclusion – that there are only certain rights for human beings and perhaps when you reach a certain level that society judges you useful, that you have full rights to life.”
The company that owns the Journal of Medical Ethics strongly defended the authors and their article, while denouncing critics as “fanatics.”
“What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal,” wrote Julian Savulescu, editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics. “It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.
But Jeffress said all movements start somewhere.
“Every movement begins with an academic argument to lay the moral justification,” he said. “That certainly included the genocide that took place in the Holocaust. You have to have an academic basis before society will buy into something.”
“I believe it would have been unthinkable fifty years ago that our nation would have legalized the killing of unborn children in the womb,” Jeffress said. “What is unthinkable today becomes a part of public policy ten years from now.”
And Nance said that what the article is advocating is not exactly a new concept.
“We also saw this same line of reasoning from Peter Singer at Princeton University,” she said. “He has argued that there should be a time after a child is born that parents decide whether or not they want to keep it.”