We Can Kill in the Womb, So Why Not Out Of It?

Townhall.com Staff

3/6/2012 12:01:00 AM - Townhall.com Staff

Editor's note: This column was authored by Catherine Glenn Foster, Litigation Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.

For years, defenders of life have warned that the culture of death will – obviously – lead to death: that arguments used to justify killing some people in dire circumstances, via abortion or euthanasia, ultimately undercut arguments against not killing many others for superfluous or even pretextual reasons. Over time, these pro-life predictions have been borne out by increases in gender-based abortions and abortions chosen because the child was predicted be disabled in some way. However, recent developments serve to highlight the dangers of the culture of death to a new and frightening degree.

In the most recent edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics, two ethicists argue that we ought to be able to kill our children after their birth, after we have gotten the chance to hold them in our arms and take family photos. Why?—For the simple reason that we are able to kill them before their birth via abortion.

In other words, they see the slippery slope that defenders of life have been presaging for years, but they’ve inverted it so that, in their minds, it’s a good thing. In their opinion, abortion has normalized the killing of our own children while they’re still inside the womb to such a degree that killing them outside the womb is “morally irrelevant.”

Here’s the abstract for their article:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with 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.

While the rational mind and the conscience trained by truth revolt at these things, there is a way in which they come as no surprise. Once we learn to be comfortable with killing our children while they are out of sight—in the womb—it’s just the next step in acclimating to the culture of death to accept as normal the idea of killing them shortly after they’re outside the womb.

Notice how Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, the ethicists who wrote the piece, don’t even take care to hedge their bets by arguing that such infanticide should only be used in extreme situations. Rather, they argue that it “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

I suppose this means infanticide should be available for parents of a three-day old baby who decide they didn’t want a girl, after all? (It certainly seems to be congruent with what Senator Barbara Boxer said in 1999 when she intimated that a baby doesn’t have “all the rights” of personhood until the mother brings it home from the hospital and it belongs to the family.)

In the end, all Giubilini and Minerva have done is attempt to give us a 21st century justification for killing ourselves. This is just the latest example of why it is absolutely imperative that we recover the Judeo-Christian worldview and assert, once more, the inherent dignity of the human being.