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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Rational Conclusion

Look, it has been "Holy Week", the week that the Church has recognized for a long time as the final week of Christ's life while on this earth. Why have I had so much stuff on abortion this week? Well, primarily because of the book I've been reading on the subject and the thoughts it has brought up. But also because Easter includes the concept of New Life, and America as a whole is so opposed to life in general that I thought I'd sprinkle this week with life. I anticipate that this will be the last in the series. I make no guarantees.

My typical Saturday fare is not as serious as the rest of the week. This is serious, but it is on the fringe of serious. It is the logical and unavoidable conclusion of the pro-choice position, even if only a very few hold to it.

Last year two Australian academics published a piece in the Journal of Medical Ethics entitled, "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" Drs. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva made the case that, given that a baby and a fetus are of little difference, why shouldn't mothers be allowed to kill their babies? Of course, it didn't go over well, as we would all hope, but it was there just the same. They used the term "after-birth abortion" because it was a matter of choice of the mother and, thus, not infanticide and it wasn't done for the baby and, thus, not euthanasia.

The argument was simple. If there are circumstances that justify terminating the life of a human being in the womb such as a threat to the life or well-being of a mother, why would that justification end at birth?
Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.
How do they come to this? Well, it's all based on standard pro-abortion logic. 1) Placing moral significance based on fetal development is arbitrary. That's the approach of the pro-life crowd and they reject it. 2) Prior to personhood, human life has no moral claim. (That's the argument of Roe v. Wade.) 3) The burden on the woman outweighs the value of the child. Indeed, the value of life depends on choice. Thus, there remains the possibility that reasons that would allow for abortion prior to birth would still exist after birth and the mother and her family should have the right to decide after birth to terminate the life of the baby if the burden on the woman (or family) is too great. They conclude:
If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.
The argument is a problem for pro-abortion folks. They argue that something profound changes at some point in the life of the developing baby that is expressed at birth. What it is they can't quite say. You'd think that such a profound change would be able to be identified, measured, verified, and so on. But it's not. They hold that something magical happens as a fetus passes through a birth canal, but what it is they can't really say. Still, they are so opposed to this (clearly logical) line of reasoning that Giubilini and Minerva have been receiving death threats for the article. I'd say the ball is in their court, though. If the primary concern is the choice of the mother and the welfare of the mother and they hold that the earliest stages of human life do not deserve protection, on what basis do they draw the line and why? Ironically, if they agreed with Giubilini and Minerva they'd be sitting pretty with consistency if nothing else, but everyone knows that a baby deserves to live. So why do they draw their arbitrary line where they do and consider it reasonable?

The pro-abortionist says that they want abortions to be legal. Most demand that they be on demand (that is, up until birth). But, they say, they want them to be "rare". "Safe, legal, and rare," that's the mantra. Currently the United States alone kills 1.3 million babies a year in the womb. That's about 1500 every hour or 25 every minute. I don't know about you, but 25 babies murdered every minute of every day of every year isn't "rare". Nor can it be considered in favor of life by any stretch of the imagination. And here's the kicker. The largest economical interest in the abortion industry is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was started by Margaret Sanger, an activist known for her fights for women's rights and eugenics. So isn't it ironic that Margaret Sanger wrote,
I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.1

To each group we explained simply what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way — no matter how early it was performed it was taking life ...2
Isn't it odd that even Sanger knew what they can't figure out today. Legal? Sure, they've made it that way. Safe? Not at all. (Ask the infant killed.) Rare? Not by the most generous standards.

(Side observation: Why "rare"? If killing a fetus is not murder and pre-born babies have no moral standing and the whole issue is for the good of women's choice, women's health, and women's equality, why "rare"? Why are there nearly zero abortion advocates who classify themselves as "pro-abortion" if abortion kills nothing significant and elevates women? If it is so good, why make it "rare"?)

All arguments for abortion lead logically and inexorably to infanticide and beyond. ("Slippery slope!" you may protest. It's not a slippery slope if it's already a fact. The Netherlands currently allows after-birth abortion.) The question is yours to answer. It's not small. It's not complicated. And it's not harmless. Don't let the emotional twists or women's rights/women's health issues fool you. It is science, not religion, that tells us that every abortion stops a beating heart.
1 Woman and the New Race, Margaret Sanger, 1920.

2 Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, Margaret Sanger, 1938.


David said...

And yet it is science that also tells us that we are really of no value. If it is true that we are merely the spawn of happenstance and not imbued with something special by our Creator, then killing babies as a means of population control or "health" control, isn't immoral because we are just animals. We kill animals all the time, and for the most part we're not opposed to that. Evolution makes us to be not special, so why would it be immoral? All sorts of animals eat their young and we don't see that as immoral, a little disturbing, but morality isn't involved. If we truly are purely natural, morality lays no claim to the value of a life.

Stan said...

Science doesn't actually assign value to human life. That's a human function. Moral or philosophical or even religious. Science says what is human life. But there is almost a universal agreement that it is fundamentally immoral to terminate the life of a human being without sufficient moral cause.

Of course, science will tell you that the constituent parts of your body are worth about $5 if that's any help, and the government suggests that we are worth $9.1 million (EPA) or $7.9 million (FDA), so someone out there is doing the math.

Evolution, by the way, doesn't put a value. It simply implies a universal value. Either we should be able to kill humans like we do animals or we ought to value animals like we do humans. Something is wrong here.