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Infanticide
March 1, 2012 2:38 AM   Subscribe

After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

Julian Savulescu (twitter - website - wikipedia), editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, respond to some criticism* here.

* Like: Here’s the “projected moral status” you comunisti italiani pigs would get: Bang, bang. Drop in toxic waste dump reserved for left-wing contaminants.”
posted by - (49 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: If you're going to make a post on this topic it needs to be worded differently from this. -- jessamyn



 
This...aaaaaah...
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:40 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Links isn't working for me... I don't really understand what this post is.

Can you give us a bit more of a explanation, - ?
posted by panaceanot at 2:45 AM on March 1, 2012


panaceanot, here is the abstract:
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.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:49 AM on March 1, 2012


Please, please, read the whole article, not just the abstract.
posted by - at 2:51 AM on March 1, 2012


This looks to be a massive troll on the part of Savulescu. Outside of that, the scavaging for attention I don't see the point of the essay.

However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises. The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.

Trolling. Unless, of course you can twist your brain into a shape that would accept that a fetus is morally identical to a newborn. Which statement forces me to define 'fetus' in terms which convey the grounds for my maintaining that they are not morally identical. Well, fuck you troll.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:54 AM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of The Pre-persons by PK Dick.
posted by Ian Scuffling at 2:59 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her

There are full blown adult humans for whom this is questionable.
posted by Rubbstone at 3:05 AM on March 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I for one would welcome the definition of a person as "an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her". This would get rid of quite the few dysfunctional adults out there.
posted by knz at 3:06 AM on March 1, 2012


This is destined for grar, but before the deletions or the screaming, there are a few things that gave me pause for thought.

Holland already allow for new-borns to be killed in situations where the new-born is in insufferable pain.

As repugnant as this is, I see very few news stories where new-borns are killed by their mothers where my overwhelming reaction is "this is not the mothers fault." The majority of new-born infanticides seem to be scared teenagers leaving children to the elements & mothers breaking and killing their child because they can't cope. Morally, I find it hard to judge these people.

Much has been made of the fact that mothers are allowed to kill the new-born if they can't afford it. On the whole, this is an awful thing to say, but it assumes a western perspective. I'm sure there are many countries in the world where not being able to afford a child may unduly impact your or your other childrens ability to survive.

It's a tricky subject to talk about, and as a subject it's already been hijacked by people who are using it to reinforce pro-choice and pro-life narratives. But these narratives don't take into account the sheer messiness of life. I'm happy that this article has been posted to metafilter because I sincerely want to hear what people think about the subject. I fear that the emotional response may overwhelm an actual useful discussion though.
posted by zoo at 3:06 AM on March 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


The denial of rights to the newborn hangs on the following paragraph:

"Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims. However, this consideration entails a much stronger idea than the one according to which severely handicapped children should be euthanised. If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet."

and a resultant conflation between the status of the fetus and the newborn

"If a potential person, like a fetus and a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then there is neither an actual nor a future person who can be harmed, which means that there is no harm at all. So, if you ask one of us if we would have been harmed, had our parents decided to kill us when we were fetuses or newborns, our answer is ‘no’, because they would have harmed someone who does not exist (the ‘us’ whom you are asking the question), which means no one. And if no one is harmed, then no harm occurred."

The conflation between fetus and newborn requires ignoring the presence of sentience, and thus an implicit claim that sentience does not imply personhood. The authors do not effectively justify the stance sentience must be purposive to be of value, and indeed an effective unaddressed counterargument could question the statement that aims are not formed.

The sentience of the newborn is clearly present, and indeed even the authors state that the newborn reacts negatively to pain. It therefore seems problematic to make an argument that depends on no sense of purpose being present, as we have at least the goal to avoid pain. In addition, the paper fails to deal with the fact that newborns imitate behaviour such as tongues being stuck out and are probably focussed on building a mental map of the world before higher level purpose can be gained (but again, it would have to be explained how exploration is not an aim).

So I wouldn't say fuck you troll, but the argument is not that well constructed.
posted by jaduncan at 3:07 AM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I feel that this is a more accurate (incrementally less inflammatory) representation of the question being examined in this article:

A serious philosophical problem arises when the same conditions that would have justified abortion become known after birth. In such cases, we need to assess facts in order to decide whether the same arguments that apply to killing a human fetus can also be consistently applied to killing a newborn human.

And they are talking about a time frame of a few days after birth, during which time the conditions (severe abnormalities, economic situation, other factors that might lead to suffering or poor quality of life for the infant) that might, earlier in the pregnancy, have resulted in abortion can be assessed.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:09 AM on March 1, 2012


The problem people seem to have with questions like this is an inability to distinguish between someone raising a challenging ethical question to encourage reflection and debate, and someone suggesting that our gut instincts are irrelevant, and that we should be made to do something we find abhorrent. Ultimately, of course, shifts in our collective moral stance will effect changes in society, but confusing the question "what is the moral difference between a fetus and a newborn?" with call to action is precisely the reason why not everyone can participate in the debate.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:10 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


A troll who wants to take your firstborn. This thread may not have a fairy-tale ending ...
posted by iotic at 3:11 AM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks jaduncan, that's a much more temperate and reasonable response. What got/gets my hackles up is the blatantly provocative stating of their main premise. There is a point to be weighed in this mess but not, I don't think, as put forth in the essay - at least not with that language.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:13 AM on March 1, 2012


There is an assumption in all these conversations that there is less value placed by the law on foetuses than there is on other life. I don't actually believe that there is. Abortion is allowed, but if you cause an abortion and the mother wants the child, this is treated very seriously. I'm only half-remembering this and details may be wrong, but I think there was a case recently where a woman was stabbed in the stomach and lost her child. I believe this was treated as severely as murder.
posted by zoo at 3:13 AM on March 1, 2012


What the authors call "after birth abortion" every one else calls "euthanasia".

The real question which the authors avoid - by focusing on morality - is the very simple question of when does "it" become vested with the rights of any other citizen?

This for me is the where nonsense of the "life begins at birth" theology collapses, because the inevitable conclusion of "life begins at conception" is that citizenship would also begin at conception compelling the government to accept the same obligations towards that citizen as towards any other citizen. In this regard, pro-life small government conservatives are standing on a very slippery slope indeed.

To my way of thinking, once the cord is cut separating "it" from the mother, that thing is a citizen deserving of every right and protection as any other citizen. Full stop.
posted by three blind mice at 3:14 AM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I skimmed the whole thing. It's a really interesting article and idea.

Honestly, I've thought about this before in the context of what would happen if I were to ever give birth to a baby with severe disabilities, the sort that would mean this baby would never be able to be independent. It's frustrating to me to think that I would be considered morally or otherwise obligated to give up my life (or large portions of it in some form--time and/or money) to care for and keep alive a being that will never achieve independence and perhaps never communicate on anything beyond a basic level.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:14 AM on March 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holland already allow for new-borns to be killed in situations where the new-born is in insufferable pain.

So do we, it's 'infant palliative care' combined with a request to 'make sure it isn't in pain' and resultant prescription of opiates.
posted by jaduncan at 3:16 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This for me is the where nonsense of the "life begins at birth"....

Sorry. I meant "life begins at conception". For the record, I am firmly on the side that citizenship begins at birth. My opinion about when life begins is my own business.
posted by three blind mice at 3:21 AM on March 1, 2012


What the authors call "after birth abortion" every one else calls "euthanasia".

No sorry, it's not euthanasia, it's Infanticide. Euthanasia is a free choice.
posted by - at 3:22 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It might start having expectations and develop a minimum level of self-awareness at a very early stage, but not in the first days or few weeks after birth.

Essentially before a baby knows anything about 'life' their life can be taken as they will not know what they are missing and hence will not suffer the loss. So it is ok to take what people don't know they have. This is unethical.

Love the use of language 'after-birth-abortion' not infanticide.

Judge: You stand acccused of killing your baby.
Mother: I fell it was a burden so I 'after-birth-aborted' it..
Judge: Oh ok...
posted by therubettes at 3:23 AM on March 1, 2012


I think the purpose of calling it "after birth abortion" is to emphasize that they are applying to the newborn infant the same factors that might have earlier led to an abortion, and if/why the moral situation changes once the fetus is born.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:25 AM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


They're not talking about euthanasia. They explicitly say that euthanasia is something that is done for someone to end their suffering. They are presupposing the newborn is healthy and not suffering, but that 'post-birth abortion' could be ethically performed to alleviate the suffering of, say, the parents.
posted by Ritchie at 3:28 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ritchie:
Euthanasia is not something that is done to someone, euthanasia is chosen by someone.
posted by - at 3:31 AM on March 1, 2012


I think the purpose of calling it "after birth abortion" is to emphasize that they are applying to the newborn infant the same factors that might have earlier led to an abortion, and if/why the moral situation changes once the fetus is born.

I understand their use of language. It does seem to me though that the certainty that It [the baby] might start having expectations and develop a minimum level of self-awareness at a very early stage, but not in the first days or few weeks after birth.

How can they claim to know this? Are they using evidence or does it conveniently overlap with the period in which pre-birth unknown birth defects are discovered.

Most babies cry when they are born I assume with the expectation of being held, fed etc...
posted by therubettes at 3:32 AM on March 1, 2012


Henchman 24: Here's something. You know how people cry about aborting babies because of their soul? Turns out you don't get a soul until you're like one.

Henchman 21: So, weird, one. Really?

Henchman 24: Or maybe six months. I forget. Either way, you're just this little crying, pooing monster blob until you get your soul.
posted by emmtee at 3:35 AM on March 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


How can they claim to know this? Are they using evidence or does it conveniently overlap with the period in which pre-birth unknown birth defects are discovered.

Most babies cry when they are born I assume with the expectation of being held, fed etc...


Both sides of that argument are [citations needed], yes. That's why it's a bit irritating that the paragraph that's so crucial to the argument is [medical citations needed] in a journal of medical ethics. A better article would at least engage with the arguments from paediatric neurology and psych.
posted by jaduncan at 3:37 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are presupposing the newborn is healthy and not suffering, but that 'post-birth abortion' could be ethically performed to alleviate the suffering of, say, the parents.

Would the parents walking away not alleviate the suffering of the parents. I don't think that living, breathing, crying babies should be killed (whatever the reason). The article has not convinced me of a good reason to do it.
posted by therubettes at 3:37 AM on March 1, 2012


How can they claim to know this? Are they using evidence or does it conveniently overlap with the period in which pre-birth unknown birth defects are discovered.

Yeah, I don't know. The argument kind of hinges on their definition of the fetus and newborn infant as "potential persons." When does a human stop being a potential human and become a human? They just kind of gloss over this seemingly critical question.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:40 AM on March 1, 2012


For quite a while infanticide has been a "lesser form of killing" by law until very recently in Germany and I think in other European countries.

I remember when we were studying "Faust" in German class in the mid nineties, we talked about how ridiculous it was that Gretchen was facing the death penalty for killing her newborn back then, when today she would probably look at one to two years probation.

Not even twenty years later the law in this regard has shifted so much again that she could face the death penalty again, if the death penalty was still legal in Germany. There have been quite a few life-sentences recently and probation has become very rare.

It's quite interesting to study the social and political changes behind the shift in law.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 3:43 AM on March 1, 2012


Euthanasia is not something that is done to someone, euthanasia is chosen by someone.

I said it was done for someone, not to them. The element of choice is not mentioned by the article, so I didn't mention it either.
posted by Ritchie at 3:45 AM on March 1, 2012


For reference, the wiki link to the Groningen Protocol (the Netherlandic rules on permissible infanticide), which includes a review of cases where it was used.
posted by molecicco at 4:08 AM on March 1, 2012


What a dark yet highly-relevant topic. It's not just limited to babies but also the elderly. As medical technology improves such that we are capable of sustaining the life of individuals despite physical or mental problems, we are going to have to address this issue, both as individuals and a society.

This immediately brings to mind the discussion going on about war veterans in 'modern' wars. Several years ago, there was a debate about citing the results of war on servicemen in the American armed forces. Official numbers were mention in the context of significantly reduced casualties in comparison with previous wars. However, when the injury statistics were added, it became apparent that significant human costs were still incurred, however injuries that would have previously been lethal, now could be managed.

The result is a population of injured individuals that exist in a grey area, for society has not developed adequate supporting mechanisms (in my opinion) to deal with the substantial number of service people that were not killed, but are no longer capable of functioning independently.

Similarly, as medical technology has evolved to save infants that previously would have been unviable, the social effects on the parents, families, and society at large, must be addressed simultaneously.

And there exist infinite minituae that compound the complexity of this argument. On one hand, we absolutely must protect life and attitudes toward human rights for all people. Keeping that absolute in mind, we will encounter significant conflicts in applying those rights in practice.

The argument for and against abortion provide a foundation, and the article (not the abstract) makes ample reference to abortion for that this reason. If abortion is de facto illegal, it is possible for a man to literally to enslave a woman to a child that she does not want. If abortion is permissable in the case of rape, there is the capability of the woman to terminate the pregnancy, however the burden of proof, so to speak, is on her -- a modified form of 'guily until proven innocent'. If abortion is freely available to all, women finally achieve parity status with men in terms of taking care of baby.

Where this paper goes seems to be projecting forward the rights of a woman to terminate a pregnancy into the moments immediately after birth, which is a logical extension of the arguement. What it forces -- as mentioned above -- is a discussion over when a person actually becomes a person an attains rights. So far, we have absolute examples (at the moment of conception, when the entity leaves the mother's body) and relative examples derived from compromises of the absolute (the first trimester, medical necessity based on condition x, y, z).

And it's a very difficult moral task. If abortion is 'too easy', the argument is made that some women will end up using it as birth control or an exercise of power again male partners. If abortion is 'too difficult', women are stripped of human rights and forced into a role dictated by their biology.

As I write this, it comes to mind that this is obviously the kind of discussion that results from a male-dominated society -- "how much control does the society given women in terms of their reproduction" and I wonder what the argument would be in either a truly balanced or female-led society.

Long thought and many discussions over time have evolved the thinking that men cannot -- and should not endeavour -- to make prescriptive edicts when it comes to reproduction, which is both fundamental to the general society yet also experience de facto by one individual. No man has ever carried a child to term (in my knowledge), thus the current structuring of legal and social implication in society feels like -- pardon the vulgarity of the description -- but someone who has no contact with a sport defining it's essential rules. Any rules made in that construct are essentially arbitrary at best and socially violent at worst.

And the perspective is immediately relevant, for men and women outside of a specific pregnancy make comments like "well you shouldn't have had sex then" or "it's your responsibility to take care of this child, even though it will never be indepedent, at best, and absorb the rest of your life, at worst."

I don't think any woman goes into a pregnancy with bad intentions. There may be perverse incentives set up -- payments for additional children -- that influence her decision, but it does not make sense that a woman would go into pregnancy with an innate sense of malice. Of course there are counter anecdotes, however we must assume that given the impact of pregnancy on a woman's life, the vast majority of women will treat that pregnancy with a high-degree of consideration and care.

Then, the argument is that if we afford rights to a woman during pregnancy to terminate the pregnancy, why would we not extend those rights into the moments immediately after pregnancy, when a great deal of additional information about the viability of that offspring is determined. If she would have aborted if she had known, but she did not know (for whatever reason), why do her rights evaporate at the moment of birth. Again, a difficult topic, but very relevant.

A generation ago, many offspring of low viability would have simply succumbed shortly after birth, however, now we can keep humans of low viability alive for a considerable amount of time. Thus, we must reinvestigate our moral and legal position now that the situation has changed.

There are two points of consideration that work by logical extension from this paper:
1) Low-viability offspring can and do literally enslave their parents, destroying the futures of the parents outside of caring for the offspring itself. Thus, by affording unassailable rights to all offspring, we are immediately putting people at risk of losing their own rights.

2) The decision to terminate a pregnancy for any reason is undoubtly not easy for a parent or set of parents. One of the fundamental points of human existance is to reproduce and we are wired to care for our offspring. Destroying a pregnancy or infant for any reason has significant emotional impacts on the parents. Nobody wants to have an abortion. In fact, if the abortion rate is "too high", I would actually say you have a problem with availablity of female contraception.

The obvious solution and middle ground may be to create a set of criteria under which a woman is allowed to pass care and 'ownership' of her offspring to the state. If we are against infanticide for any reason yet we afford a woman the right to choose up until the moment of birth, we as a society must take on the responsibility for unviable offspring. Thus, it would be giving women a choice, that if upon birth, the offspring is seen to be unviable for reasons previously unknown, the woman has the option of either taking the baby on (which undoubtably many would do) or passing it into the care and control of the state. At that point, we can decide together whether we will devote resources to maintaining that life, or terminate it, as which point the blood will be on our shared hands.

That in my mind is the best we can do in this moment for a problem with ambiguity such as this.

That being said, I shudder to think what will happen with the male-dominated anti-abortionists in the United States get ahold of this. Already I can see the headline in Jesusland -- "Holland kills babies".

Regardless, it is becoming apparent that we are going to have to deal with the way in which women's reproductive rights are managed legally. We have been putting band-aid after band-aid on the problem for some time, and now we are approaching a point of reckoning where either we will extend full and equally human rights to women and bear the cost as a society, or we will admit that we like our world better when the legal victimisation of women is something not only that we tolerate, but that we actively promote and enjoy.

Perhaps it is obvious from this post where my own sentiments fall.
posted by nickrussell at 4:17 AM on March 1, 2012 [15 favorites]


Newborn babies are cute, and fetuses are, for the most part, not. They don't really 'look' human. Human beings are evolutionarily hard-wired to care about newborn babies. But not things that look like tadpoles or whatever.

Anyway, this is (I assume) mostly an attempt to stir the pot in order to make the argument that if you think infanticide is wrong, you should also think abortion is wrong.
posted by delmoi at 4:27 AM on March 1, 2012


euthanasia is chosen by someone.

This is wrong, assuming you mean that the person doing the dying is the person doing the choosing. Euthanasia is good death, happy death or easy death, but choice is not a necessary part of it.
posted by jon1270 at 4:32 AM on March 1, 2012


In 18th century Japan, they didn't distinguish between abortion and infanticide and both were acceptable, until elites started worrying about the stagnant population in the 19th century.

/interesting things you learn talking to historical demographers.
posted by jb at 4:56 AM on March 1, 2012


Delmoi: for a given value of fetus is the problem. My micro-premi relative? At 26 weeks you are still pretty fetal, even if you happen to have been born. I have many questions about the rightness of using extreme measures to save kids like this at all costs, but I sure do love playing board games and camping with her now, eight years later.
posted by Iteki at 4:58 AM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


A generation ago, many offspring of low viability would have simply succumbed shortly after birth, however, now we can keep humans of low viability alive for a considerable amount of time.

So in a very real way this is a "First World Problem". A woman living in a remote location without access to advanced medical care will not be forced to care for a low viability infant, because it will soon die in such circumstances. Seems another argument for the "collective responsibility" you outline, nickrussel... the woman has not on her own decided that we will make such technology available to save low viability newborns.

I am really glad that this is just a theoretical discussion for me and not a personal one.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:58 AM on March 1, 2012


Most of the time, when we're arguing about abortion, we're really arguing about whether women should be allowed to escape punishment for their sinful ways, and all this nonsense about abortion is just a handle conservatives can twist on -- very, very hard -- to try to force women to 'behave morally'. They don't give a fuck about the baby, they care about the woman. So we get into argument after argument after argument, and it's never really settled, because we're not arguing for the same reasons. Liberals actually want to reduce abortions to the minimum possible. Conservatives are demonstrably willing -- nay, eager, to increase the number of abortions performed, and to directly put women in danger of death, if they think it will stop them from having as much sex.

But the one thing that's really clear in that whole false debate, the one absolutely bright line, is that once a fetus is born and is viable, it's a baby, and a person. Hardly anyone in all of Western civilization would disagree. Once it's on its own, nobody else's life or health is at risk from its existence. Therefore, the same metrics apply to whether or not we can kill it as whether or not we can kill anyone else. I could certainly see cases where that might be justified -- as zoo says upthread, the baby could be in incurable agony, and killing it would be merciful.

But once it's actually physically out of the mother, that's not an abortion, no matter what.
posted by Malor at 4:59 AM on March 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have many questions about the rightness of using extreme measures to save kids like this at all costs,

For me, the line for a fetus becoming a person is at about 24 weeks, when it wakes up. Heroic efforts to save a conscious person seem appropriate, even if it is a blurry, unformed consciousness. That's where I personally draw the line between 'fetus' and 'baby', though I wouldn't presume to draw it for anyone else.
posted by Malor at 5:02 AM on March 1, 2012


It's frustrating to me to think that I would be considered morally or otherwise obligated to give up my life (or large portions of it in some form--time and/or money) to care for and keep alive a being that will never achieve independence and perhaps never communicate on anything beyond a basic level.

This statement makes me mad. Please, please re-think your attitude toward people with disabilities.
posted by gauche at 5:04 AM on March 1, 2012


Already I can see the headline in Jesusland -- "Holland kills babies".

Dear USA,

Please vote correctly in November. I live too close to The Hague - I do not want to have to start worrying about them carpet-bombing that town.
posted by DreamerFi at 5:17 AM on March 1, 2012


This seems like a rehash of some of the things Michael Tooley and Peter Singer were saying as early as the 1970s.
posted by fremen at 5:26 AM on March 1, 2012


The point of abortion rights is that pregnancy takes place inside the mother's body, and therefore, carrying a pregnancy to term involves both risks and burdens to her that, say, putting a born child up for adoption does not. This is why it's her choice before birth.

Once a child is born, the situation has changed. You could posit a situation in which caring for an infant was a risk/burden to a woman's health, of course. However, it is possible to mitigate this through adoption and social programs. There is no way to mitigate that burden and risk while the fetus is inside the woman.
posted by emjaybee at 5:28 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the one thing that's really clear in that whole false debate, the one absolutely bright line, is that once a fetus is born and is viable, it's a baby, and a person. Hardly anyone in all of Western civilization would disagree. Once it's on its own, nobody else's life or health is at risk from its existence.

I fully agree with this. Abortion is not about the fetus, it's about the woman, her life and health. Nobody can force you to bear a child against your will. But once the child can continue in its existence without harm or burden to her, then she can only forsake it, and has no choice in whether its existence continues. So long as somebody else is willing to bear the burden of raising that child, then euthanasia is not on the table. The argument over the child's selfhood is wholly irrelevant.
posted by Jehan at 5:29 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm reminded of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal.
posted by jon1270 at 5:33 AM on March 1, 2012


Shit mates no ones reading ar' fancy medical ethics journal. Quick, publish an article about killing babies! Chick ching!!!
posted by norabarnacl3 at 5:37 AM on March 1, 2012


It's not trolling. It's almost the same argument that Peter Singer made in Practical Ethics, and unless you assume a priori that moral personhood starts at birth and that's just the end of the matter it's difficult to rebut except with eye-rolling or INNOCENT BABIES HOW DARE YOU.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:38 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's no line you can draw at any point between blastocyte and human being that everyone is ever going to agree on.
posted by empath at 5:48 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


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