Monday, May 7, 2012

George will on "after-birth abortions"

George Will, in an essay on a different topic, has an emphatic paragraph on the emerging concept on medical ethics of "after-birth abortion". I kid you not.

Controversies can be wonderfully clarified when people follow the logic of illogical premises to perverse conclusions. For example, two academics recently wrote in the British Journal of Medical Ethics that “after-birth abortions” — killing newborn babies — are matters of moral indifference because newborns, like fetuses, “do not have the same moral status as actual persons” and “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant.” So killing them “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” This helpfully validates the right-to-life contention that the pro-abortion argument, which already defends third-trimester abortions, contains no standard for why the killing should be stopped by arbitrarily assigning moral significance to the moment of birth.

This is for real. Medical ethics is going to some very bad places-- I see it evolving in my practice.

A darkness is descending.


  1. not have the same moral status as actual persons” and “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant...

    Was talking about atheists...

  2. Prior to the agricultural revolution it is estimated that the rate of infanticide was between 15% and 50% of all births. For most of human history killing babies was the primary means of ensuring that hunter-gatherer populations did not exceed the carrying capacity of their territory.


    1. and you're returning to infanticide. Just like old times.

    2. KW,
      Are you defending the practice of infanticide? Could you clarify please?

  3. Mike,
    This topic horrifies me on a personal level, as I have an infant in the home right now. For someone to suggest he is not a person and to promote the killing of healthy children his age moves me to violent emotions similar to those inspired by the most criminal and evil enemies I have ever faced in foreign conflict. Lab coats or clerics robes - no matter. Targeting and deliberately killing children is EVIL of the highest order.

    Even if we were to take these vague estimates at face value and accept there has been people committing infanticide through out history (they have, regionally and culturally) - what is your point?
    That bronze age Pagans sacrificed their children for the crops or nomad's for the herd, so it is okay for us to do it today in the 21st century? What happened to 'progress'?

    To this line of thought I have two considerations:
    First it is objectively EVIL to kill innocents. There is no debate on this matter. You start killing infants, and other people will be moved start killing YOUR people too.
    Just the way it is.

    Secondly, it is as unsuccessful strategy to kill your own young in order to gain the favour of Earth. Crazy and superstitious behaviour like this is simply counter productive. It does not keep you 'lean and mean', it keeps you week and inbred.
    You should familiarize yourself with the Sacking of Carthage and the religion of Canaan for just two examples of the successes of such cultures in the West.

  4. Speaking of the infanticide industry... You cannot make this stuff up:

    1. My own post on the subject: