Killing newborn babies is morally the same as abortion, a publication in The British Medical Journal argued back in 2012.
According to the paper, authored by Monash and Melbourne University academics, the “moral status of the infant is equivalent to that of a fetus”. The authors, however, go on to suggest that “neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.”
The authors argued that “after-birth abortion” can be justified on the basis that the baby is not missing out on a life he or she cannot contemplate. Furthermore, considering that one-third of infants with Down syndrome are not diagnosed in the womb, the authors suggest a mother should have the chance to end the child’s life post-birth.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the article, which claims a foetus and a newborn both lack a sense of life and aspiration, sparked worldwide outrage and even elicited death threats following its publication.
Julian Savulescu, editor at the Journal of Medical Ethics, lamented the “abuse” the article provoked, sharing a number of responses he gathered from the comments section of the conservative news website, The Blaze. These included remarks calling the authors, “evil,” “murderers,” “vile,” “criminal,” “spiritually dead,” and “outrageous.”
Ironically, Savulescu went on to say: “What is disturbing is not the arguments in the paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. 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.”
The thought of post-birth “abortions” and infanticide ought to horrify us, but what’s important to note is that the authors of the paper are actually more honest than most pro-abortion advocates.
In one very important sense, they’re not wrong. Killing a baby inside the womb is not morally better than killing a baby outside of the womb. The fact that you can’t witness the child squirm in pain, that you can’t hear him or her scream out for help, that you don’t see the blood and body parts, does not make the process any more humane. Both are equally immoral because in both instances the abortionist is ending a human life.
All human life is equal. Arguments in favour of abortion often fall into one of four categories, which have been summed up with the acronym SLED: Size; Level of development; Environment; and Degree of dependency.
These four characteristics are entirely arbitrary. Every single argument can be used to justify, not only the murder of the unborn, but the newborn, and beyond. History is filled with examples of the strong disqualifying the weak, vulnerable and defenceless on the basis of similarly arbitrary qualifications.
We congratulate ourselves for our racial progress, our fair and equal treatment of “People of Colour.” We convince ourselves if we were around a hundred years ago or so, we’d offer Rosa Parks our seat and refuse to adopt the racist attitudes of the day. We look with horror and contempt at anyone who even slightly resembles a Nazi and imagine ourselves to be among those who risked their lives for the vulnerable folk who society deemed less than human.
But where is mainstream thought today when a modern-day holocaust is upon us? Politicians, Hollywood celebrities, academics, musicians, and multibillion-dollar corporations are all actively advocating, as R.C. Sproul put it, “a new and more evil holocaust, which sees the destruction of 1.5 million unborn babies every year in the United States alone.”
Society hasn’t progressed. We’ve just shifted our violence to a more vulnerable member of our society, then upped it a hundredfold.