Ethicists Argue for Acceptance of After Birth Abortions

Hat tip to Iggymom

When is a child a person?  At conception?  Viability?  Birth?  In the last case it is none of the above.  According to Alberto Giubilini of Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne if you don’t want the child and give birth, you have the right to kill it.

Two ethicists working with Australian universities argue in the latest online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so to should be the termination of a newborn.

Alberto Giubilini

Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne write that in “circumstances occur[ing] after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”

The two are quick to note that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion“ as opposed to ”infanticide.” Why? Because it “[emphasizes] that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.” The authors also do not agree with the term euthanasia for this practice as the best interest of the person who would be killed is not necessarily the primary reason his or her life is being terminated. In other words, it may be in the parents’ best interest to terminate the life, not the newborns.

The circumstances, the authors state, where after-birth abortion should be considered acceptable include instances where the newborn would be putting the well-being of the family at risk, even if it had the potential for an “acceptable” life. The authors cite Downs Syndrome as an example, stating that while the quality of life of individuals with Downs is often reported as happy, “such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

This means a newborn whose family (or society) that could be socially, economically or psychologically burdened or damaged by the newborn should

Francesca Minerva

have the ability to seek out an after-birth abortion. They state that after-birth abortions are not preferable over early-term abortions of fetuses but should circumstances change with the family or the fetus in the womb, then they advocate that this option should be made available.

The authors go on to state that the moral status of a newborn is equivalent to a fetus in that it cannot be considered a person in the “morally relevant sense.” On this point, the authors write:

Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. 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.


Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.

Giubilini and Minerva believe that being able to understand the value of a different situation, which often depends on mental development, determines personhood. For example, being able to tell the difference between an undesirable situation and a desirable one. They note that fetuses and newborns are “potential persons.” The authors do acknowledge that a mother, who they cite as an example of a true person, can attribute “subjective” moral rights to the fetus or newborn, but they state this is only a projected moral status.

The authors counter the argument that these “potential persons” have the right to reach that potential by stating it is “over-ridden by the interests of

Francesca Minerva

actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being because, as we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence.”

And what about adoption? Giubilini and Minerva write that, as for the mother putting the child up for adoption, her emotional state should be considered as a trumping right. For instance, if she were to “suffer psychological distress” from giving up her child to someone else — they state that natural mothers can dream their child will return to them — then after-birth abortion should be considered an allowable alternative.

The authors do not tackle the issue of what age an infant would be considered a person.

Read the full story here

I suppose this is the next step by the left to “empower” a woman. Why should anyone be “burdened” or “saddled” with a child.  The child has no value.  It cannot ask work, dress itself, feed itself.  It is nothing to these so-called ethicists.  Ethics?  These two don’t know the meaning of the word.  They feel as long as the “mother” doesn’t want the child, she should have the right to kill it.

The American Declaration of Independence states this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Have we forgotten those words?  Have we forgotten the simplest commandment of G-d:

Deuteronomy Chapter 5


16.  Thou shalt not murder.

Why should a child, born into the world, be MURDERED for the reason that it is inconvenient for the woman.  She should have thought of the consequences of her actions 9 months earlier when she decided to engage in sexual activity.

How a society treats the least and most helpless of its citizens shows how civilized, how mature it is.  This goes against all the rules of society.  But I fear it will be forced on us by those on the left.  First the “mother” choosing to kill her child, then the government forcing women to kill their children.  Especially those children who do not measure up to the government’s idea of perfection.

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  • I honestly think I am going to be physically ill … to what age would said “option” extend? I would submit to you all that these two “ethicists” should be aborted post haste! This is utterly depraved, criminal evil of the Joesph Mengele variety. God help us all.

  • Pingback: The Next Slippery Slope – After Birth Abortions()

  • These so-called “ethicists” are merely taking the Left’s pro-abortion argument to its logical — and monstrous —conclusion. We’re now hearing the justifications that make China’s sex-selective infanticide a reality.

  • Hamsterdance

    And to carry it even farther, if someone ends up on welfare or is otherwise a burden on society (like ethicists, who produce nothing yet suck up money for their “efforts”) the society in question can abort them! Hey, I like that! Drug addicts, homeless, the elderly indigent, or anyone else who relies on society to support them can just be offed! After all, don’t they advocate killing someone when “such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care”?

    There ya go. Legalized murder. I nominate the idiots who wrote that paper as the first candidates.

  • One of Obama’s cabinet members actually advocated that children up to the age of two years old should able to be legally be “aborted”. As the mother of a NICU baby who was born very ill and is now a happy healthy four year old, this horrifies and sickens me.