As a current events observer in search of wisdom (or yes, also, a lack of it), every so often an issue evolves that causes far more than a pregnant pause. In order to accurately dissect the wisdom, allow me to first share the facts. I will omit emotive expression… at least initially.
In the Journal of Medical Ethics released 6-8 weeks ago, 2 Australian philosophers argued the case for “after-birth abortion.” Note that I did not write “partial-birth abortion.” “Partial-birth” is a term created by the pro-life movement. The term “after-birth abortion” was put forth by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. They propose the following:
“When circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible… We propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus… rather than to that of a child. 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.”
The authors stated desire is to reframe infanticide. In their argument, the philosophers suggest that any maternal interest trumps the value of the newborn. Actually, identifying the baby as a “newborn” is not always their choice of words. They write…
“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… In these cases, since non-persons have no moral rights to life, there are no reasons for banning after-birth abortions.”
The baby born is referred to by the 2 intelligent philosophers as a “non-person.” Not “an actual person.”
The above are the facts. Now the emotion.
Are you kidding me?!
“No reason” to ban the practice?
“No harm at all”?
Where is the line between infanticide and abortion? When does murder come into play?
(Note that this coming Thursday, the Intramuralist will again address society’s ethical “slippery slope.” This will serve as example #1. Egad.)
After substantial outrage, no less, to this after-birth article (which the Journal of Medical Ethics has since pulled from public viewing), the authors attempted to extinguish the growing firestorm, suggesting the proposal was never intended for public view; it was solely meant to be an “academic debate” among “fellow bioethicists” already familiar with the topic and arguments.
But tell me, why in academia do the proclaimed most intelligent believe the killing of life is even an appropriate debate? Regardless for who this debate was intended, how can such proposal be deemed ethical by any?
The Intramuralist concludes with a few familiar refrains: first, intelligence and wisdom are definitely not equal. There is no wisdom in this debate, regardless of with whom it takes place and how supposedly smart the participants are. Intelligence and wisdom are not synonyms, a fact of which academia often seems unaware.
And second, allow me to ask: who are we to demean the value of someone else’s life? Whether that be due to income? … race? … gender? … or in this case, a newborn babe?
A person. An actual person. Life.