Declaring War on NewbornsYes. People who are personally troublesome should be aborted... at any age. That is the ethic of the totalitarian elitist, the one who is able to decide life/death for others, all for the common good of, well, that doesn't matter: "Common Good" is enough, and it is non-specific, a benefit to any rhetoric.
The authors point out that each of these conditions—the baby is sick or suffering, the baby will be a financial hardship, the baby will be personally troublesome—is now “largely accepted” as a good reason for a mother to abort her baby before he’s born. So why not after?
“When circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.” (Their italics.) Western societies approve abortion because they have reached a consensus that a fetus is not a person; they should acknowledge that by the same definition a newborn isn’t a person either.And of course we need to tell everyone exactly how "person" should be defined:
Neither fetus nor baby has developed a sufficient sense of his own life to know what it would be like to be deprived of it. The kid will never know the difference, in other words. A newborn baby is just a fetus who’s hung around a bit too long.And an ethicist is just an arrogant elitist who has "hung around too long". Not a real person; a parasite. What parasite is defined as a person?
As the authors acknowledge, this makes an “after-birth abortion” a tricky business. You have to get to the infant before he develops “those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.” It’s a race against time.Because "progress" requires more change away from norms, it will never stop. Every change, such as abortion, becomes a norm, and therefore in order to have progress the culture must change even further from that norm. Constant change evermore toward the darkness is required in order to pursue progress. And that's why darkness is rationalized as "good", and the darkness is redefined as "light".
The article doesn’t go on for more than 1,500 words, but for non-ethicists it has a high surprise-per-word ratio. The information that newborn babies aren’t people is just the beginning. A reader learns that “many non-human animals … are persons” and therefore enjoy a “right to life.” (Such ruminative ruminants, unlike babies, are self-aware enough to know that getting killed will entail a “loss of value.”) The authors don’t tell us which species these “non-human persons” belong to, but it’s safe to say that you don’t want to take a medical ethicist to dinner at Outback.
But what about adoption, you ask. The authors ask that question too, noting that some people—you and me, for example—might think that adoption could buy enough time for the unwanted newborn to technically become a person and “possibly increase the happiness of the people involved.” But this is not a viable option, if you’ll forgive the expression. A mother who kills her newborn baby, the authors report, is forced to “accept the irreversibility of the loss.” By contrast, a mother who gives her baby up for adoption “might suffer psychological distress.” And for a very simple reason: These mothers “often dream that their child will return to them. This makes it difficult to accept the reality of the loss because they can never be quite sure whether or not it is irreversible.” It’s simpler for all concerned just to make sure the loss can’t be reversed. It’ll spare Mom a lot of heartbreak.
Now, it’s at this point in the Journal of Medical Ethics that many readers will begin to suspect, as I did, that their legs are being not very subtly pulled. The inversion that the argument entails is Swiftian—a twenty-first-century Modest Proposal without the cannibalism (for now). Jonathan Swift’s original Modest Proposal called for killing Irish children to prevent them “from being a burden to their parents.” It was death by compassion, the killing of innocents based on a surfeit of fellow-feeling. The authors agree that compassion itself demands the death of newborns. Unlike Swift, though, they aren’t kidding.