Or, as I really wanted to put it “Have the Balls to Admit you Murder.”
When it comes to the abortion debate, I don’t really have a side. Well, that’s not true, I believe that everything has the “Right To Fight” for its existence. I don’t know that everything has a right to life, and even if it did clearly having the right to something doesn’t mean you’ll get it these days. But I do think that it is best to let things have a chance to “fight” by whatever means they have (strength, agility, cuteness, etc) to preserve their life. As the unborn aren’t really capable of that, well, I think killing them when they can’t fight is a wee bit of a dick move. Then again, sometimes you have to pull the “dick moves” in life. You don’t always get to have the fair fight.
I say this without condoning or condemning. There are times when abortion is needed. Now, I think that this ability is sometimes abused, but that is the case with most abilities.
However, sometimes we run into things that are “beyond the pale” in the debate that push things ever farther.
MOTHERS should be allowed to kill newborn babies, a team of doctors linked to Britain’s Oxford University have claimed.
Mums should be allowed to kill babies they do not want because the children are as “morally irrelevant” as aborted fetuses, the doctors claimed.
Australian philosopher and medical ethicist Dr. Francesca Minerva and Dr. Alberto Giubilini, a bioethicist from the University of Milan, wrote “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” which claims that killing babies is as ethically permissible as abortion.
Dr Minerva and Dr Giubilini argued, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”
They said they had chosen to call the practice “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide “to emphasise 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 said that the newborns were not “actual persons,” only “potential persons” so they did not have a “moral right to life.”
Their definition of a person was “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.”
It could be acceptable to kill newborn babies born with disabilities who “might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole,” the authors said, and healthy children whose adoption would be distressing for the mother.
Parents should have the right to end the lives of their children rather than give the baby up, “if interests of actual people should prevail,” Dr Minerva and Dr Giubilini wrote.
The paper, which was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was edited by Professor Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
He defended the paper and slammed critics who had directed “hostile, abusive, threatening responses” at its authors as “disturbing”.
Prof Savulescu said that Dr Minerva and Dr Giubilini’s paper was not an argument in favor of infanticide, as the idea of killing newborns was “largely not new,” but they had applied these arguments “in consideration of maternal and family interests.”
Now, when it comes to the abortion debate, most people think religiously the issue is clear cut. Christians are anti-abortion, Atheists are generally “pro-choice” (though there seems to be a distinct lack of choice from those I’ve debated and talked to). But when it comes to Pagans, we’re all over the place. Even looking to our Ancestors doesn’t help, as the Romans by all accounts had no issue with abortions, exposure, and using birth control. The Germanic people however were said to frown upon it, and kept all their children that they could (they did practice “exposure” by taking an unwanted infant to the local holy site, but as such a place was likely always occupied by someone, we can debate on if this was actual infanticide or a form of giving the child up for adoption. Whatever the case, it was acceptable only from the poorest families. If you were able to, you were expected to keep the child).
Of course, The article doesn’t have much to do with the Pagan styles of birth control and child care. What it does do is reveal some interesting things about the way some people think, and provide rather dubious moral groundings that open doors I don’t think these guys realize (or they do, in which case they are far more monstrous than I though.)
See, abortion as it is works because people can argue that because the child hasn’t drawn breath outside the womb, it isn’t a person. I’m not entirely sure I agree with this, but it’s a pretty clear demarcation so we can work with it. Inside mommy, it’s her body and she can do with it as she pleases, as they say. Which is fair enough, a woman does have the right to her own body and to control it, at least in our society.
Moving the line past that point and saying that the child can be killed post-birth, however, brings much more murk to the issue. While unborn, the baby/infant/fetus/whatever-you-wanna-call it is in the domain of the mother and only she can decide it’s fate (which violates both the rights of child and father, but that is a discussion for another time). But once it’s outside, who gets to pick? If it’s a non-person, can anyone “abort” the infant? No longer is it the Mother’s sole choice, what if the Father decides he doesn’t want it. Or an older sibling, made jealous? Who now has the rights to abort the unwanted child? And at what point does it have living rights?
This isn’t a new issue, it’s been discussed for a while. Some say the first year, some say the first three. A few even argue for as long as the child is dependent on the parent (though I can’t help but wonder if they aren’t trying to get that as a legal way for them to kill their rebellious teens).
So if it becomes an issue of “dependent on my support, I chose if you live or die” situation (which really would be the only way to justify post-birth abortion in the long term) where does it end? At what age are children beyond the support of their parents (and how many would die because an angry and abusive parent decided that they no longer wanted their child?) What about husbands or wives dependent on their spouse? We see the results of cultures where women are naught but chattel belonging to their husbands.
Or if it’s a matter of “seeing it as a loss to oneself” by being killed, how do we know that the newly born would not see it as such. Are we to assume just because they cannot speak that they cannot experience and reason, in their own way. What of the “mentally retarded?” Should we then consider them less human because they cannot reason as we do? If a “retarded” person can’t recognize that their death would mean a loss to them does that mean it is okay to kill them as they are not “morally” a person, as these scientists suggest it is with a new born? I think I’ve heard historically of people using that argument.
The results were far from what anyone should feasibly call “moral.”
But those are tangents. The real start of the issue comes from the fact that the scientists in the article say it is okay to kill the new born because they are not a person. That such is ethically acceptable. Ignoring the part of myself that shudders upon such an abuse of the word “ethical” (I may be evil, but even I have standards, such as they are) it seems a great act of hypocrisy to proclaim that the killing of a new-born child to be ethical after it has drawn living breath and tasted free life, simply because it is not “morally” a person.
If you want to kill the kid, fine. But have the balls to admit what you’re doing. You’re committing an act of violence and death. You are killing a living creature. Don’t wrap it up in pretty words and declare it ethical because the victim is “not a person.” I’m fine with the art of killing, that’s not my problem. But if you do kill, don’t dress it up. Face it, with honesty, and admit that you took a life dependent upon you. We can argue that before birth it’s not a person. After birth, it is a living being to me. If you must kill, then kill. But don’t try to “justify” it by claiming your victim isn’t a person. That is the worst kind of weakness.