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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro-infanticide paper is disturbing, but no surprise

Posted by Paul Smeaton on 14 March 2012

A pro-infanticide academic paper recently published in the British Medical Journal and entitled: "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" has attracted widespread media coverage and a degree of shock among the general public.

The paper and what it is advocating is of course highly disturbing, but not particularly surprising.

Peter Singer, the prominent Australian bioethicist has been advocating an even more extreme position for years. In 1979 he wrote:

"Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons"; therefore, "the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee."

Reference: Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 1st ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), page 122–23.

In 1993 Singer said that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot. He has also expressed opinions suggesting that children at a later age are not persons.

In 1998 he was appointed as Decamp Professor of Bio-Ethics at Princeton University, USA, a position which he still holds along with being Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

So this is not the first sign of approval within the academic world for the view that newborn babies can be murdered shortly after birth. Equally disturbing views have been welcomed for decades.

At the time that the media picked up on this story Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, was quoted in the Huffington Post UK and the Sun, saying:

The paper proves what pro-lifers have long been arguing: that the common arguments for abortion also justify infanticide. There is no difference in moral status between a child one day before birth and a child one day after birth.

Birth is merely a change of location, not a change from non-personhood to personhood. International human rights law makes no distinction between human beings according to various theories about what constitutes personhood.

All human beings, regardless of age, location or capacities, are regarded in international law as equal members of the human family and thus as having an equal right to life. This chilling promotion of infanticide is a measure of how abortion is creating a culture of death.

It is good that many people in our society are still shocked by the idea of infanticide. I hope that people who are shocked now will be prepared to oppose infanticide should there ever be any moves to legalise it in the UK.

It might also reasonably be hoped that the shock people experience when infanticide is seriously proposed in  a leading academic journal will arouse their consciences to respond to the horror of abortion, which is not confined to speculative academic papers, but is a cruel reality for 570 babies in the UK every day. The video below makes this point very powerfully. Please share it with your friends and contacts.

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