Questions of statism 61

In its February issue, the Journal of Medical Ethics published an article titled: After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.

Glenn Beck’s newscast The Blaze reports:

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 newborn’s.

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.”

The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Professor Julian Savulescu, said that those who object are “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.

Regardless of your views on abortion – a subject that even atheists cannot, we have found to our dismay, debate rationally – we invite your reasoned arguments for or against the killing of children if their existence is inconvenient for their parents, or a burden on the welfare state.

If you are for it:

Under what age is a child disposable? 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years? Why that age?

How should the child be killed?

Should a child be killed only if it is abnormal? Should all abnormal children be condemned to death? What degree of abnormality would mark him/her for killing?

Should any child who is a burden or nuisance to its parents be destroyed?

Should the parents alone have the right to decide on the child’s elimination? What if they disagree with each other ?

Since the welfare state supports the lives of the people, would it also be right for the state to kill those it no longer chooses to support? If so, on what grounds would this be justified – age, physical health, deformity, mental health, political activity, political opinion, general non-conformism, unpopularity, any?

At what level of government should such a decision be taken, and should it be taken by a single bureaucrat or a committee?

What method of killing should the state use?

Should the organs of parent- or state-condemned children/citizens be regularly harvested for transplant? Should children/citizens be killed in order that their organs may be harvested?

Would it be acceptable for freshly killed people to be eaten? Should human meat be sold by butchers?

Discussion need not be limited to these questions. Any aspect of the topic may be examined.

*

Afterword (March 9, 2012)

Giubilini and Minerva, the authors of the paper advocating that newborns who are a nuisance to a parent or “society” should be killed, have issued this sort-of apology:

We are really sorry that many people, who do not share the background of the intended audience for this article, felt offended, outraged, or even threatened. We apologise to them, but we could not control how the message was promulgated across the internet and then conveyed by the media. In fact, we personally do not agree with much of what the media suggest we think.

Their suggestion is that reaction to what they wrote is merely emotional: “people … felt offended, outraged, or even threatened”. Such people, they imply, are not capable of the superior detached ratiocination that they themselves and their “intended audience” bring to ethical questions. Yet it is they who did not think out objectively the results of their recommendation if it were to be enacted in law. And what they meant was perfectly clear and not distorted by the media.

Check out the whole article on their weasel-worded apology here.

  • Winabi

    Why this debate on an atheist blog site?Is this some pretence that atheism has some/any basis for moral choices? Naturalism which is a ground rule for atheism leaves no such possibility. Physicals and chemistry is all. Amen. How can an atheist classify any individual as having any worth, let alone any more or less worth then another?

    • Frank

      Sam Harris: Science Can Answer Moral Questions
      http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html

    • Keith

      Do you think morality came into being after religion? 

      It isn’t a pretense because we don’t need religion to be a basis for our moral choices. It is sad that you do, that you need belief in a “superior ” being to know that killing babies is just plain wrong.

      Unlike you I hold all life in high regard until that particular life does something to warrant a change in my opinion.

      Now go tell your friends how you put the atheists in their place and leave the thinking to us. Idiot!

      • George

        Well Keith my man , sometimes I think this website is a troll-magnet.    Winabi  isn’t the first and I’m sure he won’t be the last.  

    • George

                       Winabi , you are typical of the gullible THEISTS ( aka- religionists ) who come upon secular websits for the sake of engaging in trolling behavior. Instead of stating one way or another  why you agree or disagree with a particular article or comment and being mature , intelligent , and grown up about it , you come upon this weblog right from the start making insulting an attacking comments regarding atheists in general.    You’re the typical bigot that I try my darndest to stay away from. You didn’t contribute one positive thing to the discussion , but rather you came upon here engaging in your vitriol toward atheists .  You ask how can an atheist classify any individual as having any worth  let alone any more or less worth than another ? I will tell you how in spite of your profound ignorance and arrogance.  You call your imaginary invisible deity ( God )    a moral being ? Really ?   Your deity therefore is the most horrific mass murderer that ever existed. Considering when we observe horrific ACTS OF GOD like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, river fllods, plagues, droughts , snow blizzards, hail storms , meteor strikes, solar flare climate/electro-magnetic   disruptions , etc., —- your deity is the most horrific manic murderer  that ever existed.  The Spanish  Flu and Bubonic Plague  ( two ACTS OF GOD )  combined killed over 100 million innocent men , women , children and babies ( most who were overwhelmingly Christians ) ——— so don’t you dare come upon here questioning the morality of atheists . As of now there have been over 18, 500 known and documented acts of Muslim terrorism, and and endless list of Christian attrocities and hatred.   The most profound hate-mongers and bigots imaginable are religionists ( THEISTS )  .I don’t need the crutch of superstition  and mythology which is what religion really is to exist in society —- so do us all a favor and take your trolling behavior elsewhere .   We’re doing just fine without it and spare us with  your indoctrinated delusional   theological drivel.                    

  • Webby333666

    your all fucking sick for even talking about it, how about i have a choice and kill all you because you have no morals therefore you are less than human, much more less than a baby.
    disgusting cant believe people out there think like this and are allowed to breath

    • George

      I have to admit Webby333666 that I have been saying the same thing as yourself  although I have no intent of committing violence upon anyone. I can’t believe this is even a debate . I acknowledge the same thing that you say but I have refrained from expressing any serious emotions on this so as not to cause a “discussion war” .  I have said umpteen times already that this article discussion has absolutely NOTHING to do with conception ( a union of egg and sperm ) , or a developing fetus within a mother’s womb  or any of these issues and then we got bombarded with talk about sea turtles , mathematical equations, developing fetuses — ad nauseum and it has indeed gotten far OFF TOPIC  even if people want to deny it. I’ve said repeatedly that if a baby is born alive and well and is thriving as a little human being and if it is a living thriving todler, child or teenager —then to kill ANY human ( even if unwanted , severely ill or deformed ) after birth is indeed MURDER. I can’t understand for the life of me how this is even considered  debatable ( especially by those who proclaim to be so RATIONAL  ).  This is way beyond any “slippery slope ” but the epitome of immorality and insanity.  I’m going to end my comments right here on this issue before it gets out of hand and I don’t want another repeat as before. Thanks for pointing out the obvious Webby. I’m  really through with the discussion altogether because for me to go any further will be futile.  Thanks again  and ditto !

    • George

      Webby333666   , please read my post directly below this one.  I share your sentiments that the act of killing  a baby/child after birth is indeed sick and murderous and we are indeed in agreement ( maybe I’m the only one agreeing with you— I don’t know ).  However to say we shouldn’t talk about it does not communicate our moral concepts to others.  You and I are on the same “page” as far as finding the idea sick and disgusting but we must speak out against those who posit the position that they find nothing wrong with this .  Having said that , we are truly in agreement , but please tone down the vile language and I do understand how emotionally upset this can make you feel as I stated that we are indeed in agreement here.  This is why I personally avoid discussing things of this nature as I have seen the resulting anger and emotions flaring up as a result. I have also been guilty of getting emotional on the subject and  I too stand corrected on the matter.   Those of us who do have moral convictions must continue to speak out for the helpless and defenseless. If we don’t, who will ?

  • George

    In reply to Anna —-     

                                    Thanks again Anna for your contribution and I agree with your last  post to Mike of 8 hours ago.      My father was on life support in the hospital ICU.    He had already made out his living will and living trust and did not want to be a vegetable. The doctor at the hospital told me that if he should disconnect the life support machine that he would most assuredly die.  When I went into the room where they kept  my father he had electrical wires and probes all over him and oxygen tubes in his nose and a vacuum cleaner size hose in his mouth. I looked around the room and observed the vast hospital equipment that looked like NASA space center –Mission Control room.   It took my breath away.  I walked up to my father’s bed and saw him hooked up to all this complicated space ship type  gadgets.  He did not want to live as a “vegetable” or suffer in perpetual pain & suffering and neither did I want such for him.  I sat beside my father on his hospital bed and leaned over and told him I loved him and kissed him on his forehead , held his hand and I saw a couple of tears coming from his eyes as I told him that I hated to see him in this condition.     He would have died eventually terminally but I have no idea how long that would have been . I don’t recall if the doctor told me or not as I was so involved in the emotions of the moment. My father couldn’t move or talk but he was able to blink his eyes and move his fingers and slight hand movement as well.  
                              My father then motioned for me as if to want to write something. I got a small note pad and ink pen and I put the pen in his right hand and held the note pad  to his hand.     He very slowly scribbled  four words on the notepad that read— ” I’m ready to die “.      I then slowly walked out of the hospital ICU as the doctor was standing outside of the door in the hallway. I walked up to the doctor and spoke into his ear and said —-  ” Go ahead doc and pull the plug—I’m outta here ” . That was during the early night and that morning I received a phone call that my father had passed away at the hospital. One part of me felt relieved that he was out of his pain and suffering Anna and yet another part of me was enshrouded in guilt that I was the one that gave the order to end my father’s life ( the man that gave me life , took care of me , and taught me strict discipline and character ). 
                       I guess I felt like a Doctor Kervorkian that had just engaged in assisted suicide of my own fleash & blood  father , even though that is what he wanted .  I’ve worn a unifiorm most of my life ( now retired ) and my experiences have  “hardened me ”  and in some cases have de-sensitized me considering all the death and  mayhem  I have seen in my career.   I’ve had to live with this mental “tug of war” that rages within me and it’s not pleasant. I have pretty much put it behind me and moved on but at times the thoughs of that situation still creeps in my mind. One has to be in that situation to truly understand . I was studying in college to be a child psychologist becauise I love kids. Later I changed my mind and chose a different career path.   I never cried at my father’s funeral but one day I visited my father’s grave that was right beside the driveway in the cemetary and I opened  the windows of my car and played the song by Luther  Vandros  titled– ”  Dance with my father again “. I knelt down on my knees and kisssed my father’s grave marker and then tears poured down my face like a waterfall and I finally let it all out and cried horribly———– this hardened former Marine and retired cop became a helpless baby in total grief .  I value life to the fullest and I am very passionate on the issue and now you know my story and why I feel the way I do.  This is the first time that I have publicly told my story. Thanks again Anna for your commentary and I apologize if I appear to have come acoss in any way from a rather abbrasive or emotionasl perspective as that is not my style.  I value your input maam and please post again. Thanks again Anna .  Take care.

    • George

      Just for the record , legal arrangements regarding my father had already been made and signed with the hospita/doctor regarding this matter and this was  not just a verbal spur of the moment arrangement.  My   father was already terminally ill  but I had no idea how long his life would have been prolonged . I don’t want to see anyone have to go through that situation and it is indeed a judgement call  and yet one that has to be made.  As for the article on this comment page —–it still remains an article of can we or should we terminate a baby or child  AFTER  the baby has been born.   I will continue to maintain my position that if the baby/child is a thriving and living post-birth live human being ——-to destroy (kill ) at this point is without question pure and simple MURDER !!!!!!!!!!!   When we devalue life , we devalue ourselves .

    • Andrew M

      I just wanted to say that I found this story very touching. Thank you very much for relaying it. I can’t even begin to appreciate how difficult your decision was, but I do think it was the right one.

      • George

        I thank you also Andrew.   Take care

    • Keith

      7/5/2002 
      That’s the day I had to make the exact same decision. It was a long hard stretch up to that day and there were many times when I thought I couldn’t handle the burden but then I would remember how my Dad took care of my grandmother for 6 years while she battled Alzheimers. 
      My Dad was a go to church everyday catholic when I was young but he came to realize there was nothing out there. I never knew he felt that way until I told him I no longer believed in god. He never mentioned if my grandmother was a burden because to him it was something he had to do because he loved his mother. I did the same for him because I loved him. 

      I believe society in general feels the same. I cite as an example the joy and then sadness of baby Angel in Indiana. He whole family was killed by the tornado that tossed her 10 miles from home where she was found alive. And then the sadness when she passed due to her injuries. No one mentioned her as being a burden on the state because she no longer had a family to raise her. No one mentioned it was better that she died for the same reason.

      Good people will never let this concept of post birth abortions stand. 

      • George

        Thanks Keith

  • Andrew M

    I realize that the question regards the destruction of newborns, a concept which I unequivocally and patently oppose on the grounds of

    However, I would like to answer the broader question of whether abortion is justified by examining each and every option before this question can even be asked.

    1. Abstinence/homosex – The most effective way to make sure you avoid parenthood. Notice that I didn’t say this was the easiest, since a few drinks and the presence of members of the opposite sex can vaporize your chastity in a second. This is not to mention that many would find such a life unfulfilling, especially since the vast majority of them are straight, so we need to enter the world of…
    2. Contraception – This painless and very inexpensive method uses some sort of mechanism to enable pregnancy-free sex, which is frankly incredible. This can be either a condom (male’s responsibility), diaphragm (female’s responsibility), or a slew of other devices granted us by the power of modern science. Nevertheless, such devices are not entirely foolproof – and not just because of the mechanism itself. Many people simply don’t like protected sex or raise (absurd) religious objections to the only solution on how to end abortion.

    Unfortunately, here ends the methods of preventing conception. If you’ve reached this point, parenthood is all but inevitable – except, of course, if you’re willing to consider an abortion….

    3. Natural abortion – Better known as a miscarriage, this is the fate of well over 50% of all sperm-egg unions. The human womb itself is a veritable device for examining its products for genetic errors. If a grievous enough error is found, it will call quits on pregnancy and abort the fetus itself. Even so, it would be an understatement to regard this method of avoiding parenthood a “gamble”. Not only is there always the chance of developing a viable, healthy baby, but the error-checker itself is fraught with errors. Your baby might have Tay-Sachs or Downs syndrome and the body won’t have noticed – but your doctor did.

    At this point, you have a few options of varying ethical degrees. I shall list the most moral option first.

    4. Chemical abortion – That notorious Pill strikes. Simply imbibe the medicine within the post-coital grace peroid, and whatever uterine contents you might have dissolve overnight. Painless, easy, effective. Moral? I would be hard -pressed to say either way. As an individualist, I have a great deal of sympathy for the rights of both the mother and the child to their lives and bodies. Whatever the case, I would prefer that any induced abortions which do occur be through this method, as opposed to…
    5. Mechanical abortion – This barbaric act of utter depravity takes a knife or scalpel to the child-to-be and physically terminates its life. Usually this child has not just formed within the past week, but has experienced about two to three months of growth if not more. Given the incredible advances in medical science, I can say without hesitation that this method of abortion has no justification in a society where so many alernatives exist.

    The debate over abortion focuses too greatly on how to eliminate abortion, which I believe to be an utter impossibility similar to the DEA’s harebrained dream of eradicating the hemp plant from North America. Prohibition never works. Women have been seeking ways to reduce their litters since time immemorial. However, there are better and worse ways to go about it.

    I find this last method so undesirable that I would rather abortion remain legal if only so that women may have relatively unfettered access to chemical abortions. Ethical considerations combined with the power of science can engineer these pills to have no effect on a fetus of a certain developmental stage and strength of immune system to remind interested women – the earlier, the better.

    Feel free to extend this list or offer your comment if you feel I’ve forgotten something.

    • George

      I got into a debate with a fundamentalist Christian in a letter to the editor exchange .    He ranted from a religious perspective regarding the subject of abortion and said he was against any form of termination of fetus even at the initial egg/sperm union or regarding rape.  I know this is a “thorny ” subject that most people do not want to touch because there are so many variables on how to view this issue . Anyway , here was my reply to him.
                           I then asked him —-  ” Why does your God perform abortions on women ? “.    I then went on to cite the statistics of how many miscarriages  ( or stillborn births ) occur annually and also the mass multitude of “crib deaths ” that also occur annually. I told him that these are obviously ACTS OF GOD or deaths that occur at the [ will of God ] .  I also told him that every time a man ejaculates he expells millions of sperm swimming around and obviously they die eventually and the woman expells an egg and if not fertilized it also eventually dies —so from that perspective it could be argued that every time a man ejaculates he is committing mass murder and the woman could be then guilty of singular murder which happens natuarally  ( not her doing so therefore it’s God’s fault ).  What about the  babies that die of “crib death” and were born  healthy and normal ?  I never got an answer and the exchange ended from  that point on.   Interesting !

      • Andrew M

        Great job, George! You were keen to pick up on the point which I subtly alluded to: should a God exist, that God is the most egregious abortionist ever.

        A human being is a complicated piece of work, full of sensitive and easily-disrupted genetic data – not to mention a whole litany of character flaws. Think of how many more souls would have blessed our world if God didn’t murder them.

        Or would we simply have wrought beings with gaping genetic errors, living in atrocious pain and ineffable ignorance, members of Homo sapiens but yet barely human? Would such beings be beautiful or foul? Either answer makes me queasy, but the latter considerably less so.

        In light of how very, very few of us actually make it to this wonderful place called Life, I am yet still conflicted about the role of prospective but unwilling mothers. All I know for sure is that I want to tackle the issue head-on, no matter who gets offended or why they did.

        I’d like to take this time to answer one question in particular:

        Should the organs of parent- or state-condemned children/citizens be
        regularly harvested for transplant? Should children/citizens be killed
        in order that their organs may be harvested?

        While disagreeing with how the question is framed, I say absolutely.

        As somewhat healthy, somewhat intelligent humans, we owe our brothers and sisters who didn’t make it the duty of answering how specifically they died. Was a critical genetic sequence missing a certain “letter”? Did every gene develop normally, but circumstance made the final result autoimmune and thus fatal? These are the questions we can answer only by autopsying their bodies, just as we do with our deceased children and adults to determine their deaths.

        Does this really qualify as “harvesting”, though? Not to the extent that their physical remains are being used to augment the lives of other humans, but we are certainly extracting data from their bodies and enriching our understanding of the human condition in its most basic form.

        In order to make this ethical judgment, we need to separate how they died from why they died. Anybody can die from acute mustard gas poisoning, but the plot becomes more sinister if somebody else exposed him to this substance because she thought he was unfit to live because of one of his properties. I do not feel the type of “harvesting” described by my answer is in vain and is thus ethically defensible.

  • Jimmy

    I think I understand the meaning of this post and I agree with it, if my interpretation is correct. An Atheist can debate the pro/con of abortion in terms of Natural Law. The central question is when does the union of sperm and egg become a human. Until we can decide this essential question, I will err on the side of safety and say that the child is human at conception. At conception, the human obtains all of the rights inherent in the Natural Law. I know there are other circumstances including when the life of the mother is in danger due to the pregnancy, but I’d like to limit this post to a discussion of a perfectly healthy mother and child.

    Given that premise, if the child is human at conception, then the killing of that child is murder. If society decides that this person is to be killed, then society has crossed the line into Nazism, plain and simple. Are liberals moving society to a National Socialist state where the government can decide who lives or dies? Don’t forget, Hitler and his goons started by killing the infirm, then moved to Jews, Gypsies and others defined by them as “undesirables. I thought we settled that question in 1945!

    I would like to recommend Jonah Goldberg’s book, “Liberal Fascism” where he lays out the case that Fascism is state liberalism. 

    • George

      I’m in agreement with your post  Jimmy.  However the point that I have been trying to get across to EVERYONE is that this article is not about abortion in general or where does the developing fetus in the mother’s womb begin to become human.  Instead , this particular article is strictly about AFTER the baby is born —–if the mother no longer wants it  , should she be able to kill it at this point  , and I can’t understand for the life of me how this discussion got so OFF TOPIC.  I will say one thing for sure and I’m glad that commenters have been civil in their comments and I appreciate that from everyone . And once again , I truly want to thank everyone for such civil behavior on the matter.    THIS particular article is about AFTER BIRTH ABORTION. If the baby is already born and healthy and smiling , crawling on the floor, giggling , breast feeding form it’s mother , and mother rocking it to sleep and the father bouncing the little bundle of joy gently on his knee and playing “patti cakes”  , if the mother changes her mind and decides that she no longer wants to be a mother , can she then go to the closet and grab the family shotgun and blow the kid’s head off and call that CHOICE ?  This is what the article is about and I have been trying so desperately to get everyone to please stay ON TOPIC .  I say at this point that killing a live and born  infant or small child is clearly INFANTICIDE or simply MURDER —plain and simple. Thanks again for your input comment Jimmy and I feel confident that you understand where I’m coming from.

      • Jimmy

        George, Yes, you and I are in total agreement. What I was trying to say is that there is one small step from the mother deciding that the baby should be killed to the state saying that the baby should be killed and that there is precedent in recent history. 

    • Jillian Becker

      Thank you. Jimmy, for making these points and recalling what the Nazis did.  

      Please see my reply to Erin.

  • Erin

    Can I just ask WHY and WHERE the notion of eating the dead babies/human flesh arose? I can understand the debate of all the other points to consider (even the transplant one as I am a transplant and icu nurse for children). I can’t see how the flesh idea is valid or appropriate – its just plain sick.

    • George

      I agree Erin

    • Jillian Becker

      Erin – 

      As Jimmy reminds us, the Nazis killed the disabled and mentally retarded, to disburden the nation. Then they killed 6 million Jews. They used human fat to make soap and human skin to make lampshades. As one unrepentant German said to me when I raised this point with him some years after the Holocaust: “Well, the Germans are a practical people who like to put available resources to good use.”  Almost certainly murdered babies would have their organs harvested, their cells used for research. Why should practical considerations stop there with the slaughterers? Once human beings, whatever their age – 1 hour or 1 year or many years – are to be treated as objects to be put to use by others who assume the power of life or death over them, where will the limit be set? The suggestion that they might be devoured is to hold that point before the sociological mind,  just as Jonathan Swift did with his savagely satirical “Modest Proposal” – that the Irish should farm babies to supply them with meat as a solution to famine.

      The comment that really focuses one’s attention on the intense moral dilemmas raised by the birth of severely disabled children, is Paresh K’s. There are no easy answers there. But the Kill’em Lobby is becoming all too powerful in America under Obama’s patronage.

      • George

        Thanks Jillian. I could not have worded it more eloquesntly . You are right on target .

    • Mike

      The question is not as off topic as you think. I was at a session on the ethics of eating animals at a meeting of the American Philosophical Association, and one of the presenters noted that rather than torturing sentient animals in factory farms we should get over our taboo of eating people and use the plentiful available resource of deceased people because we are wastefully burying and burning millions of calories of protein.
      The reason this is relevant is because of the personhood part of the argument. This line of thinking will bestow personhood to certain animals such as chimpanzees, dolphins, and maybe even cows and chickens, so killing them is immoral. However, a fetus, newborn, highly mentally disabled, or brain damaged  human would not be a person. And, by the authors’ principle, if an individual is not a person, then we have no moral obligations toward it. And if we have no moral obligations toward an individual, we can kill it, and we can eat it. So, if a newborn is not a person, then we can kill it, and we can eat it. But adult chickens and persons are persons, so we may not kill them, especially not to eat them.
      For consistency’s sake, these philosophers will argue of course that anything that is already dead needs no moral consideration, and not eating it would be wasteful. So eating road kill and deceased humans is fine, but you cannot kill a person in order to eat it. You can only kill non-persons in order to eat them.

      Of course this messes with all of our moral intuitions, but according to this line of thought, the ‘gross’ taboos in our culture have evolved in a way that was useful to societies that didn’t know anything about germ theory and so forth, but we can try to re-reason these taboos with what we know now.

      Scary, I know, but pretty darn philosophically consistent.

      • George

        What’s even more scary than this Mike is how the animal rights activists have compared the lives of humans to that of animals and this has set a very dangerous  prcedent .   As a result , this is what has set in motion this mindset from  the very start.   I am a certified scuba diver and I get in heated arguments with the animal rights activists who think sharks should have the same protections as humans  and that all animals ( –including frogs, mice, spiders , snakes , etc .  ) should be afforded the same rights as human beings.  This is why we are headed in that direction in the first place. As a result , this entire mentality has brought us to this point and results in our having to engage in such topic discussion to begin with.  As was previously stated on this forum of how even the Nazis wanted to exterminate those  they considered to be [ undesireables ] or impure so that they could advance the [ master race ]. We all know the results of that.  I understand your point and I also hope you see where I’m going with this. When I read the above article ( several times ) I saw the topic at hand was referring to strictly the discussion of —— Should infants, children or even teenagers be allowed to be killed if the mother no longer wants him/her ?  So as not to sound abrassive on the matter ,  the conversation began to drift on the topic of at conception and developing fetuses .   Even still —no one had  yet answered the question ( except myself ) of should a healthy infant, toddler or teenager be allowed to be killed if mom no longer wants him/her ?  That is specifically what THIS very article is all about . You indeed make very good points and we are not adversarial by  any means , as I am only asking the commenters to simply concentrate and address the theme of the article itself. Yes we can distantly relate and associate other issues as well , however we must also answer the very question asked in the posted article. Your point is well taken.   Thanks Mike . 

        • Mike

           Thanks George,
          I agree with you to a point. The authors made the following argument.
          1. It is morally OK to abort a fetus
          2. If it is morally OK to abort a fetus, then it is morally OK to abort a newborn.
          3. Therefore, it is morally OK to abort a newborn.

          Now you rightly point out what I think all of us feel: 3 is batshit crazy! I have been trying to concentrate on 2 though, because I think it is the more interesting point of the argument. Here is why:
          If you accept 2, and you deny 3, then you have to deny 1. It follows the pattern of Modus Tollens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens)
          1. If P then Q
          2. Not Q
          3. Therefore, not P

          So, if you do not address the argument that the moral status of newborns is similar to that of fetuses, but you point out that ‘aborting’ a newborn is wrong, then you are committed to conclude that abortion is just as wrong. Now, if you are a consistent ‘pro lifer,’ then this shouldn’t be a problem for you. This article should only bother people who think abortion is morally permissible in some cases but think infanticide isn’t. But digging your heels in and just asserting ‘abortion is OK’ and ‘Infanticide isn’t’ doesn’t really do anything to soften the blow. Note that the reflection on this by the ‘pro-lifers’ can actually be rather calm, as they would say they argued for 2 all along.

          (Note this article in BaptistPress, the newsorganization of Southern Baptists. It is actually a pretty decent analysis without the inflammatory rhetoric often found in some conservative religious media: http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=37315)

  • Sorry was that Statism or Satanism?

    • George

      Ha ha !    I was begining to wonder about that myself and I even asked that same question for a moment when I first read the title ?  You stole my “thunder”  there Peter ( smile ).   Snicker !

  • Liz

    I think the questions are self explanatory – they point to the question – “where do you draw the line?”  Who – and especially who in government – has the right to judge the worth of the life of another human being, or to say when it even “becomes” a human being? 
    On the other hand, I must also agree with PareshK below, and honestly admit that I don’t think I could stand up to an entire life of caring for a completely incapacitated person.  I have also worked with some of these children and even a brief encounter with such a situation is heartbreaking.
    There have to be options such as abortion in situations like this, but a line also has to be drawn between that and the abortion of convenience.  The question then comes back again to – where do you draw the line, and who will draw it?

  • This is a really touchy subject.  Although it is easy to agree that killing a newborn is unjust (which in most cases is), I think it is important to recognize what burden this newborn does place upon the parents.

    My wife works with disabled kids. Some of her patients have minor developmental delays, while others are so far disabled that they require nearly full-time care.  Just imagine if you are the parent of a child with such a severe debilitation that he will never be able to feed himself, clothe himself, or do ANYTHING without assistance.  My wife has personally seen how this impacts families.  Some of the parents end up divorced due to the stresses involved.  At best case, the family stays together, but the poor mother is completely rundown before the kid is even 3 years old.

    Remember, people in this position completely FORFEIT their own lives.  I’m not talking about giving up a few months, or even years.  I’m talking about giving up your entire life.  Imagine not being able to go out to dinner with your spouse over a span of 5 years or more.  Imagine taking your family on vacation and having to include a child in a wheelchair who cannot even get out of it.  I am not saying these newborns should necessarily be terminated, but it is unfair for anyone to cast judgement on people until they have experienced it.

    I know myself well enough to know that if I had a child in this situation, I would NOT be coping with it very well.  I am fortunate that both of my children were born healthy, but because I am so exposed to the possibilities (by my wife’s work), I was terririfed of the possibility that they might be debilitated.  My wife and I had a very difficult discussion about what we would do if pre-natal tests showed that our child had Downs Syndrome.  We were unable to reach a solid conclusion, partly because there is a such a range of severity with Downs.  Fortunately, we were not faced with that difficult decision in reality.

    Then I think through the situation even further.  These families that do sacrifice their lives; they do so to what end?  Some of the children never grow up to be able to do much at all.  Should a perfectly healthy and capable family sacrifice EVERYTHING (time AND money) for the sake of a child that will never have a hope of a decent life?  It pains me to say this, but I don’t think they should.

    • Mike

       Thanks for that honest and raw weigh in. I think you are making a good point that at least should be considered. What is a little more shocking in the article is that they argue that this should be OK, even if the child is perfectly healthy.

      • George

        Exactly my point indeed Mike !

  • Frank

    It’s spelled S-L-I-P-P-E-R-Y  S-L-O-P-E.

  • Mike

    The questions you bring up are interesting, but you are missing the key point of the article. The real question is this:
    What is the difference between a newborn and a fetus?
    Their argument is really quite simple:
    1. Only individuals that are persons can be harmed
    2. If it does no harm to the individual, then it is not immoral to terminate the existance of that individual
    3. Fetuses are not persons
    So,
    4.  It is not immoral to abort a fetus
    5. If fetuses are not persons, then newborns are not persons
    Therefore,
    6. Newborns are not persons
    and so,
    7. It is not immoral to abort a newborn

    The only new claim here is premise 5. And in the article they argue that by using the same conditions for personhood that are employed in arguments against the personhood of a fetus, a newborn is not a person either under the same conditions.

    Also, in the end they specifically noted that they did not want to discuss when the personhood status began, but that that was the job for neurologists and psychologists to figure out, so no armchair psychology here.

    I think what we should be discussing here is the following: What are the conditions of personhood that are not fulfilled by a fetus, but are fulfilled by a newborn. Anything short of that would be irrational intuitionmongering.

    • George

      Mike  , I don’t want to get bogged down with semantics concerning a word —- in this case the term “viable” .    If the emphasis is in your regard concerning the term [ viable ] then a re-phrasing could indeed be in order. You seem to be IMO having a rather fixation on the terminology –to wit the term  “viable” .  If that’s the case then let’s eliminate the term altogether and let’s concentrate on the specific topic of the article itself and that is AFTER BIRTH ABORTION .     My position in all of my posts have nothing to do with getting into any debate of what stage does a fetus become a human while in the developing stage within the mother’s womb. I am speaking solely  on the issue of babies being born alive & well , healthy and fully functioning  —— nothing more and nothing less.       Comparing human beings to sea turtles is like comparing an ant hill to a mountain . I don’t want to get into a debate of semantics or any of the like. I’m referring strictly on the issue of already born babies and their right to live just like any other  human being.  Whet if the child is 2 years of age ? how about when the child is 5 years of age or 15 years of age and no longer wanted ?   Is that ok in your mind to kill at this stage .   The article itself asks these same questions and it hasn’t been answered .    

    • Anna

      Mike, I feel as though you analysis got to the point of Dr.’s Minerva and Giubliani’s argument.   Your question about what conditions of personhood are not fulfilled by a fetus was thought provoking for me, especially on the heels of PareshK’s eloquent statement.  As Frank said, defining personhood is better spelled ‘s-l-i-p-p-e-r-y  s-l-o-p-e.’  It’s a difficult thing to answer, but I would like to offer my thoughts. 

      We know that normal fetuses are capable of using all of their sensory organs (some as early as 11 weeks into gestation) long before they are born.  We also know that they have the cognitive ability to recognize particular voices, different types of music, and their native language by the time they are 24 weeks old.  Finding the difference between the humanness of a fetus and the humanness of a newborn becomes difficult at this point for me.  Perhaps it is the capacity to react to their environment?  Fetuses are perfectly capable of doing that, as stated above, but the environment of a newborn is infinitely larger and richer than the environment of a fetus, thus the behavior of a newborn will differ greatly from when it was still in utero.  Epigenetics comes into play as soon as the newborn arrives and distinctly changes the expression of a newborn’s genetic material based on the feedback its body gets from the environment.  Genetic expression has a direct influence in behavior from infancy to death, and it can change very quickly.  I am not a neurologist.  I am a psychologist with a background in biology, so I don’t think I can accurately flesh that statement out.  But perhaps what makes a person a person is the unique way they react to their environment?There are thousands of other ways to posit this answer, and the truth probably lies somewhere between them all.  I am certain that there are details I have missed in the above statement, but it’s a thought.       

      • Jillian Becker

        Thank you, Anna, for your thoughtful contribution and for providing important information that should  be taken into consideration in all discussion of this very difficult subject. 

      • George

        Hi Anna  , I’m glad that a psychologist has come on the forum. I am not a psychologist –however my college major was psychology and my minor was sociology although I decided to go into the field of law enforcement.  Getting back to the article. For some reason it is apparent that commenters have been misunderstanding the commentary of the very article itself. If people would take the time to  re-read the very article , everyone will see that THIS particular article is NOT an article about abortion in general which I have explained numerous times—but rather an article about AFTER the infant is born. The key word here is [ AFTER ]. 
                                 The article asks the question that after a live , healthy and fully functioning infant is born and the mother no longer wants it  , should she be able to kill it ?  I have actually lost count how many times I have explained this on this forum.   I am not going to get into a debate on when life begins in a developing fetus or if it starts at conception or further along in it’s developing stage within the mother’s womb. The article clearly talks about was is termed— AFTER BIRTH ABORTION.      In other words , the child is already BORN , alive and well and eating , drinking , pooping, crying , smiling and existing as a fully born and thrivin little small person (human ). The question asks at what stage after it is born alive and well can it be killed or if it should be allowed. I’ve said repeatedly that this is a no brainer.   If the child is alive and well and fully developed and wearing diapers and functioning as a little human being , to kill it at this point is clearly INFANTICIDE  or simply MURDER .   The article then went on to ask —How far in age should the killing be allowed —up to 15 years of age ?    I would like posters to please re-read the article and they will see that THIS article is about AFTER the baby is born and NOT before.  Then the article asks how far along after birth should killing the child be allowed and I still can’t understand why the topic keeps focusing on at conception , or a developing  fetus within the womb , etc. when this is NOT what THIS article is about.  I have been asking people to stay focused on the theme of the very article itself and nothing else. It seems that people still want to rant about conception and devoloping fetuses etc.,  but this is NOT what THIS article is speaking of .   I wonder if commenters have actually read the article fully and paid attention to what was stated therein.  Somehow I doubt it after reading the continual posted comments.   Once again to everyone–THIS article is not about the abortion discussion in general. It is about AFTER the baby is born and is a healthy thriving infant or even a child or teenager —if the mother no longer wants her offspring —should she be allowed at this stage to kil him/her . That’s what THIS article is all about.   Thank you.

        • Anna

          George, thank you for reiterating the point of the article.  I read it several times before posting my initial comments.  Life is sacred, human life especially so.  I do not agree with Dr.s Minerva and Giubliani, but I am truly interested in the manner by which they reached their conclusions.  It seems like it was a simple piece of logic.  Most profound statements are, regardless of whether or not they are correct.  

      • Mike

         Anna,
        Thank you for those thoughtful contributions. Those are some interesting considerations. I don’t know too much about psychology and neuroscience myself, but I am a grad student in philosophy, so I actually study and research in the same discipline is the authors of the paper (this summer I will actually get to teach a biomedical ethics class, and you bet I will give my students this paper to read).
        What we stumbled into here is a much discussed subject in philosophy, and that is the question of the necessary and sufficient conditions for something being a ‘person.’ For a long time the prevailing view was that having a soul was the essential for being a person, but that view has of course largely fallen out of fashion. Ever since then philosophers have been looking for alternative definitions.
        Since we philosophers like to mince words very finely, there is usually a big distinction between ‘being human’ and ‘being a person.’ Being human means, strictly speaking, being a member of a certain biological species. And a fertilized egg is that (what other species would it be?). However, there are a number of philosophers that argue that being human in and of itself is irrelevant for moral consideration. The view that humans, by virtue of their membership of one particular biological species, deserve special moral consideration, that view is often called ‘speciesm,’ think parallel to racism or sexism, an illegitimate preference based on morally irrelevant features.
        The motivations for anti-speciesm are usually twofold: First, don’t we think we have moral considerations for any creature capable of suffering. Human suffering and well being need not be more important then suffering and well being of other animals we know.
        More importantly, and secondly, imagine we were visited by aliens that were by all accounts just as intelligent, cultured, and sociable as us. It would seem wrong to think that we could capture them and enslave them or farm them for meat. So it must be something other than being biologically human that bestows moral consideration. It seems to be that ‘being a person,’ regardless of biological species, is what is the important point for moral consideration.

        Now you could just assert ‘every human is a person.’ That seems somewhat intuitive, but it entails that every human is a person from conception. Also, besides some base level intuitions, what reasons do we have for saying that? Moreover, at this point we have not given any explanations of what the necessary and sufficient conditions are for being a person, so it is unclear why we can just declare all humans persons.

        This is where philosophers go around and look for these conditions. In the case of the authors of the article, they latched on to the concept of personhood in these ways:
        “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.”
        and further:
        “Those who are only capable of experiencing pain and pleasure (like perhaps fetuses and certainly newborns) have a right not to be inflicted pain. If, in addition to experiencing pain and pleasure, an individual is capable of making any aims (like actual human and non-human persons), she is harmed if she is prevented from accomplishing her aims by being killed. Now, hardly can a newborn be said to have aims, as the future we imagine for it is merely a projection of our minds on its  potential lives.”

        This means some of their necessary conditions for being a person is to attribute value to their existence, and to form aims. If an individual is not able to do these, then it is not a person and does not need moral consideration beyond avoiding the infliction of physical pain.
        – On a side note, this means that even on the authors’ view you still can’t morally torture a newborn. You can only kill it in non-painful ways.

        After all this, back to your considerations. You can of course suggest these alternate conditions for personhood. You specifically mentioned:
        – A certain capacity to respond to the environment

        That is a proposal that deserves to be on the table. You do have to think through how this would play out in some other cases though:
        – What is the status of coma patients and brain injured people on this view?
        – Which animals cross over this ‘certain capacity’ threshold? Amoebae, ants, lizards, fish, rodents, chickens, cows, dogs, chimps, dolphins? It seems many of these have capacities to respond to their environment at least as developed as that of a 24 month fetus, or that of a newborn. Do they deserve fully equal protection has human newborns then?

        Anyways, I just wanted to point out how this discussion usually progresses in philosophy. I hope these are some interesting points to think about, and thanks everyone for the fascinating discussion,
        Mike

        • George

          When I was in my psychology college class , my professor gave us some rather bad news. He had informed us that certain animal rights activists had petitioned that our using laboratory rats or mice was animal torture –even if the intent was to as some pharmaceutical companies would argue was to find cures for diseases , or test new medicines or to make tests on medical instruments , etc to save or improve human safety and lives as to not jeopardize human lives and for the betterment of preserving living  human life.  Some labs actually shut down as a result ( as I was informed ).  I am also a supporter of good treatment of animals and I have personally investigated animal abuse complaints in my former career.   As even Liz  had  pointed out previously —- The question is often  : Where do we draw the line  ?
                          When it comes to the safety and welfare of humans , the topic itself can evolve into a very emotional and dramatic episode and can even drift away from the underlying question at hand.  One of the biggest problems we have in our society is that people do not sit down together and compare ideas but rather engage in ad hominem personal attacks ( from emotion ) upon one another and then emotions flare up causing the very discussion itself to turn into a personal “philosophical flame war”.   Admitting so , I have at times  had to take a step back and then  reflect on the issues from all perceivable angles. As we all can attest to Mike , dialogue curtails listening and evaluating issues from ALL positions and then making an informed and wise decisions based upon truth, facts, and rational decisions. This also leads to another possible problem —in that sometimes the question arises of — different people also having  different concepts of what they call rationallization  or not.  Even still , progress most assuredly results with the meeting of the minds and not the meeting of the fists. Thanks again Mike .

        • Anna

          Thank you, Mike!  (grins)  Philosophy isn’t my strong suit, so I appreciate the walkthrough.  

          In answer to your question about coma patients and people with brain injuries, the research is fascinating.  It’s been observed that when a researcher verbally asked a coma patient to do something — for example, playing a sport, or walking through the house they grew up in — the motor cortex in a coma brain lit up!    People who have come out of coma states often remember statements made in their presence or things that may have been said directly to them: speaker, topic of discussion, and all.  Short point being that that someone in a coma is still ‘in there’, and still quite cognitively capable in one way or another.  To remain in keeping with our terms, their personhood is most likely still intact.    

          Brain injuries, on the other hand, can run the gamut.  Anyone who’s suffered a concussion or three can tell you that while the experience isn’t fun, they do not see any serious deficit in function or the ability to form and reach goals.  I speak from experience on that one.  (laughs)  It is when we see specific damage, or total degeneration of the brain, like in Alzheimer’s or profound temporal lobe damage (think sledgehammer to the right side of the head), that those elements fall away and a human being is left devoid of dreams, intelligence, and personality.  

          The cutoff point for animals?  That’s one where I remain on the fence until we have better supported research.  There is evidence of rule-governed syntax use in Campbell’s Monkeys in northwestern Africa.  There’s a research lab in Hawaii that’s documenting evidence  that dolphins can understand that hand signals they see on a TV screen mean the same thing that hand signals they receive from a living human being.  That is truly exciting from a number of scientific perspectives because it means that dolphins and monkeys (not apes mind you, but monkeys — the ones that have brains half the size of a can of Spam) can understand the world in the same way humans  do.  We just don’t know to what extent that capability goes and a lot of this research has only shown up in the last five to ten years.  There’s still a long way to go, but it’s exciting stuff.   

    • George

      In reply to Mike  [ of one hour ago ]

              Mike , I also agree with you up to a point and I never stated at any time that I think you or anyone else is “batshit crazy’ so I have no idea where that even came from.  I was unable to post under your last comment message.  I think you may be reading something again in my post which isn’t there or intended.  As  far as being pro-life , my point was directed at the questions of AFTER BIRTH ABORTION which was the basic theme of the article.    So far we have discussed philosophy, psychology, animal rights , at conception and developing in the womb fetuses,.
       
      Here’s what has not been answered and was asked in the article :

      Under what age is a child disposable ? 1 month , 6 months , 1 year , 3 years , 5 years , 10 years , 15 years ? Why that age ?

      How should te child be killed ?  Should a child be killed only if it is  abnormal ? hould all abnormal children be condemned to death ?

      What degree of abnormality would make him/her ripe for killing ?

      Should a child who is a burden or nuissance to it’s parents be destroyed ? 

      Should the parents alone have the right to decide on the child’s elimination ?   

       There were several more also to this effect.

                            Your posting algebraic equations and making incorrect  claims of my position that I’m digging my heels in are not only inaccurate but off base.   Comparing a 15 year old teenager ( human being ) to that of  a newly fertilized egg/sperm union  is beyond bazaar. I simply gave MY answer to the primary question  at hand .       The above stated questions have still not been answered .   If I do say so myself —I answered from my POV the primary question at hand and have been open ( if not necessarily agreeing  )  to any differing views in all respects.  Once again Mike , I thank you for your contribution sir.

      • Mike

        Thanks George,
        I’m sorry if I came across as insinuating that you thought I or anyone else was being crazy. I certainly did not mean that.
        So let me repeat, I don’t think that it is ethical to ‘abort’ a healthy newborn. Not at 1 month, 6 months, a year, or whatsoever.
        Similarly, I can’t think that it would be right to kill ‘abnormal’ children. There are some children that are born with such dangerous diseases or defects that they simply cannot be kept alive by medicine, but that is certainly not what we mean (e.g. born without some vital organs).
        Still, even Down Syndrom or Spinal Bifida kids shouldn’t be killed. I know several families that have children with disabilities and both the children and the families are doing considerably well in those circumstances. In other words: Don’t kill any innocent humans (I’m throwing in the innocent to forestall any discussions on the death penalty here).

        The only thing that makes me pause here is the point that PareshK made. There may be some room for consideration in those cases, it’s tough.

        Is that more what you wanted to discuss?

        • George

          Mike we are in that regard in agreement . My point was simply that there were several questions asked in the article and commenters rather danced around from giving a direct and definitive answer. That is all.  As for making a decision of a person that cannot be kept alive by medicine , my father was on life support and I am the one that told the doctor to pull the plug. He was the one that gave me life ( along with my mom ) and I was the one that gave the order for humanitarian reasons to end his.    As a result , I have to live with having made that decision for the rest of my life . I am  a prime example of knowing how it feels .

  • George

    There is a term for this regarding killing babies after birth and it’s called  INFANTICIDE.   If this procedure ever becomes legal then we as a society would stooped to the level of Hitler himself.  If this procedure ever becomes an accepted norm the we will end up with an entire society of individuals like Susan Smith and Andrea  Yates and a multitude of others.  Where do you draw the line ? If any person claiming to be a rationalist supports this then such an indidual lacks any sense of rationality and morality whatsoever.  As we can expect , this topic will bring about an emotional excange as even this website has experienced.    Putting aside emotions and looking at it from an ethical POV,  this is purely hideous.  Hopefully the discussion can this time be civilly expressed.

  • George

                             One statement in this article is definately true as I can personally attest to and that is ——-Even atheists cannot debate this subject rationally.  Once the unborn fetus has reached the point of viablity , the mother is morally obligated to try to carry it to term , and then if necessary to  consider giving it up for adoption.  At the point of viabllity the unborn is now a separate human life separate from the mother’s body even though it is still being incubated within the mother’s womb .
                               I read an internet presentation that stated (allegedly) —   [   ” Francis Crick “see DNA ” –Nobel Prize    ]   said  ” it should be several weeks before a newborn has any legal protection ” Peter Singer of  Princeton (allegedly) was reported to not see all that much worth in an infant as a newborn  .
                          There is a name for this and it’s called   —Postpartum abortion   , or even Post-natal abortion.  When I hear arguments claiming that it should be ok to kill a newly born and healthy baby because you don’t want to burden the mother , I find this mentality as any crazed nazi could ever have.  I find such a mindset to be utterly attrocious and horrifying.  When I see  that SOME atheists think like  this , then I am totally convinced beyond any doubt that merely being an atheist DOES NOT necessarily make one a rational thinker.
                              The idea of killing a healthy  newborn infant and calling it  “CHOICE” is pure insanity.   NO baby chooses to die and such a term is a social fraud and sham .   Even partial birth abortion is crazy.  Has anyone on here seen a video of a baby with it’s head partially exposed and then a doctor stabs it in the head with a sharp instrument killing a healthy newborn who screams in the most agonizing pain ?  Anyone who would do this or thinks this is ok as far as I am concerned is the most inhuman monster existing on our planet and lacks any sense of moral ethics and boundaries.  These are my views and reasonably and justifiably so.

    • Keith

      For me it is hard to imagine that this discussion still needs to be had. I agree with you George 99.9% with the .1% having to do with using the term “mother” to describe the incubator who is burdened.

      There are ways to not put ones self into the position of not having to even have this moral dilemma but those ways , simple as they are, require personal responsibility.

      I will defend anyone’s rights to choose what is right for their own bodies but only women have the ability to gestate a fertilized embryo and give birth. As unjust as it may sound I believe that places an unequal responsibility on them to protect the baby they carry.

      The article sites questions that should be asked to advance the discussion and I have a few. Why can’t the “father” make the call? For that matter, why doesn’t society have a say? After all is it any less of a burden for all of us to have to deal with less than perfect babies? And by less than perfect, who makes that call? We all know that brown eyed babies aren’t as smart as blue eyed babies or is it the other way around?

      • George

               Keith , you’re totally missing the point here and you’re making claims that I am not in any sense  asserting.   This is not an article on the conversation  of whether life begins at conception or not and if it is okay to  abort it  at that point or not.    This article is specifically regarding  AFTER BIRTH ABORTION.  Please focus on the topic here  and nothing else.     Please go back and READ the article  Keith.   I never said that a woman is an incubator.  I stated clearly that when a baby is totally formed and viable  then at this point her womb is indeed a biological human incubator whereby the unborn viable baby is continuing to develop within her womb—that’s all. This is a biological fact and has nothing to do with any form of opinion—-period  !
                               The article discusses the issue of AFTER a baby is born –and nothing whatsoever to do with the time of conception or early stage of pregnancy. Once again—focus on the subject here please.
                             Former U>S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated to the effect that it almost neverthat a woman has to have an abortion to save her life or protect here health.    If there is a problem , especially with modern medicine , she can have a C-section performed which is a modern and safe medical procedure.  This comes from medical doctors and other medical professionals and not me. 
                              Feminists and pro-abortionist promulgators have asserted that since the mother is the one carrying the child that ONLY she should have a say in the decision of the baby’s fate. Such a position is a horrifying attitude and position to take regarding this.  Women say–    “It’s my body ! ” as if the matter is therefore closed and men have no say in the matter. Men today are saying to women  —-  ” As the biological father of the unborn child , it is as much mind it is yours and as the biological father , I do indeed have a right to have a say regarding what is equally my child and it’s fate .   I have no intent of telling you as a woman what to do with YOUR body , but there is a boby inside of your body which is a separate and independent entity or human life and as such I as the biological father have every right to have the right of fatherhood and love  and raise what is equally MY child.  If you don’t want the child and consider it a burden , then bring the child ( our child ) to term and give him/her to me and then sign your right s away and I won’t even seek child support and In will raise my daughter/son with love and fatherly support and I welcome the chance to be so burdened ” .
                       If the mother decides to bring the child to full term and the father doesn’t want to be burdened with raising or supporting a child , the GOVERNMENT courts will order the father to pay outrageous amounts of so-called child support which the mother is NEVER held responsible  for how that child support money is spent.   Therefore WOMEN have rights while MEN have obligations.
                              Feminists and pro-abortion advocates say that since men do not give birth or carry the unborn fetus within  THEIR bodies that this should exempt them from having any say in the matter. This is utter nonsense and I will tell you why.  When women can become impregnated without the male sperm ( of the father ) and become asexual then and only then should the biological father be excluded in a say of what is equally his child(ren) and even then if the child is fully developed and viable —someone needs to protect the lives of innocent healthy fully developed and viable babies .  Up until these recent times we biological fathers have been silent on this issue but men have now begun to speak up and speak ouit and we will NOT be silent any more.  Again , this article speaks of children who have already been born and their rights  so one more time –please focus on the topic. 

        • George

                        I meant to say ” as much mine ” and not “mind” and a few other typos –please  pardon the typos . I hope this conversation  on this subject can engage civily and not as before which gets into a heated exchange .  This subject can lead to a very emotional expression of feelings and  I definately understand what Jillian meant in the article itself. To clarify my position —- I have no intent  to tell anyone at any time what to do with THEIR bodies but the idea of  late term , or partial birth or postpartum abortion as far  as  I am concerned is pure and simple INFANTICIDE and I will always maintain this moral and ethical position. If this puts me at odds with certain individuals that feel otherwise , then they have a right to express their position as I have just expressed mine and so be it.   

        • Keith

          George, 
          I am not sure how you read my post and came away with the conclusions you replied about. I feel I am on topic and very focused.

          I am talking about post birth abortions and the woman who is making the decision to terminate the baby’s life because raising it would be burdensome was just it’s incubator not it’s mother. 

          I am saying that by taking some personal responsibility the mother and father can eliminate the need for having to be burdened.

          I did say that there is an unequal responsibility placed on women for the babies they carry. I should have said “carried” but the intent is the same. There is a motherly instinct to protect their unborn child just as there is for that same mother to protect her born child.

          I also feel that one can come up with any definition as to what is a burden. 

          Mike’s post above poses a good question about personhood and it’s relevance to newborns. The question then becomes is it okay to murder anyone if for some reason they no longer hold the criteria for personhood i.e. people in comas, Alzheimer patients, quadriplegics, ect.

          George, I ask you again to re-read my original post but this time from the filter of knowing I was talking about post birth abortion. You will see we are in agreement.

      • George

                       Keith , I was unable to post under your last posted message . I wasn’t speaking in terms of my last posted message to be in any form of dissagreement in any general sense on the subject.  My response was the position that you spoke on the effect of the mother only having the say which  I gather as excluding the father.  
                             You speak about motherly instincts to proptect HER  child while at the same time clearly ignoring the fatherly instincts of protecting  HIS child .    What makes any woman think that her love for her child is any greater than my love for mine ?   Just because she carried the fetus in her womb doesn’t mean that this is some inherited genetic bond that automatically drives ONLY women to be protective of their children . If that were the case then we would not have women like Susan Smith in our society. If that were the case then we wopuldn’t have new mothers throwing their newborn infants in dumpsters, garbage cans or trying to flush them down toilets. If a new father did this he would be charged with murder but a woman does this and it’s called CHOICE. The entire debate or argument is totally assinie and I’m not pointing at you but I’m speaking in general.  Professional researcher have concluded in their studies that women take the lead in child abuse ,  infanticide and elder abuse and these facts have been published in medical journals galore. Yet the feminists continue to push the false agenda  that only men engage in domestic violence or family abuse.  My  post was not meant in any sense to get into any debate of what stage during the development does the fetus become a human being.  My sole intended message was addressing the very point or theme of the article itself and that was specifically the topic of  [  AFTER BIRTH ABORTION   ]   .  There are children who have been  born with debilitating illnesses and defects and have recovered and have improved or done well even in spite of various handicaps. 
                             If the baby has already been born then it’s a common sense “given” and no-brainer that the child is fully developed, born , alive & well , has a fully developed body and thriving as a human being of which it definately is and so therefore to kill an infant that is born alive and well at this stage is indeed infanticide or to be perfectly blunt——-MURDER !!!!!!! 
                       I also don’t even know why we’re even having this discussion which is definately quite obvious and evident.  If the infant has been delivered by childbirth and is now alive and fully functioning as aliving , breathing baby , then there is NO argument on this matter whatsoever .     Killing a baby at this point is indeed murder and IMO anyone who cannot understand this ( well I’ll just leave my comment out regarding this so this doesn’t end up in another heated exchange  which is what I am trying to prevent ).  Even if a mother changes her mind after childbirth and her baby is living , breathing, smiling and fully functioning,  —– then to kill a baby at this stage is clearly an act of murderous homicide and has absolutely NOTHING to do with CHOICE   [ plain and simple ].

        • Mike

           George,
          you are defending what seems like a reasonable position (we shouldn’t kill babies), and you extend this to ‘viable babies.’ I take it there is then some cutoff date in a pregnancy after which termination is murder/infanticide. The original authors make the difference for needing ethical consideration with ‘being a person,’ you seem to object and say it is about being a human or at least a viable human.
          Some questions: Why reject the personhood clause and instead make it about ‘being a viable human’?
          Furthermore, is making ‘being human’ the relevant criterion for falling under moral consideration not a speciest?
          And finally, what is needed for something to be ‘viable’? It can’t be complete independence. Sea turtles are completely independent by the time their eggs are laid, but human children are dependent at least until they can gather food in some form. Children born early are often kept in incubators for some time. What if we could incubate a fertilized egg without a woman’s uterus? Then we could, possibly, extract a fertilized egg/fetus from a woman, transfer it to the relevant machine, and then give it up for adoption after 9 months. Does the moral status of a fetus change based on the relevant available technology?
          Just some thoughts on the ‘viable human’ condition. I’m not claiming to have any easy answers here, but ethics is just so damn complicated.

        • George

          When I went to check the typos / mispellings  and  it posted my previous setup and it does this frequently and once again  I apologize for the typos .   When I  upgrade to a better aircard service that won’t kick me offline after being idle for only a few minutes I’ll eliminate this. Sorry again and I know everyone understands what I am trying to say but I do find it embarrassing to say the least.  So I’ll just let it go at that and I’m glad that at least so far we are being civil in the discussion and I want to say thank you in that regard.  Thanks again .

      • George

        Keith , once again I was not able to respond under your last post considering that the page setup won’t allow it , so I am responding here . Let me clarify this as clearly as possible.  Let me do so by giving an example of a scenario .   
                                 Let’s say for the sake of argument , that a  man and woman start dating  and they fall n love.  The are not married but ahevplans of such .  The both are sexually involved and she gets pregnant. Now the pregnancy is the responsibility of both parents to be.    Later during the relationship the relationship turns ‘sour” and end ends with a bitter resolution.  The woman brings the baby to tterm and gives live birth to a healthy baby and the child is healthy, fully functioning , crawling on the floor , smiling and is a human infant in every sense of the word .  After a few months while the mother has this healthy infant , and the father comes to visit , she becomes bitter because HE is the father and refuses to allow him to see what is equally his child as well.    In fact , she takes it a step further and decides now she has decided she doesn’t want the child anymore and wants it DEAD  because it is equally the offspring of the biological father of which she now loathes and as a result , she decides to have the bay KILLED. So she takes the healthy infant to a clinic and turns it over to an abortion doctor that pierces it’s head with a sharp instrument as the healthy infant baby screams in horrifying pain and agony and it is quickly killed  and then the doctor cuts off all the limbs of the infant and even behheads it and chops it’s body parts into tinmy pieces and puts the parts into a plastic bag  marked “bilogical waste ”  [ bio-hazzard ] and tosses it into the dumpster .
                                    Now this scenario has nothing to do with whether the baby can sustain life on it’s own or if it is fully developed or not but instead we are talking about a child that is completely born and alive and well and the question remains is it okay at this stage to kill the baby after it has been born. Whether the child has an illness or handicap or the mother changes her mind and doesn’t want to be ‘burdened” any longer with the infant and now decides she wants a convient means of getting rid of her LIVE AN WELL baby is the point of the article  and the question still remains ———- should this be allowed ?   I maintain my original position that this is indeed murder and once again —- we are NOT talking about at what point the fetus becomes viable within the womb or where is the line at it’s developing stage  or what is the transitioning point when it’s no longer just a few cells and is a person.    After it is born and healthy and fully developed and functioning —it is indeed a human being and I will reiterate what I stated previously that killing a baby at this poit is without question indeed MURDER   !!!!!   I can’t believe we’re even having this discussion and why this is turning into any debate  or possibly leading into an arguable issue. I find the entire matter astonishing that this is even considered to be questionable concerning a live healthy fully functioning baby that has already been born and thriving.     I’m actually sitting here reading a couple of the posts in amazement that this  discussion is even going in that direction.  I’m trying to prevent any negative exchange and only making a simple point regarding post birth infants and their right to life . Our constitution states that we as human beings have the right to life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The first on the list is LIFE. We’re talking here about already born and living babies and not some newly formed merged egg  & sperm . I don’t think I can make my point any plainer.

        • Keith

           George,
          We are in agreement. I kept using the term mother because the article made it sound like the mother would be the one to make the choice about being burdened. I totally concur with your scenario.

          I, like others here, have had personal involvement with care for not perfect children and I know how devastating that can be. I also know that taking care of elderly relatives in their last days is pretty devastating also with the difference being you kinda feel you will outlive the elderly relative but worry about what happens to your  special needs child once you are gone. There are no easy answers here but we live in a society that seeks to make sure that anything that makes us slightly uncomfortable be erased from our lives.

          Without trying to veer off topic but to enforce George’s point in my own way consider how the left feels about deadbeat dads. Naturally these guys are looked at as the lowest forms of life for not owning up to their responsibility. Suppose the deadbeat simply says that  the child is burdensome. All he wants is to not have to pay for it but the child can continue to live. He is castigated by everyone and his wages are garnished. But if he was a mother who feels burdened (according to this article) there should be no issue because the “not-person yet” child can simply be MURDERED.

          I wish we were only on a slippery slope but I feel we are in free fall.

      • George

        Keith I never insinuated that we were  in any vast  disagreement. I believe that you are reading into my post something that isn’t there and I in turn ask that you please read my post again.  Just as there is a motherly instinct  to protect her child there is also a fatherly instinct to protect his child as well.   It appears to me that your post  , like that of  Keith’s is focused on the term “viable” .   My commentary is in no way addressing the development stage of the fetus/infant within the mother’s womb.  I am addressing simply AFTER the baby is born healthy , alive and well and is  thriving as a well functioning “bouncing” baby boy or girl.   The question  still remains that at this point should we be allowed to kill a living and already born baby or child ?  I say without any doubt —— absolutely NOT  !!!!   So as not to get  off on a tangent here , this article is discussing whether an already born baby or for that matter young child should be allowed to be killed if the mother should feel burdened by it.   I also agree that the responsibility from the very start ( which I stated previously ) should be with both the biological mother and the biological father  —and in that regard we do agree.  

        • George

          Correction—  I meant to say –“like that of Mike’s post ” ( not Keith.  My error.

      • George

        In reply to Keith     ( I was unable to post under your last post ) .

                  Keith I personally worked for many years with father’s rights groups and advocates. While our society rants about what they refer to as “deadbeat dads ” they overwhelmingly overlook the problem with “treacherous moms ” who  use child support money for their own self serving purposes to the detriment of their children who suffer and the family law courts look the other way . In our biased society custody is awarded to mothers on an average of 98%  of the time ( and that figure varies depending upon geographical locations in the US ).   The judges generally automatically award custody to the mother and make the father pay  ( even if the child is an older child and I am not just talking about infants and even if the father is proven to be the better parent ). As a result , the family law courts are essentially telling fathers that we are not good enough  of raising our own kids but we’re good enough to foot the bill.  Fathers are therefore reduced to mere “visitors ” of their own flesh & blood children. To make a father nothing but a weekend bi-monthly visitor of  his own children  is not only immoral but in actuality a criminal injustice towards fathers. Nothing is ever mentioned about the “treacherous moms ” who refuse visitation to the loving and caring fathers and the spiteful moms who alienate children against their fathers , and abuse child support money which is actually THEFT or EXTORTION of money that is suppose to be exclusively for the children. 
                                    Fathers then become detached physically and emotionally from their children and the society , media and courts don’t even care and yet they always blame the man and NEVER or rarely ever hold the spiteful and vindictive mother accountable. These fathers are not DEAD BEAT but rather fathers that are BEATEN DEAD. Yes there are indeed irresponsible fathers out there and there are also irresponsible mothers out there as well but our biased society only points the finger at the dads.
                                     Getting back on topic ,  this article as I have repeatedly stated several times already has nothing to do with these issues at all. The article refers to whether it should be legal to kill a healthy live born baby after it is born healthy , fully functioning  and thriving as a young newborn human being.  This is NOT  rocket science to figure this out and I can’t understand for the life of me why this is even a debatable discussion.  It’s astonishing to me that this is even up for any debate when atheists are suppose to be or rather claim to be rational thinking people.
                                  For example , if a mother gives birth to a healthy and fully functioning baby and a few months later decides she changes her mind and doesn’t want to be a mother because she wants to concentrate on her career , should she then be able to go to her dresser and take out her 9mm pistol and shoot the baby in the head killing it and call that CHOICE ?  After all our society doesn’t want to burden mom with raising that healthy kid and it interferes with her new executive career do we ?  This is the most horrendous mindset that amazes me that this discussion is even taking place.  I keep hearing about Downs Syndrome or a mom that will be burdened , etc etc etc ad nauseum .   We’re talking about a live and healthy baby that is already born here and crawling on the floor and smiling and is healthy and then mom decides she changes her mind and doesn’t want it and so with the opposing argument –she should be allowed to take it to an abortion clinic and let a doctor stab it in the head with an instrument or poison it and then chop the live infant into several body parts and that’s CHOICE CHOICE CHOICE CHOICE CHOICE CHOICE   ?  For cryiing out loud , I can’t believe this discussion is even taking place.  It’s mind boggling and I like to discuss issues but this is certainly a no-brainer .
                             I’ve said this repeatedly that we are NOT talking about in this article about any developing fetus in the womb. We are talking about a healthy newborn baby or a young child that is fully alive , healthy and fully functioning.  I’m still trying to figure out why this is so hard to understand and let’s get away from the off topic discussion about a developing fetus can we ?   That’s NOT what THIS article is about. Now I understand why so many people don’t even like to discuss this topic ( and I am one of them ) because this is what it leads to .  We recently had on this very website a very confrontational and heated debate on this issue that got out of hand ( unfortunately ) and I don’t want to go there ever again. I hope I have finally made my simple point plain and clear.