Journal defends its publication of an article advocating “after-birth abortion”

By 14 Comments 268 views

The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics today defended his decision to publish an article in which two ethicists advocated “after-birth abortion.” What was truly surprising about the article, editor Julian Savulescu writes, is not that the authors find infanticide morally permissible — but, rather, that opponents to infanticide would react to the article with vehemence. From Savulescu’s defense:

What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.

What the response to this article reveals, through the microscope of the web, is the deep disorder of the modern world. Not that people would give arguments in favour of infanticide, but the deep opposition that exists now to liberal values and fanatical opposition to any kind of reasoned engagement.

Savulescu might have a point that some of the responses to the article crossed the line. Of those he quoted, a couple were overtly racist and at least one was an outright death threat to anyone who would willingly perform an “after-birth abortion.” But that he doesn’t see the arguments forwarded by the authors as evidence of “the deep disorder of the modern world” is far more disturbing than comments thoughtlessly dashed off by justifiably outraged opponents of infanticide. The Blaze outlines the article’s original arguments:

The authors go on to state that the moral status of a newborn is equivalent to a fetus in that it cannot be considered a person in the “morally relevant sense.” On this point, the authors write:

“Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. 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.

Read more

Filed under Uncategorized

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

14 Responses to “Journal defends its publication of an article advocating “after-birth abortion””

  1. 3


    Savulescu might have a point that some of the responses to the article crossed the line. Of those he quoted, a couple were overtly racist and at least one was an outright death threat to anyone who would willingly perform an “after-birth abortion.”

    How is this over the line? How is it different from what they do other for a calendar?

  2. 4


    More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.

    So now “proper academic discussion and freedom” involve promoting the killing of innocents. The two authors and the journal’s editor have to be betting on there not being a Hell in the afterlife, otherwise their actions and viewpoints make no sense.

  3. 5



    I’m failing to see the difference between someone advocating killing someone who performs that type of “abortion” and the person who advocates killing the infant involved in that type of “abortion”.

  4. 8

    Liberal1 (objectivity)

    I don’t know if I published this piece on this site, or not. But, I think it’s appropriate now:

    The religious right often suggests that since we can’t empirically prove the principle the existent of the soul, let’s just go ahead an err on the side that says there is a soul that is responsible for person-hood. We’ll take the other track—erring on the side that says there is no thing called a ‘soul’, in anything other that figurative term. Even if there was a soul, what would happen to it when a fetus was aborted? Would it die along with the body? In Sunday School, when I was a child, we were taught that the soul is immortal, and when it passes from a life in this world, it goes on to live with it’s father is heaven. It that’s true, and it doesn’t die, where is the murder—can you murder a mass of protoplasm, when the soul, the spark of life, continues to live?

    Oh, but it’s murder in God’s eye’s—breaking one of God’s laws. Well, some of us don’t believe that. Murder is a human law that was created by men so they wouldn’t go around killing their own tribesmen—which were needed when fighting members of other tribes. The wise governors of the tribes started calling it God’s law, because that gave it more authority and importance.

    So what’s the importance of killing a person? It takes away ones hopes and dreams, and the memories of that person in the minds of those who knew them. In other words, the importance to the person who is kill is their self-awareness (self-consciousness). When you kill somebody, you take away everything that they’re aware that they are or could be. How can you murder something that’s not even aware of it own existence?

    The cognitive wiring for consciousness doesn’t even begin until 24 to 28 weeks—and that’s only when it begin, not when it’s completed. Do I hear echoes of Rowe vs Wade?

    This self-consciousness, and the building up of memories and attachments, is what defines a person—rather than some transcendental, spiritual basis. Another basis to consider is the attachment to the prenatal or postnatal individual by concerned others—such as the mother. If the mother doesn’t want an abortion, or if she prefers that outcome, it’s nobody elses business to interfere with her rights.

    Infanticide is totally different situation. It’s highly charged emotive term. An infant, who has has begun to differentiate between itself and its surroundings, has as gained the potential for memories and attachments of its own, plus having the attachments of third parties, makes the difference. At this point it looks more like murder. But to say there’s no difference between the acts of a fully self-conscious person who terminates the life of one who has no consciousness of their own existence, and therefore deserves to be murdered, is pure folly.

  5. 9


    @Liberal1 (objectivity):

    The topic of discussion is not abortion, itself, Lib1, but rather, the argument that the two authors of the piece engage in, to justify killing a newborn. That is, they equivocate that “procedure” to the generally accepted idea of abortion. And to do so, they twist terminology to moderate, or limit, the emotionally charged opposition, that is, they call it “after-birth abortion” instead of infanticide, which is the correct term.

    And, despite your comments, I still fail to see the difference between someone advocating the murder of one who performs such a procedure, and one who advocates the killing of a newborn by the procedure. In both instances, another person makes the determination that life, in general, would be better off without the life they wish to kill. So, in that sense, if killing the person who performs such a procedure is murder, then so is the procedure itself. In both cases it is entirely reprehensible to engage in such acts, yet the journal, one purported to be of “medical ethics”, defends the piece, condemning the commentary while applauding the subject.

  6. 10

    Nan G

    First it is well before birth.
    Then anytime up to birth.
    Now even right after birth.
    Soon, anytime within the 1st year.
    Later people over 70, under certain circumstances.
    Then people of any age under certain circumstances.
    Then everyone over 40.
    We really need a pre-quell (sp???) to Logan’s Run.
    We need to see how that ”Utopia” evolved.

  7. 11

    Larry Uloth

    These two people state no ethical principles. Hello Margaret Sanger and all the other people thru the years who keep arguing that THEY have the right to sterilize you, murder the children born whom they consider as too many, not of the correct race or culture, not 100% perfect according to them or other reasons. If they are so correct then we need to start with them for while they may be persons according to their ideas, I believe they are really not human beings! Since currently we have no euthanasia methods for humans I offer my .357 magnum and would be happy to accomodate them, would they please step to the front of the line.

  8. 12


    @Liberal1 (objectivity):

    This self-consciousness, and the building up of memories and attachments, is what defines a person—rather than some transcendental, spiritual basis.

    Really? Then let’s keep religion out of it and stick to science, which I’m sure you are well versed.

    The research suggests that while still in the womb, our brains were learning speech patterns and laying the groundwork for language acquisition.


    Earlier research by Kisilevsky revealed that fetuses hear sounds at 30 weeks, although that won’t come as much of a surprise to mothers who may have felt their baby jump when someone slammed a door. But now she has taken it a step farther with an interesting experiment that reveals just how well the fetus is prepared to get on with its life as the pregnancy nears its end.


    In both cases, the poem caused a change in the baby’s heart rate. The heart rate accelerated among those who heard their own mother’s voice, and decelerated among those who heard a voice other than their mother’s.

    Liberal1…objectivity indeed.

  9. 13


    @Nan G: Margaret Sanger as the mentor extraordinaire for the Eugenicist Party (aka: Demorat Party) would be so proud. As the stated and avowed goal of the Libtards, Progs, Demorats, and KKK to ensure a world of quality people, they are, by their own account, succeeding beyond all expectations. It never ceases to amaze me that poorer Americans of color (especially blacks) are disproportionately eliminated at the whim of the Demrat Plantation ‘Overseer’. I wonder what the black population demographic would be today without 40 years of disproportional racial genocide at the hands of the Demorat Eugenicists? Would some of the black babies out of the 50 million plus Roe v. Wade aborted lives have served to expand the black population?

  10. 14

    Nan G

    Good point Marine72.

    How many Lewis Latimers are we missing today because of abortions in the black community?
    Lewis Latimer invented a method of making carbon filaments for the Maxim electric incandescent lamp and became a great philanthropist because his creative genius made him wealthy.

    How many Elijah McCoys?
    Elijah McCoy took out patents on 50 things.
    But he was most famous for figuring out how to lubricate running locomotives.

    There was Garrett Morgan who invented a gas inhalator as well as the signal system used for trains;
    Dr. Patricia Bath who invented laser cataract surgery;
    Charles Drew who invented blood banking;
    and many more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *