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Two bioethicists consider babies as “potential people” and justify killing them

In a text available for free on the internet, two medical ethicists explain why so-called "after-birth abortion" should be permissible. The autors of the text are Alfredo Giubilini and Francesca Minerva from Oxford University. The title of their work is "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?".

The two doctors claim that killing a child is “ethically permissible in the same cases where abortion would be”. They want to call this practice “after-birth abortion”, rather than “infanticide” in order to emphasise that “the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus rather than to that of a child”.

Here is a part of the text: 

“We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. (…) Accordingly,  it is more appropriate to talk about ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.”

The authors justify their lunatic ideas by claiming that 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’. (…)

They go on as follows: “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. This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons.”

“Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life,” according tho the authors.

The document has been published in March 2012 and is available here:

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