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FLASHBACK: Experts Make ‘Pro-Choice Case’ for Killing Newborn Babies

Amid a renewed debate over abortion, “pro-life” advocates have resurfaced a 2012 medical journal article that claims infanticide could be ethical.

SO WHAT

Critics say many of the same arguments used to justify legally sanctioned abortions apply to killing newborn babies.

THEN

In an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in February of 2012, philosophers Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva make the case for so-called after birth abortion.

  • Repeating arguments put forth by philosophers Peter Singer and Michael Tooley, Giubilini and Minerva argue there’s no moral distinction between a newborn and a fetus, and so, “when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”
  • “[W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus … rather than to that of a child,” they write in the article, entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”
  • At the time, Giubilini and Minerva’s provocative claim set off a public outcry and, as Slate contributor Will Saletan noted, presented a thorny ethical dilemma for “pro-choicers.”

Money quote: “The case for ‘after-birth abortion’ draws a logical path from common pro-choice assumptions to infanticide. It challenges us, implicitly and explicitly, to explain why, if abortion is permissible, infanticide isn’t,” Saletan wrote in a March 2012 piece for Slate.

NOW

A Texas “heartbeat law” prohibiting most abortions went into effect Wednesday after the Supreme Court took no action to block it.

  • The Texas abortion law is the strictest in the nation, but other “red states” are expected to follow suit and the Supreme Court may still weigh in.
  • Last week, legions of abortion rights activists took to social media to express their outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision.

Meanwhile, “pro-lifers” have accused their ideological opponents of showing a dismaying degree of callousness for human life.

  • “Monstrous,” tweeted right-wing influencer Mike Cernovich in response to Saletan’s 2012 article, which was sub-headlined: “The pro-choice case for infanticide.”

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