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After-birth abortion

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Pro-lifers slammed the international Journal of Medical Ethics for publishing late last month an article favoring “after-birth abortion”—previously known as infanticide—when children or adults are a burden to their families or when government pays for their care.

The core of the argument isn’t new at universities like Princeton, where ethicist Peter Singer has long approved killing 1-year-olds with physical or mental disabilities (see “Blue-state philosopher,” Nov. 27, 2004). But authors Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva push the argument further by defending the killing of any humans incapable of “attributing any value to their own existence.?…?Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.”

The authors used the term “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to emphasize that countries with legal abortion operate illogically when they forbid the killing of born creatures insufficiently self-conscious to fear death. Hurt is subjective, not objective: “For a harm to occur, it is necessary that someone is in the condition of experiencing that harm.”

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