I have written about my stance on the abortion debate with Why I’m Pro-Choice But Totally Against Abortion, but the article I came across seems to be a different subject all together.
“After Birth Abortion”
I just read the 2012 Slate article After-Birth Abortion: The Pro-Choice Case for Infanticide. The original article in the Journal of Medical Ethics called After Birth Abortion: Why Should the Bay Live? is very troubling.
Here’s the abstract.
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that
(1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons,
(2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and
(3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people,
the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.
Read both articles. Start with the Journal then read the Slate article. They’re both worth reading.
I think this article all comes down to personhood.
Here is how the article defines a person:
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.
So then, some non-human animals are more persons than some severely mentally retarded human? Am I reading that right?
The article continues:
Our point here is that, although it is hard to exactly determine when a subject starts or ceases to be a ‘person’, a necessary condition for a subject to have a right to X is that she is harmed by a decision to deprive her of X.
Only if a person is cognitive enough to be harmed can they be considered a person. Again, am I reading that correctly?
Does this definition of personhood trouble anyone else?
How do you determine the value of human life? When does personhood begin and end?
Is “After Birth Abortion” murder? or is it still abortion?