Abortion survivors and the malevolent apologists for “after-birth abortion”

By Dave Andrusko

National Right to Life Federal Legislation Director Jennifer Popik (left) with Carol Tobias, National Right to Life President attending today’s hearing on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

NRL News Today will have a number of posts, today and tomorrow, addressing today’s House hearing on Capitol Hill on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It represents still another attempt by pro-life Republicans in Congress to raise the visibility of still another stain on our nation’s conscience: the deliberate decision to withhold treatment to babies who survive the abortionist’s best efforts to kill them.

All Republicans are asking for is treatment for born-alive abortion survivors that would be afforded to a baby spontaneously born at the same gestation age. No more, but no less.

But pro-abortion Democrats who have long since rejected the principle of any limits on abortion have now extended that lethal logic to abortion survivors.

In his statement today, Pro-Life Caucus Chair Chris Smith [R-NJ] spoke about the 2012 infamous essay by Dr. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. Rep. Smith explained that these bioethicists

published an outrageous paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics justifying the deliberate, premeditated murder of newborn babies during the first hours, days, and even weeks after birth.

The ethicists said: “When circumstances occur after birth that would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”

I would like to elaborate on what Congressman Smith said. Why? For a number of reasons but first and foremost it will not be long—count on it—before the killing frenzy will completely overcome the Abortion Industry and its minions of Congress. They will stop pretending babies don’t survive abortion or say if some “dreaded complications” do occur, these babies are treated equally so no further protection legislation is needed.

Instead they will come to embrace the argument by Giubilini and Minerva, which, as Rep. Smith explains, is that any justification you could offer for abortion applies equally well post-birth. Why? To quote them, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

We are talking about infanticide, of course, even though the authors offer a hair-splitting distinction without a difference. The issue is the newborn’s moral status, which is tied to the moral status of the unborn.

Pro-lifers have always claimed, as Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr. has written, that “the moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus.” However we “assumed that the establishment of this claim would lead to the inevitable conclusion that both infants and fetuses should be considered persons in a morally relevant sense.”

What did Giubilini and Minerva do in the article published February 23, 2012, in the Journal of Medical Ethics? They “have turned this argument on its head: fetuses are not persons, they claim, and so neither are newborns,” Eckardt explains.

How so? Giubilini and Minerva explain, “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.”

Eckardt helpfully explores some of the well-trodden slippery slopes. What about those who are mentally disabled? Or in a coma or a persistent vegetative state? They also lack awareness and, under that reasoning, would not “suffer” a loss if killed.

Worth remembering is that Giubilini and Minerva pretend as if the newborn ought to be really disabled (especially intellectually disabled) for this death sentence to be meted out. But even though the essay is barely 1,500 words, there is room enough to find a reason to kill children with Treacher-Collins syndrome, which causes facial deformities and respiratory ailments but no mental impairment—and to open the door to infanticide on demand.

This wider and wider sweep makes a perverse kind of sense for two reasons. First, Giubilini and Minerva are merely extrapolating run-of-the-mill arguments for abortion to “normalize” (justify) infanticide.

Second, since the child could have been a candidate for abortion for any reason, surely if a child with genetic anomalies has “slipped through the genetic submarine net” (in Dr. Gerard Nadal’s words), this opens the way to “redefine infanticide to any parent killing their newborn for any reason at all.”

Dr. Nadal calls this “A fascinating and profoundly disturbing read into the process of malevolent apologetics.”

For all the bad press the essay rightfully received, the section where Giubilini and Minerva explain why killing a newborn baby is superior to giving her up for adoption went almost unnoticed.

It may be the most chilling few sentences you will ever read.