After-birth Abortion

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After-Birth Abortion: A New Controversy Erupts
After-birth Abortion is self-descriptive and extremely controversial. The proposal is that after a baby is born, the child’s life is terminated. Two Australian academic bioethicists contend in the Journal of Medical Ethics: “We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk,” the article reads.1 Their article argues for the morality and legalization of “After-birth Abortion.” Naturally, the piece has caused a tremendous outrage among the pro-life advocates.

Reportedly, to “quell the firestorm,” Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, authors of the Journal of Medical Ethics piece titled After-birth Abortion: Why should the baby live? say in an open letter:“The article, was supposed to be read by other fellow bioethicists who were already familiar with this topic and our arguments.”2

After-Birth Abortion: The Ethical Issue
The act of After-birth Abortion can also be known by definition as “infanticide.” According to the American Heritage Dictionary, infanticide is:

  • the act of killing an infant
  • the practice of killing newborn infants
  • one who kills an infant
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. states that advocates of the proposed After-birth Abortion legalization prefer not to call it infanticide.3 Mohler adds that this language preference mirrors “the proposal advocated by Dr. Peter Singer of Princeton University, who has argued that the killing of a newborn baby, known as infanticide, should be allowable up to the point that the child develops some ability to communicate and to anticipate the future.”

If After-birth Abortion becomes legal, one must question the violation of the physician’s Hippocratic Oath.4 Mohler writes “We have laws against homicide, and if the unborn child is recognized legally and morally as a human being, abortion would be rightly seen as murder. …Abortion rights advocates have drawn the moral line at the moment of birth. That is why, even with our contemporary knowledge of the developing fetus, abortion rights activists have persistently argued in favor of abortions right up to the moment of birth. Anyone doubting this claim needs only to consider the unified opposition of leading abortion rights advocates to restrictions on late-term abortions.”

The Washington Post reporter quotes “incendiary examples” of the paper’s assertions that “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.” In addition, Mohler’s article says that “Giubilini and Minerva now argue that newborn human infants lack the ability to anticipate the future, and thus after-birth abortions should be permitted.” Might we ponder then at what age any child is capable of anticipating their future, perhaps it could be age 4 or maybe 7? Who is it that decides when a child is human with any rights or capabilities?

After-Birth Abortion: The Moral Issue
If After-birth Abortion has the possibility of becoming legal, who might consider having the procedure? The Guttmacher Institute website5 offers many statistics on those choosing pre-birth abortions rather than adoption. The site gives us a good look at those who may also choose After-birth Abortion. The JME paper says adoption is not necessarily an answer. Giubilini and Minerva write that the mother’s emotional state is involved, “we also need to consider the interests of the mother who might suffer psychological distress from giving her child up for adoption.” Why have they not addressed how a woman may suffer greater distress knowing she terminated her child? There are many cases of post-abortion syndrome.

A summation of the Guttmacher Institute’s statistics seems that the majority of abortions are due to unwanted pregnancies—inconveniences, birth control, etc. rather than extreme medical issues. The argument is ongoing between pro-life and abortion rights camps over when a conceived child becomes a “human” or not. The moment we allow ourselves to play God about who is human and who is not, we are bound for terrible end. We may as well institute a lottery or pick straws.

The Bible tells us that God formed us and knows us in the womb, before we are born.6 In Psalm 139:13-14, David’s prayer says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully [reverently] and wonderfully [distinguished] made;” God created and holds all life sacred; it is not ours to terminate. He loves each and every one of us.

If you are considering abortion or After-birth Abortion (should it become legal) due to an undesirable or tragic situation, please consider this: Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:18 to not murder, this includes ending the life of a child. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28). God will help you and strengthen you; He is always faithful to His word.

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Footnotes
1 Journal of Medical Ethics (March 2, 2012) (http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full)
2 Washington Post (March 5, 2012) by Mary C. Curtis
3 R. Albert Mohler, Guest Columnist, www.christianpost.com, March 7, 2012)
4 Hippocratic Oath: http://www.doctorslounge.com/oath.htm
5 Guttmacher Institute: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb induced abortion.html
6 Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 44:2, 44:24


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