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Post-Birth Abortions: An Idea That's Gaining Ground on Campus

Momma Loves CC

Gene Tarne - published on 11/04/14

The inevitable result of the West's cultural drift

Student pro-life activists are reporting an alarming trend at college campuses: a growing acceptance among students of something called “post-birth abortion.”

Yes, you read that right.

Post-birth abortion, aka, infanticide.

“We encounter people who think it is morally acceptable to kill babies after birth on a regular basis at almost every campus we visit,” said Mark Harrington, director of Created Equal, a pro-life group that focuses on reaching out to college students. “While this viewpoint is still seen as shocking by most people, it is becoming increasingly popular.”

Alarmingly, the report noted that some students believe it is alright to kill a child up to 4 or 5 years of age.  

As if to confirm the anecdotal evidence for this trend, another organization solicited students on a college campus to sign a petition to legalize “fourth trimester abortions.”  As the video shows, many eagerly did.

While some may dismiss the whole notion of a post-birth abortion as a rather sick, college-level attempt at humor, it is anything but. In fact, the concept was developed by medical professionals and put forth in an internationally respected, peer-reviewed medical journal.

In 2011, the "British Journal of Medical Ethics" (JME), published the article “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” by Profs. Alberto Guibilini and Francesca Minerva. The question was asked rhetorically, for according to the authors, the baby shouldn’t. The authors equate the moral status of a newborn to that of an unborn child allowing them to then conclude that because an unborn child can be aborted, it is thus also permissible to kill a newborn in what they call an “after-birth abortion.”

(Of course, it does not occur to the authors that if you equate an unborn child to a newborn infant, then that might be an argument against killing the unborn child by abortion).

Thankfully, the publication of the article caused a furor, which the authors were forced to acknowledge in an open letter attempting to explain their motivations. But while such outrage was a positive sign that the Culture of Death still faces strong opposition, Profs. Guibilini and Minerva were hardly the first, amongst their academic peers, in developing rationales for infanticide.

In their open letter, Profs. Guibilini and Minerva reference Michael Tooley — and rightly so. Tooley might be regarded as the “godfather” of the modern intellectual movement to establish the ethical and intellectual case for infanticide. In 1972, one year before the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, Tooley published “Abortion and Infanticide” in the Princeton University publication "Philosophy & Public Affairs." In it, Tooley offered an ethical rationale for both. He expanded on this in a 1983 book by the same name, published by the Oxford University Press.  

In seeking to explain the trend towards acceptance of the idea of “post-birth abortion,” one pro-life activist quoted in the campus news article singled out the works of Princeton University professor Peter Singer, which she noted are often given as reading assignments to students.

In his books "Practical Ethics" (1979, Cambridge University Press) and "Rethinking Life and Death" (1994) Singer, like Tooley before, writes in defense of both abortion abortion and infanticide:

If we can put aside these emotionally moving but strictly irrelevant aspects of the killing of a baby we can see that the grounds for not killing persons do not apply to newborn infants ("Practical Ethics")

Singer further asserts that if there is such a thing as an inherent right to life, or a right not to be killed, then certain animals have a greater claim to it than a newborn human:

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