“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 this carefully for it was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics and we are seeing what we have sowed as a result of Roe v Wade. The unborn child became a fetus, a potential human being and now a baby born is now a potential human being, so what we have is the promotion of infanticide. But we shouldn’t be surprised since ethicist Peter Singer wrote seven years after Roe v Wade, “, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.” Your family cat in Singer’s view has more value than the little baby recently born and Singer logic is that since a baby has no awareness and essentially can’t survive on his or her own, parents can kill the child if they have no use for the baby. (Of course, the same can be said of many seniors in a nursing home since their survival is dependent upon nursing home staffs, that maybe their value to society is gone. As we will see shortly, the dehumanization of the unborn and newborn has spread to the elderly.)
Maybe the crux of the abortion of the issue has been how do you measure the rights of two human lives that exist within the same body? To make Roe work, the first step was to dehumanize the unborn child and turn the child into a fetus, an “it”. Singer believed the Christian view about the sanctity of human life as nothing more than speciesism but as we have already noted the farm pig or cow has more value in Singer’s eye. Which brings us to a crisis within Western civilization, what does it mean to be human?
Nor does it end with the newborn as the movement towards euthanasia has been directed toward the elderly. As former governor Richard Lamm argued in the 80’s terminally ill seniors had a duty to die and the recent debate over Obamacare included that same role with IPAB, the official advisory board and its role in rationing Obamacare. When Sarah Palin talked of the IPAB acting as death panel, she was hammered. But, in September of 2007, Robert Reich essentially made it clear that Obamacare would encourage the elderly die early as he noted that older people are too expensive and should accept their duty to die, a phrase similar to Lamm two decades earlier. (In the same speech, Reich added that young people need to pay more and there will be less innovation in medical care. As he concluded, “You should not expect to live longer than your parents.” Reich gave a nice summary of Obamacare and our health care future.)
When commenting on this piece, Weekly Standard’s, Andrew Ferguson noted, “But what about adoption, you ask. The authors ask that question too, noting that some people—you and me, for example—might think that adoption could buy enough time for the unwanted newborn to technically become a person and “possibly increase the happiness of the people involved.” But this is not a viable option, if you’ll forgive the expression. A mother who kills her newborn baby, the authors report, is forced to “accept the irreversibility of the loss.” By contrast, a mother who gives her baby up for adoption “might suffer psychological distress.” So much for humanity.
During the 1990’s, a friend of mine had a chance to talk with a neonatologist in Wichita and the Doctor told him, “We are saving the lives of babies here that are being aborted in George Tiller’s abortion clinic.” The doctor put the issue right before us, babies whether located in a mother’s womb or born outside are indeed human and this has been the most difficult aspect of the abortion debate.
How do we measure the right of the mother with the right of the unborn, to be born? As the Declaration of Independence states, we have a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but the right to life is first before the other rights can be enjoyed. Of course, the political aspect of abortion resembles the wisdom of Solomon and many pro-lifers have struggled with this, which is why over the years, many pro-lifers legislators have been willing to allow an exception for abortion if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Many have been willing to extend this exception to rape or incest. This is not an easy issue; for even many pro-choice women understand the humanity of the unborn children. It is a debate emotionally charged, but the central question, remains what does it mean to be human?
If you dehumanize the unborn child, then an abortion is not big thing. It is no more damaging than removing a wart. But, any ultrasound will show the unborn is human. However the movement to dehumanize the unborn has now spread to the newly born as geography no longer protects the baby. A baby born is no more human than a fetus and no more human than the family cat or dog.
Maybe we are seeing the ultimate result of the expansion of the welfare state in which the government attempt takes over all of our care. When the government provides the right to health care, then the government provides the condition to those rights. As we have seen with the Obama administration’s war with the Catholic Church, the right to healthcare trumps the right of religious freedom. The government will determine which rights will grant higher status. This is what happens in a society that views natural rights as an anachronism. As Robert Reich noted, when caring for seniors becomes too expensive rationing reduces cost by allowing seniors their duty to die. In a world in which human are more a calculation on a government accounting sheet, then death panels are the result. The dehumanization began with Roe when the Supreme Court denied the humanity of the unborn and now we are seriously talking about the need for infanticide. This is how civilizations die when they deny their own humanity.
Writer’s note: Reich made his statement in 2007 and not in 2009 as the original article stated.