Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Folly of Ethics

Ethics are what pass for morals among the intellectual elitists on the left who still bother with such antiquated, bourgeois notions of right and wrong. The lure of ethics as a final refuge is, of course, that they are relative, subjective and strictly a posteriori. Ethical foundations may be rooted in sound moral judgement - but that needn't be so. Hence, a leftist mind may posit any unfounded truism and commence therefrom with a corrupted, though subsequently logical, thesis. In this way, anything under the sun - even the most absurd, horrific folly - may be ethically justified.

The respected Journal of Medical Ethics, "an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics" associated, if I'm not mistaken, with Oxford University, published this week an article entitled, "After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?" (Spoiler alert: it shouldn't.)

The authors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesa Minerva, are respected ethicists. Their abstract follows:

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.

Pro-life (that is, anti-infanticide) advocates have long argued not only the basic, moral abhorrence of killing unborn children, but also the slippery-slope which accompanies the murder of society's most vulnerable. I invoked this latter fear in 2008, noting that President Obama supported "post-birth abortion" (as I coined the term) by voting against the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act," a law requiring physicians to provide medical care to infants born alive during an attempted abortion 

Ethicists have now gone a (small) step further and concluded that one need not passively allow helpless infants to die of exposure, starvation or abortion-inflicted injuries, but may rather decide at any time after birth that a child should be "aborted." And they have supplied philosophic, ethical justification - founded upon the abortion-logic premise that unborn children are morally-irrelevant non-persons. 

And they are correct. That is, given the premise which whey assume, the ethicists' logic is sound. If the unborn are not human or deserving of life, the mere act of moving from the mother's belly is of no moral relevance - the child merely changes locations, which is a profound event, but not a morally significant one.

The avenues by which to cite the folly of these ethicists are myriad and, in most cases, obvious to anyone not hindered by branding themselves an ethicist. That infanticide is now openly defended by the left should cause chills to liberals everywhere ... and horror to all other people of good will. The effects of a "new ethics" are being revealed. Mike Scaperlanda takes up this theme at Mirror of Justice - which also has worthy posts on the matter by Robert George. See more at the Catholic Moral Theology blog.

Categories > Bioethics

Discussions - 1 Comment

They are respected ethicists because they write in the Journal of Medical Ethics?

After-birth abortion (infanticide) was fairly common practice in europe up to the time of Malthus. The plight of the poor who would populate via frequent sex in times of high agricultural output, only to starve to death in leaner times was a basis for his political economy. (But see: the egyptian prohibition on infanticide, and also reliance upon the flooding of the Nile for sustanance...but infanticide is less permisible in an agricultural culture than in a hunter gather is more predictable) It was accepted by the Romans, and practiced by the Athenians and Spartans.

You still get cases of it today, but I would hate to have to do voir dire on the infanticide side of the jury. That is the definition of an unsympathetic client, complete with hostile national media attention, and countless facebook sermons. See: Amy Grossberg.

Just defending those types of cases makes you a less popular lawyer. (This a posteriori fact perhaps itself giving rise to an ethical justification for an ACLU inclined leftist.)

The truth is clearly that Abortion is trending in the opposite direction. Roe or perhaps Casey was the high water mark. After Gonzales v. Carhart it is misleading to say that Abortion is a fundamental right.

If you pay attention to the laws passed by state legistlator's you will see a clear direction towards restricting abortion, and ensureing in many cases an informed consent that requires listening to a heart beat or seeing a sonogram.

It seems possible to completly deny your premise: "founded upon the abortion-logic premise that unborn children are morally-irrelevant non-persons."

Even in Roe there was not an abortion-logic premise that unborn children (or the fetus) was a morally-irrelevant non-persons.

The scope of the abortion-logic premise that unborn children are morally-irrelevant non-persons when weighed against the autonomy of the mother, has clearly been in the opposite direction as medical science has pushed back the viability criterion.

Futhermore Scalia's dissent in Casey may either be accurate or not. "By foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish."

It seems clear that the national rule (at least as it has evolved) was not rigid and that there are currently substantial regional differences.

There are however no states in the union that recognize a right to infanticide, or otherwise have plans to decriminalize it.

While Roe gets a lot of just criticism, sometimes I wonder if it wasn't a question that had to be answered.

After all if abortion=Infanticide..

Can you immagine what would happen if say Nevada decided to go all in on a sort of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" and legalized infanticide (if you don't have to feed a child, it is easier to feed slots) Could you really have even one jurisdiction in the U.S. where the conduct of Grossberg and Peterson would be legal?

What if Roe was never decided and some states still banned abortion in all cases, while other states adopted the logic of Minerva and Giubilini?

Contra Scalia the strengh of a uniform national rule is that it cuts off regional differences (before they can be driven to "logical/analytic" outcomes, and lets substantial regional differences grow up on more narrow grounds.)

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