Moral status of newborn same as fetus

The following comes from a March 1 story by Catholic News Agency

Abortion supporters can see their own principles and logic reflected in a new article advocating the killing of newborn children, published by the Journal of Medical Ethics in February 2012.

“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,” Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argue in their paper entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”

Minerva and Giubilini are academic philosophers associated with institutions in Italy and Australia. Their defense of infanticide rests on the claims that “both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons,” while adoption “is not always in the best interest of actual people.”

“The proposal of a so called ‘after-birth abortion’ is not a surprise,” Italian neonatologist and Pontifical Academy for Life member Dr. Carlo Bellieni told Catholic News Agency on Feb. 29, offering his response to the article.

“It is only a quantitative extension of abortion, but not a qualitative change,” the pro-life physician said, noting that “at birth nothing substantial happens in the body or psyche of a baby” to distinguish it from what abortion advocates call a mere “fetus.”

Dr. Bellieni indicated that defenders of legal abortion have no grounds on which to give a “scandalized response” to the proposed killing of newborns, since “in both cases the life of a human being is terminated.”

In their article, Giubilini and Minerva also emphasized the continuity between traditional abortion, and the killing of newborns which they defend.

The authors say the practice should be called “after-birth abortion, rather than infanticide,” in order to “emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus – on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed – rather than to that of a child.”

According to Giubilini and Minerva, both an unborn fetus and a newborn child can be legitimately killed because “both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

“Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life,’” they state in their article.

They define a “person” as “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.”

“This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life….”

Click here for entire story…



Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 12:26 AM By Pauline
Pray for our Country. Babies, Elderly, Physically and Mentally disabled, and eventually those who disagree with the Government are all at risk. “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for the mentally and physically disabled, and I did not speak out because I was not disabled. Then they came for me and there was no one to speak out for me.” – Pastor Niemoller in Hitler’s Germany. Each one of us has an obligation to speak out against the OBAMA Administration and (most) Democratics.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 12:38 AM By charlio
The real ‘Rush Limbaugh’ this week was that someone made death threats against the paper’s authors. Presumably the left will consider that sufficient cover for an official definition of The New Thought-Crime: “Editor Julian Savulescu criticizes what he calls the ‘hate speech’ directed at the authors of the article.” (LifeSiteNews, Tue Feb 28, 2012, “Journal editor defends pro-infanticide piece: Killing newborns is already legal in Holland”.)

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 12:42 AM By Clinton
Truly satanic. Goes right in line with Obama and his administration’s policy, ie population control.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 4:20 AM By daryl
These same philosophers aren’t the advocates of granting Chimpanzees and Dolphins the legal status of human beings, are they? One of the President’s advisers has stated that animals should be entitled to sue for damages in court. But then, he is a lawyer. All of this is a little early for April Fools Day.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 5:24 AM By shaji
I agree, because both are the same i.e abortion before birth and after, in both the cases the child is helpless and with any substandard mentality, both are justifiable. I would say a bigger agenda for pro-abortionists and doctors can earn more bucks.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 5:41 AM By Paul
At my age I suppose that I am getting close to losing my waning personhood, so maybe I should stand in line to be among those who will soon become “Soylent Green.” Also, at my age, things like this really depress me. Aren’t we supposed to be getting smarter as we progress through time?

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 6:01 AM By Sue
And there you have it. We have fallen down the slippery slope. Catholics who support any form of abortion-yes, even those who “only” support it in cases of rape and incest are as responsible for this as those who are ardent abortion supporters. Who is the person or group who decides what is a viable human being? Who decides who will live and who will die? What is to stop them from killing the disabled or those who are as they so often like to say with a smile-“vegetables”. Having been a nurse for over 35 years, I can tell you that there are plenty of people in the medical profession who are perfectly willing to stop the treatment of anyone who they deem “not viable”. They make their decisions, tell the family in hushed tones so that the family will think that they care, laugh about it with the other medical “experts” who agree with their “ethics” and then go on their merry way, all the while patting themselves on the back for being so very “compassionate”. May God have mercy on our souls.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 6:13 AM By Juergensen
The cause of killing babies who survive abortion and are born alive has a champion in Obama. As a state Senator in Illinois, for three years consecutive years – 2001, 2002, and 2003 – Obama voted against the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which sought to provide legal protection to babies who survived abortion and were born alive (Cf. Jill Stanek, “Links to Barack Obama’s votes on Illinois’ Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” February 19, 2008). Oh, my, how will those who voted for Obama the baby butcher explain their vote to the slaughtered Lamb of God?

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 6:41 AM By Dan
“They define a “person” as “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.” Such frank honesty, though chilling, is also refreshing. I can’t wait to hear Cecile Richards and Nancy Pelosi’s response. Also interesting is that the authors insist on using the feminine pronoun. Do they have a predeliction for killing baby girls? “

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 7:11 AM By MacDonald
Oh, Hitler would be sooooooooooooo proud with this line of reasoning. He, too, carried the “philosophy” of abortion to its logical conclusion, deciding who was worthy of being allowed to live, and who was not.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 7:37 AM By WOODY GUIDRY
That this idea could be printed by someone who actually read it and understood it is too much to believe.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 7:43 AM By Camille
The Australia connection of these two Dr. Frankenstein’s is worth noting. Information coming out of Australia reports the promotion of acceptance of 12 year olds being given the right to agree to sterilizations and electrical shock treatments without parental consent. It would appear that we are well into acceptance of human life as a commodity owned by a global government and at its disposal.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 7:47 AM By Tarcisssus
You have got to be kidding. “…both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons,” while adoption “is not always in the best interest of actual people.” So Carter’s clothing markets “Newborn” sizes from Birth to 3 months old. Just how far do these “academica” think infanticide should extend? A few hours, days, weeks, or longer? Thank you, Martin Luther, for not paying attention in Theology class.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 8:05 AM By JMJ
Using their own misguided logic, why don’t we just abort them also. They are not doing anything to help the world or it’s people or it’s animals, plants, water, dirt, etc. so they should abort themselves. Of course, we know that ALL human life is precious in the eyes of God, as we are all his children. The evil one is still alive and spreading his hate. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 8:59 AM By AA
The good that may come from this article and this outrageous thought is the solidifying of the pro life movement together with the “I personally wouldnt abort” crowd. It shines a bright light in the evil of abortion.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 9:13 AM By Abeca Christian
I was eating breakfast, after reading this article I wanted to barf. My stomach was upset and so was my peace of mind. I think that people with these evil views, qualify for the death penalty since they seem to be making a purpose stance on this issue and may actually create this view as a norm in the future. If they succeed convincing laws to embrace this, then they are murderers in their view and ones that may help carry out these views, they are very dangerous individuals to the newly born innocent children!

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 12:30 PM By Catherine
Juergensen, The devil never sleeps and the lead shepherds are not guarding their flocks from this rapacious wolf. Yes, this ever evolving evil logic now desires more human sacrifice by killing newborns. Since evil actions beget more evil, this latest evil should not surprise us one bit. Especially when even EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo reports that at least half and maybe more of our own Catholic bishops voted for Obama, knowing well that Obama did not want the babies who survived abortion to be protected by law. What particular logic did our very own Catholic bishops use to overlook and ignore such a glaring heinous reality? Is this the logic of the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship Section 34, aka *proportionate heinousness*? My Catholic friends have asked several of their Catholic friends if their different parishes are giving homilies or instructions to educate Catholics on selecting candidates who always support the right to life. They all say that they are not hearing anything that will help to guide them or others. Catholics are not being educated. They have only heard one talk after Obama’s mandate but they have not heard anything else since. Why is there still silence from the pulpits on educating Catholics about artificial contraception and politicians who promote abortion? The shepherds are not keeping watch and they are not protecting, guarding or educating the sheep. It was the Catholic vote that helped Obama win the last election. Why is there still silence? Holy Mystic and Reformer, St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church said, “It is true that we cannot be free from sin, but at least let our sins not always be the same.”

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 2:16 PM By Mark from PA
UNBELIEVABLE!!! God have mercy on us!

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 2:56 PM By Doc Mugwump
We are witnessing humanity sinking to the lowest level possible. Isn’t this what pre-Christianized Rome did? God help us and God have mercy on us is right! We as faithful Catholics have to get the FAITH out into the public square; discuss it and educate people. Thank you California Catholic for keeping us informed, even if the news is difficult.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 3:45 PM By Delilah
I thought King David killed all the Amalekites. I know that Hitler was probably one in spirit with them. Obama voting for infanticide in the Illinois legislature surely is one in spirit with them. Now we have philosophers in league with them, Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for them and for us.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 4:17 PM By John F. Maguire
In reply to Catherine: The Catholic Bishops of the United Sates have never endorsed an electoral clericalism whereby the pastors of parishes give “homilies or instructions” to Catholics on which candidates to vote for and which against. Nor is it the mission of pastors to collect intelligence on which candidates are pro-lifers and which not, or better, which candidates are integral pro-lifers (those who reocgnize preborn infants as persons under the 14th Amendment) and which candidates are state prerogativists (those who want to cede to state legislatures the “prerogative” to vote, state by state, for or against the right of preborn infants to live out their lvies). No, against the temptation of any such electoral clericalism, the Church has made it clear that in keeping with America’s civic-republican tradition, the laity are to assume primary responsibility in this matter, YES, in accordance with the formation of consciences in the field of voting ethics we’ve seen addressed by the bishops, for example, in their document _Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship_, but NO, not along the line of recasting parish priests as tour guides on how to “select” candidates IN SITU. This latter line is the line of electoral clericalism — and our bishops, rightly, have rejected it.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 4:32 PM By John F. Maguire
To resort to so confused a notion as “after-birth abortion” is, straightaway, to erase the received, also the clear, distinction between pre-natal infanticide and post-natal infanticide.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 5:31 PM By MacDonald
Stalin, Pol Pot, Darfur, people killing girls in womb because they prefer boys — will such bloodshed never end? Thanks be to God that now, at least, we are privy to such news more quickly, and can speak out against it, vote, write, pray, and not live in blissful ignorance of what’s going on around the world each day. As we heard at Mass yesterday, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 7:56 PM By k
The United States of America uses a secret ballot for voting in elections. No one but the voter knows who they voted for. This protects people’s political privacy and helps prevent intimidation at the polls. Speculation on another’s vote is just that-speculation. Those who do so are not to be believed and their motives should be questioned. Exit polls taken after voters leave the polls are voluntary and provide demographic information for many uses. They are not intended as an aid to intimidate voters. Voter intimidation is any concerted effort by an individual or group on behalf of a party or candidate to coerce the voting behavior of a particular class or demographic of voter. It is illegal.

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 8:45 PM By John F. Maguire
As a practical matter, the customary norm among Catholic bishops is NOT to disclose publicly how they voted in their exercise of their right to vote as citizens. Whence the problem with the Arroyo “report.” There is a world of difference between a report in the proper journalistic sense, on the one hand, and idle speculation, on the other. Idle speculation — speculation that is second-hand and worse, speculation quoted from an unidentified source who is, for his own part, speculating — is NOT a “report” in the accepted sense recognized by the journalism profession. When, furthermore, this same unsourced speculation gets used to bash bishops, the abuse of journalistic ethics is compounded. Why then does this such rumor-mongering get repeated on this website?

Posted Monday, March 05, 2012 9:34 PM By Cody in Tucson
For discussion sake, what if there was NO womb/pre-birth abortion allowed, only post-birth. The baby is born, handed to the mother, mother is given a death implement, it is up to mom to execute the baby. Would the killing of babies dramatically go down? How many moms would go through with it? I shudder to think on how really sick our society may be. I’m not sure I want to know!

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 1:24 AM By PETE
Maguire, you do not know Arroyo’s sources. Bishops do talk to each other. Word gets around on inside sources You are jumping to conclusions. Just because you and I do not have the needed sources, does not mean that select others do not.

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 1:29 AM By James Howard
This is exactly what the Nazis said and did. We predicted this in the pro-live movement 40 years ago!

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 5:12 AM By Juergensen
It is not “speculation,” Mr. Maguire, but rather a fact, that EWTN News Chief Raymond Arroyo, in an interview he gave to Laura Ingraham after the 2008 election, stated: “LAURA INGRAHAM: ‘Here is the problem, how many of the bishops voted for Obama?’ RAYMOND ARROYO: ‘The bishops I spoke to say that maybe half of their brother bishops, if not more, voted for Obama.'” Mr. Arroyo said this, Mr. Maguire, and I find Mr. Arroyo far more credible than I find you, and so I choose to believe Mr. Arroyo over you. Indeed, what Mr. Arroyo said about half or more bishops voting for Obama is empirically consonant with the other undeniable fact that, counting Kmiec and his minions, slightly more than half of “Catholics” – 52% – voted for Obama. Sheep following their shepherds, indeed.

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 7:46 AM By Nightingale
Tried to find the article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, and it cannot be found on the website, even though the internet search takes you right to their site. Did they pull it??

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 10:33 AM By John F. Maguire
Jon Juergensen: In regard to the issue before us, I venture that the customary NORM among bishops NOT to disclose how they as citizens exercised their right-to-vote precludes, as NON-SOURCED MATERIAL, the gambit of quoting unidentified episcopal sources on the topic of how these sources’ fellow bishops voted. In this context as in others, the ethics of journalism, we know, requires sourced material (as a regular check on a lone reporter’s “ipse dixit”), not off-the-record speculations, however plausible. The virtue of OBSERVANTIA (respectful observance) is at stake here. We as laity are to observe respectfully the episcopal norm of non-disclosure of (partisan) voting, as indeed bishops themselves are obliged to respect this same norm. Granted, if one’s intent is not to impute scandal where no scandal exists, one is free to say, “Hey, you know, it is my surmise that this vote — the 2008 vote cast by bishops as citizens — is likely not to have dramatically departed from the general Catholic vote” and, from the point of view of plausibility, one probably would be well within the ballpark. Still, Mr. Juergensen, a surmise of this order cannot be be called a “REPORT” in the proper sense of the term. ~ Nor, Mr. Juergensen, is it true that the 2008 Catholic vote constitutes a case of the “sheep” following the shepherds. Electoral clericalism has never been a part of Catholic culture in the United States; nor is it likely to become a part of such a culture. Whence the wisdom of the the USCCB’s document _Forming Conciences for Faithful Citizenship_ (2011).

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:38 AM By John F. Maguire
Whether the gender of those who practice infanticide is male or female, Cody, the provocative question you ask, I venture, cannot be posed in the abstract but only in the context of what we know from history to be, in fine, a world-historical dialectic of moral progress and moral decline. In effect, you ask: Were prenatal infanticide strictly forbidden but post-natal infanticide allowed, how would preborn infants fare? Here, I submit, is the beginnning, but only the beginning, of a reply: It is the merit of the political economist Adam Smith (1723 – 1790) to have begun to answer your question not prospectively but instead retrospectively. Quote: “Can there be a greater barbarity for example, than to hurt an infant? Its helplessness, its innocence, its amiability, call forth compassion, even of an enemy, and not to spare that tender age is regarded as the most furious effort of an enraged and cruel conqueror. What then should we imagine must be the heart of a parent who could injure that weakness which even a furious enemy is afraid to violate? Yet the exposition, that is, the murder of new-born infants, was a practice allowed of in all the states of ancient Greece, even among the polite and civilized Athenians; and whenever the circumstances of the parent rendered inconvenient to bring up the child, to abandon it to hunger, or to wild beasts, was regarded without blame or censure.” Even when severe circumstances no longer bore down upon the parents; that is, even “in the later ages of Greece… the same thing was permitted from views of remote interest or conveniency…. […] Uninterrupted custom by this time…thoroughly authorized the practice…” (Adam Smith, _The Theory of Moral Sentiments_ (New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007 [1759]), pp. 214-15). We can, at least, say this much: one of the measures of moral progress is always and ever a society’s treatment of its weakest, its most vulnerable, members.

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 1:19 PM By John F. Maguire
In reply to Nightingale: If I’m not mistaken, what is available on the Internet, as of my present writing, is the Abstract, and no more than the Abstract, of the article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, specifically their article “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”, _Journal of Medical Ethics_ (March 2012). The Giubilini-Minerva article, as such, is, to date, not then availabe on the Internet. The ABSTRACT of this article however can be found on the Internet — at “Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva (and Charles C. Camosy) on After-Birth Abortion.” NOTA BENE.: Listed parenthetically is Chalres C. Camosy. Professor Camosy, I am happy to learn, teaches ethics at New York’s Fordham University. His article, which is a refutation of Giubilini and Minerva, can be found on the Internet under the title “Concern for Our Vulnerable and Neonatal Children: A Brief Reply to Giubilini and Minerva.” Kudos to Professor Camosy for his incisive and timely intervention.

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 3:22 PM By Dana
It’s there, Nightingale…you just have to keep scrolling down. There are many articles listed. I was curious too. It’s in the Feb.2012 on-line J.of Medical Ethics. There is also a response from a Catholic priest. Minerva teaches at the U.of Melbourne, Aus.

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 3:31 PM By bdbdbd
I completely agree that there is no difference. The newborn is identical to the preborn. That is precisely why it is wrong to kill either one.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 8:19 AM By BEA
We’re all in our own “choir,” focusing on the atrocity we know is an act of evil. Yet, what can we do to change the course of mentality near home? There is a primary in progress; & I am baffled that Catholics in AZ & Ohio opted to vote against obviously devout Catholic Santorum. Why? Secret Birth Control? Or mind ovr conscience? Yet, this man is likely to work with them & on the side of the USCCB to bridge social issues like this & others. President Obama’s HHS rule has encroached on our religious freedoms by merely dismissing our beliefs & the sacredness of personal conscience. Our media distorts the truth about social issues like the latest HHS rule encroaching on the 1st Amendment right of “Religious Freedom” by twisting it to a ‘Contraception Mandate,’ It also ignores abortion inducing drugs, & tubal ligation–all immoral in the Catholic conscience. Our media also hi-jacked another issue about preserving the “Definition of Marriage” meaning between a man and a woman by twisting it to a “Ban of Gay Marriage.” Whose minds do you think they are preying on? Many of our own Catholic brethren are in the middle of the trance being desensitized & brainwashed. Proponents of infanticide are in the same mindset of the Hitlarian regime. Yet, we are infested by a politically correct syndrome or relativism that prevents the mind from deducing objective truth of right and wrong. Do you think that the evil act of after birth abortion will activate most Catholics? Or will we continue into a deeper trance that is eroding Catholic conscience? I think our own Catholic consciences and common sense are being tested. Our govt is infested with relativism even from professed Catholics. Santorum speaks logically about fiscal & social issues, family, reducing govt control, media bias… yet most Catholics are asleep and dissing him by throwing away a good key that supports a door to their consciences.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 10:15 AM By Maryanne Leonard
We Catholics are not required to vote for any specific candidate just because he is Catholic, or even because we admire his personal lifestyle and openly professed values. I would vote for Newt Gingrich, a fellow forgiven sinner and fellow Catholic, because I believe he is more intelligent, more experienced, more electable, and more capable than Rick Santorum. We are not voting for Best Catholic; we are voting for our choice for President of the United States. How glorious that we have in the Republican primaries the choice of two good Catholics, one of whom would be exactly the president we most need right now. I won’t be shamed into feeling badly if I choose not to vote for Rick Sanctimonious.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 4:47 PM By Abeca Christian
Maryanne Leonard, Newt is not a bad choice but neither is Santorum. I like Rick Santorum and I am not voting for him just because he is Catholic, I actually feel like he has more guts to speak his convictions. But that is my take on it, if he doesn’t win and Newt does then he may be my second choice — but never Romney.