Infanticide Becomes Justifiable

Feb 7, 2019 by

by Wesley J Smith, First Things:

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote that bioethicists “professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on the way to becoming the justifiable until it is finally established as unexceptionable.” After the events of the last few weeks, the same could be said of liberal politicians.

Infanticide was once “unthinkable.” But over the last few decades, some of the world’s foremost bioethicists have considered baby killing worthy of respectable debate.

Princeton University’s Peter Singer is the most famous such advocate. A crass utilitarian, he argues that “being human” doesn’t have any moral import. The question of value rather depends on whether an individual exhibits the cognitive traits of a “person” over time, such as self-awareness. In this view, some human beings are non-persons—an invidious category that includes the unborn, infants, the profoundly cognitively disabled, and those who have lost their personhood through illness or injury.

Non-persons do not possess the right to life. In Rethinking Life and Death, Singer explicitly compares human non-persons to mackerel: “Since neither a newborn infant nor a fish is a person, the wrongness of killing such beings is not as great as the wrongness of killing a person.” He opines in Practical Ethics:

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