I refused to give the Journal of Medical Ethics paper on infanticide being the moral equivalent of abortion any serious attention, because….seriously? Who believes that? It came from another country who’s rights apparently still come from kings and not from God.
But the story is not going into the back of the closet and is even on Drudge today.
So I looked at it and then clicked on the link to a blog from an editor of the journal describing why they printed it.
1) – it was nothing new
2) – it doesn’t argue in favor of infanticide
3) – it’s legal in the Netherlands
The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.
Of course, many people will argue that on this basis abortion should be recriminalised. Those arguments can be well made and the Journal would publish a paper than made such a case coherently, originally and with application to issues of public or medical concern. The Journal does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument. Moreover, it supports freedom of ethical expression.
The editor is disturbed, not by the article. But by the responses of people to the article.
More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.
“The very values of a liberal society”.
We here in this country believe that we have some basic rights that are not bequeathed to us by medical people or even parents once we are alive. They come from God – or for you atheists, they just are. We have that right to life – certainly from the very point that we are alive.
To the editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics that right ONLY EXISTS if you can contribute to him.
I take a ‘subject of a moral right to life’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to my own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to me.
That takes infanticide where you try to draw the line, somewhere before birth to afterbirth, to a whole new level. Where could it stop?
Loser dopeheads may not have a moral right to life. The elderly in nursing homes with no friends or family, those who write medical ethics blogs, noisy 6 year olds etc, etc.
Please – continue on without me lest we erode the “very values of a liberal society” by not allowing such free exchange.
What have we become that professional people are having these discussions in a Journal on Ethics without discussing, you know, the ethics.