Two Oxford bioethicists caused an outcry among pro-lifers when they argued that “after-birth abortion” — killing a newborn baby — is morally sound and should be made legal.
Alberto Giubilini from the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva from Melbourne University wrote in the Journal of Medical Ethics that fetuses and newborns “do not have the same moral status as actual persons.”
The pair say that killing a baby should be “permissible in all cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled,” adding that “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant.”
The paper posits that the act wouldn’t be categorized as infanticide or euthanasia — since the killing wouldn't necessarily be in the newborn's best interest.
All Party Paliamentary Pro-Life Group has decried the controversial article.
“That the Journal of Medical Ethics should give space to such a proposition illustrates not a slippery slope, but the quagmire into which medical ethics and our wider society have been sucked,“ the charity’s co-chairman, Lord Alton, told the Catholic Herald.
Julian Savulescu, editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, defended the article on the British Medical Journal blog, claiming that similar arguments have been made in academic literature in the past.
“Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well-reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises,” he said.
As for those who disagree, Savulescu said the journal will be “very willing” to consider opposing papers for publication.