Doctors ‘Should Have The Right To Kill Unwanted Or Disabled Babies At Birth As They Are Not Real Persons’ Say Academics
Doctors ‘should have the right to KILL unwanted or disabled babies at birth as they are not a real person’ claims former Oxford academic
Philosopher and medical
Even a healthy baby could have its life snuffed out if the mother decides she can’t afford to look after it, Dr Minerva suggested
Doctor receives death threats and hate calls telling her to ‘burn in hell’
Anti-abortion vicar: ‘If infanticide is morally repulsive, then abortion is too’
By Fiona Macrae
1st March 2012
Doctors should have the right to kill newborn babies because they are disabled, too expensive or simply unwanted by their mothers, an academic with links to Oxford University has claimed.
Francesca Minerva, a philosopher and medical ethicist, argues a young baby is not a real person and so killing it in the first days after birth is little different to aborting it in the womb.
Even a healthy baby could have its life snuffed out if the mother decides she can’t afford to look after it, the article published by the British Medical Journal group states.
The journal’s editor has defended the piece, saying the publication’s role is to present well-reasoned arguments, rather than promote one particular moral view.
But the article has angered other ethicists, peers and campaigners. They have described the call for legalised infanticide as chilling and an ‘inhumane defence of child destruction’.
The doctor, a research associate at Oxford, has received death threats and hate calls telling her that she will ‘burn in hell’, and she said the last few days since publication have been ‘the worst of my life’.
Writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr Minerva and co-author Alberto Giubilini, a University of Milan bioethicist, argue that ‘after-birth abortion’ should be permissible in all cases in which abortion is.
They state that like an unborn child, a newborn has yet to develop hopes, goals and dreams and so, while clearly human, is not a person – someone with a moral right to life.
In contrast, parents, siblings and society have aims and plans that could be affected by the arrival of the child and their interests should come first.
The article, After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? first addresses scenarios in which parents are unaware their child is disabled until after it is born.
The piece argues that, though the child may be happy, it will not reach the potential of a normal child.
‘To bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole…On these grounds, the fact that a foetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion.’