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Journal of Medical Ethics, the ghosts of Francis Schaeffer and C Everett Koop have somewhat to say to you regarding “post-birth abortion” . . .


(In case you imagine this to be purely academic, cf. here)

UD News has recently highlighted a  debate on how the academy has reacted to objections to a bioethics paper that advocated “post-birth abortion.” (Cf. a noteworthy objection, here.) Including, “post-birth abortion” of the healthy but undesirable.

A telling clip from the JME paper:

we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.

Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. [–> dehumanising the intended victim, always the first step to excusing mass, politically backed murder] The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims. However, this consideration entails a much stronger idea than the one according to which severely handicapped children should be euthanised. If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet . . .

This is where we have now reached under the impact of the evolutionary materialist worldview, dressed up in the lab coat of “science.” And yes, that is well merited fair comment in light of the obvious implications of say Prof Provine’s notorious Darwin Day 1998 remarks at U Tenn:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

We also need to note how, forty years ago, Schaeffer and Koop presented a mini series on Whatever Happened to the Human Race, that brings out these implications. (I have commented further on this here.)

Let us therefore listen as these distinguished men speak from beyond the grave to us:

[youtube 8uoFkVroRyY]

Chilling. They have warned, in no uncertain terms, concerning the cascade of breakdown of the value of life: abortion on demand –> infanticide –> euthanasia –> mass killing of the undesirables.

FORTY years ago.

They were widely pooh poohed, derided and dismissed as alarmists.

But now, what they warned about is beginning to happen, in some places seems to already be happening.

That should be a wake-up call.

Are we listening? END

PG: Great to hear you. Your words carry extra weight, given your profession. KF kairosfocus
One point that seems to be lost in the debate is that, in California at least, there is no excuse to kill a baby because it is unwanted. Besides Barb's objection, which is almost always a valid one (with the exception of rape), if one has an unwanted child, one can simply walk into any hospital and dump the baby. No questions will be asked (although it would be nice to know the baby's family history, the hospital is not allowed to ask). So there is no excuse for simply killing the baby. Another point that is sometimes lost is that the primary damage in the practice of infanticide (and IMO of late-term, and in actuality any, abortion) is not what happens to the baby. It is what happens to the people who decide to carry out the infanticide or abortion. One reacts to abortion in one of two ways. One either recoils and lives with guilt, or one becomes calloused to the taking of human life and it spills over. After one has dismembered enough babies in the womb, and it turns out to be technically difficult, one simply induces labor and then neglects the baby until it dies, or then "progresses" to "making sure it is dead". One tends to "advance" to where one has no compunctions about saying that one's practice is to give the babies digoxin in utero, even lying under oath, when one knows good and well that what one said is not the case. One can dither about calling an ambulance on an adult patient because it might reflect on one's competence (and dare I say that it is cheaper to pay for a wrongful death than for a patient with long-term disability?). One can have an annual income conservatively estimated at $1.8 million, largely in cash (where are the IRS when you need them?), and fail to buy new disposable instruments or invest in proper sterilizing equipment, pay properly trained subordinates, or obtain a facility that meets the minimum requirements for a surgical center. Lest one thinks that Gosnell is a rare exception, note that in Pennsylvania, the mere requirement that abortion centers be able to handle ambulances in case of emergency resulted in the closure of over 1/5 of the abortion clinics in the state (1/4 if you count Gosnell's clinic). That's right, abortion centers, instead of being built to code, simply hoped that they would never have any emergencies. If it is just the matter of abortion damaging the baby, then should we not prosecute miscarriages? Why should we prosecute attempted murder if the intended victim didn't even know of the plot? And why should we excuse people who tried their best to preserve life and wound up being counterproductive (for example, the physicians who bled George Washington)? The primary damage is not to the victim, but to the perpetrator. I know this line of thought comes dangerously close to making murder a "victimless" crime. But perhaps we need to rethink "victimless" crimes. If one is creating a moral monster out of oneself, is not intervention justified? Just some thoughts. Paul Giem
IP: Part of what we need to do by way of correction is to expose the rhetoric dressed up in academic robes for what it is and ask the pointed questions of accountability before us as stakeholders. For instance if JME and its authors have ever taken one penny, cent or the like of public money tracing to tax payers, they are accountable to us for their views, and if their notions are intended to influence public policy and law in any way -- which is patent -- they are accountable to us. So, the haughty - toned dismissals of hoi polloi and the concerns that this is a sobering step too far, are an attempt to evade accounting for their stewardship of our money and their status of influence. Even, pleading the fifth amendment or the equivalent, is a sign. All of these, we need to duly note in evaluating the agenda we see here exposed -- and as was predicted in astonishing details by Schaeffer and Koop 40 years ago, and largely dismissed. Now, what they warned about is playing out, and they are being regarded as to be forgotten as though the Whatever Happened to the Human Race movie series never happened and was never played on publicly broadcast tv right there in Washington DC, USA. (The dismissal at that time was: moving, but "propaganda." Nope: prophetic.) I say, echoing Bob Marley: why do they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look? (Message to those who hope to dismiss me: I am speaking for record [even, eternal record], never will you be able to say, there was silence in the teeth of what was being done to this civilisation; we had no reasonable means of knowing, there was not enough evidence and it was not accessible.) KF kairosfocus
God said You will not murder. Killing a human being, without judicial process or in self defence, is murder. If man has the right to life then murder can't be allowed by the state. In the womb the pro choicer can say they don't believe its a kid and so justify the filling of the fetus. Outside its plain murder. God will not allow this or bless any such society. If pro choicers do this it will be like the pro slvert folks expanding slavery into the north and then setting off a chain of events that destroyed slavery. Robert Byers
Either we are made in the image of God and have human exceptionalism endowed upon us from our conception by God, or we are the result chance and have no real moral worth or purpose whatsoever. Seeing as we are not here by chance,,
In Barrow and Tippler's book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God. William Lane Craig If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle - William Lane Craig - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA
Then the only reasonable conclusion is that we are here by miracle and endowed with infinite moral worth and purpose by our creator from our conception onward. This fact is so strong in evidential standards that it should be completely uncontroversial, on par with the the fact that the earth is round. Indeed this fact should be accepted with great joy by everyone. As astounding and mysterious as embryonic development is, the only REAL mystery to this fact is why do atheists use all manner of deception and denial at their disposal to fight against this wonderful fact? what's the payoff for them???
Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth -- visualized http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70 A Piece from the Developmental Symphony - February 2012 Excerpt: Embryonic development is an astounding process that seems to happen "automatically.",,, The timing of each step is too precise and the complexity is too intricate to assume that these processes are the mere accumulation by happenstance of changes to regulatory genes. Each gene plays its role at a certain time, and like a symphony, each is activated and silenced in turn such that the final result is a grand performance of orchestrated effort that could only have occurred through design. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/a_piece_from_th055921.html
Of note: embryogenesis is now known to be unique to each species:
The mouse is not enough - February 2011 Excerpt: Richard Behringer, who studies mammalian embryogenesis at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas said, “There is no ‘correct’ system. Each species is unique and uses its own tailored mechanisms to achieve development. By only studying one species (eg, the mouse), naive scientists believe that it represents all mammals.” http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57986/ Another Key Evidence For Evolution is Getting Squashed - Cornelius Hunter - May 2012 Excerpt: Confusion abounds and the evolutionists conclude, contra the traditional evolution view, that given the early embryo of an animal species, it would be possible to infer “comparatively little about its evolutionary trajectory.” That once powerful evidence that Darwin and the evolutionists proclaimed is now in the crowded dustbin of evolutionary proofs. http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/05/another-key-evidence-for-evolution-is.html Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012 Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,, A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species. On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view%2FarticleNo%2F33782%2Ftitle%2FEvolution-by-Splicing%2F
Further notes:
Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist's Evidentiary Standards to the Test - Dr. Michael Egnor - October 15, 2012 Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE's are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception -- such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE's have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,, The most "parsimonious" explanation -- the simplest scientific explanation -- is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species (or origin of life), which is never.,,, The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE's show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it's earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it's all a big yawn. Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/10/near_death_expe_1065301.html Facts about NDEs - video clip on the site Excerpt: In 1982 a Gallup poll estimated that 8 million Americans have had a near-death experience and a more resent study, a US News & World Report in March of 1997, found that 15 million have had the experience. http://www.ndelight.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=117&Itemid=63 "A recent analysis of several hundred cases showed that 48% of near-death experiencers reported seeing their physical bodies from a different visual perspective. Many of them also reported witnessing events going on in the vicinity of their body, such as the attempts of medical personnel to resuscitate them (Kelly et al., 2007)." Kelly, E. W., Greyson, B., & Kelly, E. F. (2007). Unusual experiences near death and related phenomena. In E. F. Kelly, E. W. Kelly, A. Crabtree, A. Gauld, M. Grosso, & B. Greyson, Irreducible mind (pp. 367-421). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Michaela's Amazing NEAR death experience - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLEmETQdMkg&feature=player_detailpage#t=629s
I recently re-read an essay on abortion entitled “Abortion and the Concept of a Person” by the late Jane English, who wrote about ethics. In her essay she states that claiming a fetus is human (because it’s a human fetus) is a logical fallacy known as affirming the consequent. It might be, but then again, what does she expect the fetus to be? Canine? If it’s a human fetus, it will eventually become a human being. That is common sense. Oh, right. We’re throwing away common sense now. Or at least the PhD’s are. As KF notes, we are seeing the progressive devaluation of human life. If abortions can be performed on “clusters of cells” (not embryos, the proper medical term) because they’re not technically or philosophically human, then why not have partial-birth abortions or post-birth abortions? The very term post-birth abortion is an oxymoron. The Encyclopedia Americana states: “Since most women can be brought safely through pregnancy even with serious medical problems, few abortions need to be performed to protect the mother’s health. Most abortions are sought to avoid having a child.” I agree with this statement. The vast majority of abortions are simply an easy way to avoid one of the natural consequences of sex: a baby. And there are numerous forms of birth control available if a woman really does not want to have a baby. Given these conditions, abortion is unjustifiable. Barb
KF, No need to ask questions we already know the answers to. The question is how to fix the problem. A long term, multi-generational approach is needed, I think. That or an asteroid strike to start this whole human race thing all over again. lpadron
F/N: The Bakersfield Californian has a commentary by Ms Marylee Shrider that is worth clipping:
Forty years ago, one of the slippery slope arguments raised by pro-lifers was that babies who somehow survived abortion procedures would be pushed aside to die or killed upon arrival. I was a naive high school sophomore then, but I remember rolling my eyes at the absurdity of such an idea, wishing pro-lifers would keep their arguments within the realm of reality, instead of embracing unlikely worst-case scenarios, as many seemed to do. How glad I am that I kept that uninformed opinion to myself. As it turns out, the fears of those early activists were not only justified, they were prophetic. Case in point: Florida legislators debating a bill that would require abortionists to provide medical care to babies that survive abortions were stunned last month when Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa LaPolt Snow testified in favor of post-birth abortion. When one of the lawmakers asked what "Planned Parenthood would want to have happen" in the event a botched abortion resulted in a living, breathing baby struggling for survival, Snow replied, "We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family and the physician." In other words, it's OK to let the baby die. Clearly shellshocked, the legislators pressed Snow to explain what objection Planned Parenthood could possibly have to aiding a newborn infant, but the lobbyist opted to dodge and weave, stammering on about Planned Parenthood's "concerns" with ambulance transport issues in the proposed bill. You can watch the exchange in its entirety at www.weeklystandard.com. But don't bother looking for it in the archives of ABC, CBS or NBC. Like the ongoing trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Pennsylvania abortionist suspected of killing a female patient and using scissors to snip the spines of babies that were aborted alive, stories that show the inhumanity of abortion get zero coverage from the mainstream media. What the media is fiercely determined to ignore can be found instead all over the Internet. Terms like "after-birth" or "post-birth abortion" may sound like the latest thing in the abortion industry, but fringe academia support of infanticide has been around for decades. The new and politically correct term is used simply to make the idea more palatable. At least that's what a pair of Australian bioethicists believed last year, before the Journal of Medical Ethics published their now infamous work "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" In the detached, matter-of-fact tone common to such articles, the authors argue that after-birth abortion should be permissible in all cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is healthy, because newborns, like fetuses, aren't "actual persons." The ethicists were reportedly shaken by the vitriolic comments and threats they received in response to the article. You could almost hear their plaintive cry from atop their ivory tower -- "C'mon, now, can't we all talk about killing babies like civilized people?" No, we can't. After four decades of fighting over abortion, that should be obvious. In the wake of the most recent events, it should also be obvious that Americans must now grapple with horrifying reality that the fears voiced by those early pro-life advocates weren't so unfounded after all.
We need to ask some serious questions about what is happening with our civilisation, with the academy in the forefront, why. KF kairosfocus
F/N: I have just -- on seeing results of a web search -- had to update my corrective to TSZ regarding invidious association with Nazis. How ironic, given what is going on in the OP above. KF kairosfocus
Barb: This is the progressive devaluation of life. DM: This is a manifestation of the slippery slope Schaeffer and Koop warned about, and is now beginning to slide away. It is time to get a grip and correct the beginning problem. Or else, we are being willfully blind. This SHOULD be a scandal that leads to resignations, given monstrous antecedents, but you can safely bet it will never appear in ordinary news as a concern. Other than maybe a distorted story about those right wing fundies attacking academic freedom and threatening academics, maybe. It is time we understood where our civilsation is and is headed. KF kairosfocus
The editor of the JME writes in defense of the article:
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. 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.
He is right about one thing: if you accept the moral premise of abortion in the first place, then infanticide is also justifiable. Arguments for the former become arguments for the latter. Apparently the "widely accepted" premise to the argument is that abortion is morally permissable. But is it widely accepted? Even here in the US the majority are personally opposed to abortion, even though many say they respect "choice". Well, what might be the basis of the personal opposition if not a moral one? I think the editor of JME is mistaken about how widely accepted the major premise of the original article is. I also find it troubling that the editor says that JME isn't there to "promote the Truth" or a particular moral view. Really? Then why bother with ethics at all? If ethics and morality aren't tied to Truth - then what? If its all just personal opinion, why bother with it at all? DonaldM
From the article: "we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk." Okay, wait a minute. Killing a viable, healthy newborn is now perfectly okay because it's, you know, survival of the fittest and all. Here's another idea: DON'T GET PREGNANT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Seriously, are all the feminist atheist intellectuals out there totally clueless about how birth control works? Sorry for the capslock of rage, but it applies here. Ladies, it's your body. Your decision. If you really, really don't want a baby growing inside you for 9 months, then do whatever you can to prevent this. It's not that hard. Barb
Just in case you think the recent exchanges here at UD over first principles of right reason, causality, free will, responsibility, and linked morality are just academic storms in a teapot. KF kairosfocus

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