The promoters of the “after-birth abortion”—which has been removed from the Journal of Medical Ethics website—have issued a non-apology apology. They were just misunderstood and misrepresented don’t you know. But that dog won’t hunt so I took to the Daily Caller to explain. From “After-Birth Abortion Advocates’ Non-Apology Apology:”
In the wake of the firestorm they sparked, Giubilini and Minerva have issued a classic non-apology apology sorry for offending, they write, but after all, this is merely academic discourse, and besides, the media misstated what we argued. But they don’t actually take anything that they wrote back. Here’s an excerpt from “An Open Letter from Giubilini and Minerva,” which was published late last week on the Journal of Medical Ethics’ blog:
When we decided to write this article about after-birth abortion we had no idea that our paper would raise such a heated debate. “Why not? You should have known!” people keep on repeating everywhere on the web. The answer is very simple: the article was supposed to be read by other fellow bioethicists who were already familiar with this topic and our arguments [as] this debate has been going on for 40 years.
But that is precisely why it was important that the public sit up and take notice. Bioethics is no mere debating society in which participants debate the propriety of infanticide today and oppose it tomorrow. Rather, the field is and has been since its inception about changing the values and public policies of society...Bioethicists haven’t discoursed about infanticide for 40 years because they enjoy exploring novel concepts, but rather, because it isn’t easy to convince people not even bioethicists that killing babies is acceptable.
I explain how the bioethics discourse often leads to societal public policy changes:
Here is the pattern: In the 1960s, the propriety of abortion was actively promoted in professional journals, leading directly to the great denouement of Roe v. Wade. Similarly, in the 1970s, bioethicists argued that it should be acceptable to withdraw feeding tubes from people with severe brain damage, an idea that was once beyond the pale. After a general bioethical consensus toward that end was achieved, the “concept” soon became public policy. Now, people who are unconscious and minimally conscious are dehydrated to death in all 50 states as a matter of medical routine. Terri Schiavo was only unusual in this regard because her blood family made such a stink.
They then claim that their assertions were misrepresented. But I give a litany of quotes from the article.
The authors were unequivocal in asserting their beliefs. Here are a few representative quotes, none of which they recant in their non-apology:
- “In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth’ abortion,’ rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus rather than that of a child.”
- “Therefore we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all circumstances where abortion would be.”
- “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 practice after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too.”
- “Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.”
- “Why should we kill a healthy newborn when giving it up for adoption would not breach anyone’s right but possibly increase the happiness of the people involved? On this perspective we also need to consider the interests of the mother who might suffer psychological distress from giving up her child for adoption.”
The bioethical and medical journals often carry radical advocacy for the imposition of utilitarian bioethical alterations in how we care for the sick, the elderly, and the disabled. It is important that they not be allowed to fly above the radar. The people have a right to know what is being planned for them, and if make their opposition clear.