"After Birth Abortion" proposal stirs protest

It's a shocking idea--that a parent should be allowed to take a baby's life after birth, for whatever reason the child is unwanted. Sad isn't it that most of us find that more shocking than abortion.
In an online article posted by the Journal of Medical Ethics, authors Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva postulate that parents should have the right to “abort” their newborn babies for the same reasons women are legally allowed to abort babies yet in the womb. According to Giubilini and Minerva, “The newborn and the fetus are morally equivalent… in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”  Describing both as “potential persons” they state that neither can possess a moral right to life because they do not yet “make aims and appreciate their own life.” This godless logic has a certain familiarity—they use the same arguments used in the past to defend abortion as a right of choice. By reducing certain human beings to the status of non-persons they declare their lives subject to the 'choice' of the parent.
The scope of the authors' argument is breath-taking. The authors propose that any parent, who determines that their own quality of life or that of their previous children will suffer harm (however slight, now or in the future) because of the life of the newborn, should be allowed to "abort" the life of the child (healthy or unhealthy).
What has brought us to this darkness? At least in part, the church bears a responsibility for having lost her voice in the matter of abortion in our society. While the early church spoke strongly to condemn both infanticide and abortion, the modern church has been largely silent or has even condoned abortion as a "morally acceptable choice." This is a sharp contrast to the early voices of Didache, and Epistle of Barnabas, Athenagoras and Tertullian all who condemned abortion as “murder.” Minucious Felix, in the early 3rd century called abortion "infanticide before they give birth to the infant."
Giubilini and Minerva were right when they stated that the newborn and the fetus are equivalent, but they lack a Christian understanding that values life because God revealed Himself as Creator and owner of each life and prohibits the shedding of innocent blood. Early Christians opposed abortion and infanticide because they viewed it as a sin against the most vulnerable of innocents created in God’s image. 
Why this darkness? The church has light to shed on issues of life and death and it is time for us to recall our voice on the matter! It is time to declare with Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being of not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.


  1. Our own PC(USA) policy on abortion states that while we may disagree on when human life begins, the taking of human life is sin. It has been established beyond any doubt that human life begins at conception. Now those who wish to justify this taking of human life, have changed the discussion to 'personhood' and made the rights of the woman the ultimate trump card. Anyone who is opposed to abortion before or after birth, is said to be interfering in the woman's health issues. The argument will continue to be changed as necessary to defend abortion, while the truth remains unchangeable .... each one, from conception, bears the image of God who alone has "rights" over that life from beginning to natural death.

  2. I may be confused but I don't know where the PCUSA actually condemns abortion straight out. Not weasel words but flat out condemns it. Fred Edwards

  3. Fred, you are absolutely correct. The PCUSA does NOT condemn abortion. In fact current policy states that abortion "may be morally acceptable in certain circumstances." Scripture, on the other hand is very clear that we are prohibited from taking innocent human life. Our PCUSA Confessions and Scripture both teach that we have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable ("widows and orphans"). We are charged to care for the "least of these" as though we do it unto Jesus. PCUSA policies on abortion do not align with these truths.

  4. Mary, thanks for your comments...I agree that truth remains unchangeable. "Truth" that must change the usual definition of words, or re-interpret Scripture in order to defend personal belief is not truth at all. Our human arguments are as fleeting as the morning fog, but Truth stands forever.

  5. I would say that this boggles the mind, but the simple fact is, these doctors are being logical. That is, if the child can be aborted before it is born, the act of separating it from its mother does nothing to increase its viability.

    In fact, life outside the womb is impossible for a newborn to sustain on its own, and so it is perfectly reasonable to push these principles to their logical conclusion and argue that post-birth abortion is no more morally wrong than pre-birth abortion (as it were). One might be able to even argue, based on the logic, that waiting till the child is born makes *more* sense, since up to that point it was sustained in tandem with the mother.

    Of course, such logic comes straight from hell.


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