Oxford University director attempts to justify abhorrent promotion of killing newborns

Julian Savulescu, the editor of  the Journal of Medical Ethics and Director of the Center for Practical Ethics at Oxford University, has attempted to justify his publication of Giubilin and  Minerva’s article promoting the killing of newborn babies by revealing the little known fact that it is already legal in Holland:

‘As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.

The novel contribution of this paper is not an argument in favour of infanticide – the paper repeats the arguments made famous by Tooley and Singer – but rather their application in consideration of maternal and family interests. The paper also draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands.’

This is the nub of what Giubilin and  Minerva actually seek to justify in their article : ‘After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?’

“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.”

“If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.”

Julian Savulescu skirts over the fact that Giubilin and  Minerva are seeking to extend the immoral Dutch practice of killing newborns with disabilities to kill any newborn baby according to the parent’s judgement of the social, psychological and economic well being of the family. In Holland at present the Groningen Protocol allows  a physician to deliver a lethal injection to a newborn who suffers from a disability, at the request of the child’s parents.

Protect the Pope comment: Julian Savulescu claims the Journal of Medical Ethics ‘does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument.’

However, he goes on to admit that he does not find the arguments in Giubilin and  Minerva’s article ‘disturbing’. So just to be clear here, Julian Savulescu publicly admits he’s not disturbed by the argument that parents should be allowed to kill their newborn babies for social, psychological, or economic reasons because their babies are non-persons. In fact, he thinks it represents sound rational argument.

It would be interesting to discover Julian Savulescu’s understanding of the role of conscience in moral decision making.  Any person who can admit he’s not disturbed by the idea of killing a new born baby is revealing something about the state of his conscience. This is what the Catechism of  the Catholic Church states about erroneous judgement:

1790 . A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

One final point, Julian Savluescu is the director of the Center for Practical Ethics at Oxford University. If you want to study ethics at graduate and post-graduate level it would be best to avoid Oxford because they appear to be promoting ethics divorced from conscience. As history shows, that never ends well.

http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/shock-ethicists-justify-infanticide-in-major-medical-journal

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/journal-editor-defends-pro-infanticide-piece-killing-newborns-is-already-le?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily

 

20 comments to Oxford University director attempts to justify abhorrent promotion of killing newborns

  • This is seriously evil. I will keep it in m prayers

  • asrajit

    To call infanticide “After-birth abortion” makes sense. In fact, one of the doctors filmed by The Daily Telegraph referred to the killing of unborn female babies as infanticide.

  • spesalvi23

    I read about this yesterday and it made me sick to the core!!
    I don’t have words for this… only tears of shame and pure, profound sadness!

  • Appreciative Protestant reader

    And guess what? Savulescu the pro-baby killer is a professing atheist, of course.

    Here’s his testimomy of his descent into atheism:

    http://www.ise.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/9363/FINALEDITEDSavulescu_God_shortFINAL.pdf

    • Deacon Nick

      I’ve read Dr Savulscu’s account of his growing disbelief and find it difficult to reconcile his obvious sensitivity and reflectiveness with his statement that he was not disturbed by the argument for after-birth abortion. Deacon Nick

  • Fr John McCallion cc

    That Julian Savulesou says that he isn’t disturbed at the deliberate killing of innocent life is beyond words; what adds to the pain of such a statement, is that he “teaches” in the same University as that hallowed by the presence of such saintly giants Blessed Dun Scotus and Blessed JH Newman. Let us all make sacrifices to save his soul!

  • Karla

    This is where legal abortion inevitably leads. I have even heard people who are pro abortion shocked at this. But why are they? If you support killing a baby in the womb, then why do you suddenly not support killing a baby outside the womb?

  • Gurn

    This is what happens when people are allowed to make up their own morals and ethics based on nothing but personal whim. Why aren’t political leaders condemning this, this should be breaking news. Have people completely taken leave of their senses!?

  • Pedro

    Is there no one on this forum that understands what an academic argument is? I have often seen comments here extolling the virtues of studying philosophy, yet any understanding of what this philosophical journal has done seems to be completely lacking.

    It’s a philosopher’s job to ask questions, to take premises, apply reasoned argument and see where that leads. If the argument leads to a conclusion that is morally repugnant then it is for others to determine where the premises or the logic has failed.

    I haven’t been able to access the original paper, but from the editors blog and the paper abstract, it seems the authors claim that there is no ethical difference between abortion and infanticide. That is exactly what Catholics believe! The editor makes it quite clear that he welcomes a reasoned response.

    “Of course, many people will argue that on this basis abortion should be recriminalised. Those arguments can be well made and the Journal would publish a paper that made such a case coherently, originally and with application to issues of public or medical concern.”

    Of course the editor is not “disturbed” by an academic argument, because that’s all it is, an _academic_ argument. And in this case, you should be supporting the publication of this paper, not just on the basis of academic freedom, but because it actually strengthens the Catholic argument.

    • Deacon Nick

      Pedro, to think academic arguments are somehow divorced from morality and conscience is incomprehensible. Reason is more than logical consistency, your initial premise needs to be true if your arguments are to be reasonable. Morality and conscience test the truth of our initial premises. If you reject the objectivity of morality and conscience then you abandon reason to a subjectivity that follows its own logical consistency, but is divorced from reality.

      Anyway, the authors of After-birth abortion aren’t presenting a neutral, detached argument, but presenting reasons to justify killing newborns. For a man who claims to be so reasonable why have you just ignored the quotes posted from their article that make it blindly obvious that their argument is not impartial or detached? Here they are again:

      “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.”

      “If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.”

      By no stretch of the imagination can there arguments be seen as making a pro-life case, in fact quite obviously they are applying the false reasoning behind pre-natal abortion, and extending that false logic to newborns. To present this as otherwise, as you appear to be doing, is disingenuous. Intentional or not on your part I’m not sure.

      Pedro, you do accept, don’t you, that there are some givens that form the basic datum of reason? For example, that we exist at this moment? Another given for reasonable people, is that a newborn child, and the child in the womb, is a human being, with personhood an inherent capacity. This doesn’t need to be proved, its a given. Those who argue that a newborn child is not a human being have passed beyond reason. If you do not accept that there are givens to reality, then we have no ground on which to communicate. Deacon Nick.

      • Pedro

        “Pedro,to think academic arguments are somehow divorced from morality and conscience is incomprehensible.”

        Para 2, sentence 2 of my post.

        “your initial premise needs to be true if your arguments are to be reasonable”

        Ditto.

        “the authors of After-birth abortion aren’t presenting a neutral,detached argument”

        I never said they were.

        “quite obviously they are applying the false reasoning behind pre-natal abortion,and extending that false logic to newborns. To present this as otherwise,as you appear to be doing,is disingenuous.”

        I said absolutely nothing of the kind. I said their conclusions, because they are so clearly morally repugnant, served to support Catholic teaching on abortion. I never claimed that they intended to do that.

        “Those who argue that a newborn child is not a human being have passed beyond reason.”

        No, they’ve passed beyond morality. An argument can be perfectly rational and its conclusions can still be morally wrong.

        Just in case I haven’t yet made it abundantly clear. I do not agree with the authors’ conclusion, but I do agree with an academic journals right to publish their arguments.

        Incidentally, the full text of the paper is available online but I don’t recommend it for you if you suffer from high blood pressure.

        http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/02/22/medethics-2011-100411.full

        • ms catholic state

          Pedro….would you be so in favour of the ‘right’ of an academic journal to suggest that homosexuals should be put to death?! I doubt it very much. Let’s all remain within the moral boundaries of love and mercy….and let our rule be ‘Do unto others as you would be done by’. This will keep us civilised.

          Academia is no free ticket for sinful evil or downright sick suggestions. No way! And let’s not forget that Hell awaits us, should we think we are too good for goodness.

  • ms catholic state

    Well spoken Gurn. It should be breaking news. If any other group were deemed fit for murder it would be headline news indeed. But not babies. What kind of society have we become. And where are our Catholic and pro-life MPs. Our bishops must call on them and all people of goodwill to call for such incitements to murder to be prosecuted.

    And it is time to bring back the threat of Hell. Believe me…even atheists don’t like to be told they are going to Hell if they do great evil without repenting. Deep down everyone does believe in Hell. Our Bishops must not be shy about using this threat. It will save souls and lives.

    • harry

      ‘And it is time to bring back the threat of Hell. Believe me…even atheists don’t like to be told they are going to Hell if they do great evil without repenting. Deep down everyone does believe in Hell. Our Bishops must not be shy about using this threat. It will save souls and lives.’

      At the risk of sounding like a panto audience, ‘Oh no they don’t’. As for the last bit, people in the UK will either not notice, or just smile to themselves.

      • ms catholic state

        Many atheists get offended if you say they will go to Hell. Yes they may deny such a place exists….but if Hell doesn’t exist then why get offended when told they will go to Hell. Deep down they know it is true.

        • harry

          Not offended MS. Can you tell us what or where hell is?

          • harry

            No need for a reply. The answer seems to be here http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm

            In summary the view seems to be ‘we don’t know where it is, but its there’.

          • Bill R Painter

            Excerpt from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gehenna:

            The word derives from the Hebrew: גי(א)-הינום Gêhinnôm (also Guy ben-Hinnom (גיא בן הינום) meaning the Valley of Hinnom’s son. The valley forms the southwest border of ancient Jerusalem that stretches from the foot of Mt. Zion to the Kidron Valley. It is first mentioned in Joshua 15:8. Originally it referred to a garbage dump in a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusalem where fires were kept burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is also the location where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would be dumped. In addition, this valley was frequently not controlled by the Jewish authority within the city walls; it is traditionally held that this valley was used as a place of religious child-sacrifice to Moloch by the Canaanites outside the city (comp. Jer. 2: 23).

  • Jay

    I can’t remember ever reading anything and wanting to throw up the way I do now!

  • Michael

    I can see the positive contribution that the article makes, even though the authors’ own ethics are repugnant.

    The argument is that, if abortion is morally licit, then so is infanticide and,for that matter, wilful murder at any stage of life.

    If wilful murder at any stage of life after birth is morally repugnant, then so of necessity is abortion.

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