Aborting Born Babies: Are Only Liberals Truly ‘Human’?

In February of 2012, a pair of left-wing “philosophers” wrote a paper that claimed that babies aren’t human until they can become cognizant of themselves, aware that if they were to be “aborted” or killed they’d be losing something valuable, their lives. This, they claimed, justified abortion as well as post birth infanticide. Naturally they had elaborate justifications for their stance and what they wrote is chilling indeed, for it essentially states that only people that think like them are really worth the status of “human,” worth having their lives considered sacrosanct.

The pair, Alberto Giubilini of Milan, Italy, and Francesca Minerva of Australia, held as a central thesis that since abortion is so commonly accepted there had to be a more expansive use for it. That use, the pair decided, should be to cover killing babies born with developmental problems. After all, they said, neither fetuses or newborns “have the same moral status as actual persons,” so this certainly must mean that newborns with catastrophic birth defects could be killed without any moral reservations.

Here is how they justified the non-human status of both a fetus and a born baby.

The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.

Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her. This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.

This is chilling for its cold approach to life, but worse for its vagueness.

Let’s examine the main point of what makes someone a worthy human in these liberal’s minds. They feel that unless someone can understand the “basic value” of their own life, then they don’t count for personhood.

This is so entirely ague that anyone can qualify for elimination in a large number of situations.

The pair mentions that mentally retarded people can qualify for elimination, that they aren’t cognizant of the value of their own lives. But are you aware of yourself when you are in a coma from an accident? Are you any longer aware of yourself if you have Alzheimer’s? How about if you have devolved to infantile status at the end of your life? Should your children have the right to just kill you instead of keeping you alive in that case?

How far does this “thought” criteria go? Can these “philosophers” decide that if you are happy drinking beer, working as a car mechanic, and watching reality TV that this isn’t enough cognition to qualify to be self-aware? Could they decide that unless you think exactly like them, why, you aren’t properly a human? Of course they could because they would be in charge of deciding what “thought” qualifies as enough to make you a real person.

Imagine what this means? It means that the left is leaving behind its reliance on “science” and alighting on “thought” to serve as a basis to assess who is worth what. No longer is mere biology something worth considering. That long-held justification for abortion using the unviable cells argument is now out. Instead we will henceforth set out to determine if people are thinking properly to ascertain if they are worth keeping alive.

Chilling, no?

Worse, imagine how much more dangerous these ideas will become when governments decide to use them as a basis for policy! We will have governments determining who is “worth” being called a human based on how the person being judged thinks.

Extremely chilling, indeed.

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  • GarandFan

    Those in their ‘golden years’ have a right to be worried.  Being no longer “productive”, do they have a right to exist?  Aren’t they a “drain” on society?

    My how we’ve “progressed” and “advanced” over the years!

    • Many of those who rely on government support have done so all their lives (welfare, food stamps, medicaid, etc).  They are not “productive.”  They ARE a “drain” on society. 
      It is absurd to discuss eliminating anyone based on their value but the right to take the life of a human fetus is absurd to me too.  The denial of life saving treatment for the elderly is already being addressed in Obamacare. How much is acceptable if we give the power over life and death to men who do not value human life in all of its forms?

      “Abortion doesn’t make you un-pregnant, it makes you the mother of a dead baby.”

      • 914

        ” Many of those who rely on government support have done so all their lives (welfare, food stamps, medicaid, etc).  They are not “productive.”  They ARE a “drain” on society. ”

        They also vote democrat in super majority’s .. thus they are necessary..for now.

        •  for now…

        • retired.military

          There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange
          students in the class.One day while the class was in the lab, the professor
          noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and
          stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was
          the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had
          been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to
          overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist regime.

          In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange
          question. He asked: “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

          The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.

          The young man said that it was no joke. “You catch wild pigs by finding a
          suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it
          and begin to come every day to eat the free corn.

          “When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of
          the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence,
          they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence.

          “They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have
          all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side.

          “The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate
          to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and catch the
          whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around
          and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to
          eating the free corn because they have no other choice. They are so used to
          it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so
          they accept their captivity.”

          The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening
          in America . The present government keeps pushing us toward
          Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of
          programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax
          exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops
          (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. While we continually lose our
          freedoms, just a little at a time. You hardly notice when it all gone. Their
          motive for all the free things is very simple. Its not that they really care
          for you, not at all, it assures their continued re-electability by the same
          simple fools they provide for. You knows what happens to wild pigs once they get caught dont you?  Either they are killed or killed and eaten.

  • ackwired

    I would be surprised if two professors of philosophy were actually advocating social policy.  It is far more probable that they were investigating the question of when personhood or humaness begins and what defines it.  I also would not jump to the conclusion that they are “leftists” based on a philosophical paper that they published.  It looks to me like they were simply exposing the philosphical problems with the argument that humaness or personhood begins at conception.  Note that they say in the paper that they anti-abortion argument would be stronger if it were simply asserted that it is morally wrong to kill a foetus.  They point out that the assertion that the foetus has attained personhood is difficult to support philosophically.

    • jim_m

       Sorry Ackwired.  A quick read of the article demonstrates that they are arguing forcibly for infanticide.  They argue that there is no difference between the new born and a fetus.  They argue that adoption is actually a worse outcome than late term abortion or infanticide.  They argue that ANY objection of an adult should trump the rights of a baby at any stage.  They even state that they are not saying how far after birth the infanticide should be allowed, that it may require days, weeks or longer.

      This is a monstrous paper the likes of which I would have expected in the 1920’s from some eugenicist.  Papers like this lead the Nazis to start forced sterilizations of those they considered undesirable for reproducing and eventually to their murder.

      Once you determine that certain people do not have any right to life then you can start adding more and more people to that class.  They already add the retarded, the deformed and prisoners on death row.  It is easy to add older people tat are retarded and deformed, prisoners serving life sentences, etc.  In no time at all you are adding people with undesirable political views.

      • Oysteria

        Exactly.  This is the “slippery slope” so many talked about back around the time of Roe v Wade.  I can’t tell you how many times people told me, “Hey, it’s not like people will be getting abortions just because they want one.”

      • jim_m

        A quick search reveals that the lead author has published a number of other articles attempting to discredit the notion that there should be any value assigned to the potential of a human being. 

        He argues that abortion is not only permissible but in some cases should be mandatory.  He argues that even if you could be certain that the potential of a happy and fulfilling life would be achieved by the aborted baby that the unfulfilled potential does not outweigh the immediate desires of the mother.

        The point he makes is that there is nothing lost by not fulfilling a persons potential.  It is a sick vision that renders all life a nullity and values only the present utilitarian value of a person’s ability to contribute to society.  As we have said already, this is an argument that was used by Nazis and others to cover for genocide.  This is a description of humans as cattle to be processed and discarded when no longer capable of serving the greater societal good.

      • jim_m

         Further searching reveals that the authors have apologized for the article claiming that they never suspected that it would be read outside of academic circles and that they are not making “legal policy”.  But the fact remains that they are putting forth an argument and proposing that thus is the correct way of viewing the situation.  This is an argument they have also made before so it is hard to say that this is something that they do not believe.

        • This is why I had such trouble with my girlfriend the PhD candidate in a rather esoteric branch of philosophy.  There are few, if any, boundaries they won’t willingly cross to examine from the other side.  And once they do, they have to justify to themselves (and others) their positions – as these folks have done.

          If you can rationally justify going one step beyond the normal bounds of culture, it’s easy to justify two, or four.  And pretty soon, you’ve lost sight of the normal ethical boundaries, so why not just explore every possible concept?

          This supposedly leads to knowledge and wisdom.  At times, I agree.  At other times, I’m thinking it’s a rationalization of ‘evil’.

          Maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand how a baby’s life is worthless.  I have qualms about abortion, but it’s legal, and I’d prefer to see it remain so.  I have a real problem with infanticide, no matter how ‘morally justified’ a couple of philosophers seem to think it.

          And maybe I’m a step or two beyond what some here would think appropriate – but them’s the breaks.  I know where I stand, and I won’t be wandering off from it to chase ‘interesting’ concepts like the morality of killing a baby before it is self-aware. There’s no question about it at all, in my mind.

        • ackwired

          Philosophy professors get all wrapped up in the theoretical logic of lthe argument.  They can believe it is good logic without believing it is good policy.

          • From good logic to policy, whether good or not, isn’t a massive step. All that’s needed is enough people agreeing the logic is sound.

          • ackwired

            There is some danger there.  That is one of the problems I have with ideology.  The ideologist tries to interpret the world to fit the ideology, and in the process reality gets twisted and facts misinterpreted.  If the ideology becomes policy there is a chance that reality will stubornly refuse to cooperate. 

            There are more ideologues than philosophers, and they are in a position to be more dangerous. 

          • Yeah, but YOU try dating a philosopher.  Pretty soon, you start to question your own existence.

          • ackwired

            LOL…I can imagine!

  • 914

    Yes, babies are a nuisance on society.. That is why the liberals eat their own and out of the womb. Apparently they are moving beyond the young to the next target.. The elderly..

    Guard your own less they show up voting Demoncrat..errr In the hereafter!!.

  • jim_m

    The error the paper makes is saying that you cannot value the potential of what a person may become.   Based on that they declare that an adult has more value than a new born and therefore any claims or desires of the adult should trump the rights of the new born.

    The problem with this is that if we declare hat a person’s value is based on what they can offer right now, we are then justified in the murder of anyone based on some sociopathic calculation of a person’s value.  We can exterminate the elderly, the mentally ill, the under educated, ethnic minorities, political dissidents (they are frequently classified as mentally ill).

    And once you start there is no way to stop.  There is no logical reason to draw a stopping line as everything is an arbitrary determination of the state.

    • iwogisdead

      And once you start there is no way to stop. 

      And the problem is that we have already started.

    • Evil Otto

       And once you start there is no way to stop.  There is no logical reason
      to draw a stopping line as everything is an arbitrary determination of
      the state.

      To the leftist, that’s not a bug… that’s a feature. Of course, the leftist always views himself in the top spot.

      • Until he suddenly finds himself against a wall for not being zealous enough in his belief.

  • 914

    “Are Only Liberals Truly ‘Human’

    Yes!  The rest of us are merely specimens to be dissected and experimented on to see if said liberals can exterminate all opposition to a socialist utopia!

    • jim_m

       Or in this case, only the people who are wiling to wield the power to exterminate others will be considered human.  Of course that pretty much means the left today.

  • Stan Brewer

    Let’s see if I read my history right. Didn’t some guy by the name of Adolf Hitler subscribe to what these two commie idiots are proposing? Seems like he did and the world went ballistic and said never again. Geez will the left ever learn that they are not God or even God like and will fail at this too.

  • fustian24

    Interestingly, many of us feel that those willing to kill a baby have no right to personhood either. We have a legal procedure called the death penalty to deal with them.

  • jim_m

    “The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being. Where any of these essential elements is lacking, the resultant individual will be deficient in some respect.”

    That isn’t from the paper here.  That is from a publication written by John Holdren, obama’s science czar.  In other words the authors of the paper above and the obama admin are of the same mind.  People who are punished by babies should be allowed to rid themselves of the offending “potential human” at any time before that potentiality is realized. Note that it includes how they are educated. If they are not educated properly they are “deficient” and should be disposed of. obama is advised by a man who publishes excuses for murder and genocide.

    I wonder if Sasha and Melia have reached the point of being fully human yet.

  • Commander_Chico

    Where’s the part about the “liberals?”  Is he talking about “liberals” in the European sense or the most common American sense?

    • jim_m

      Since their writings seem to coincide with the beliefs espoused by John Holdren and President obama I would argue that at the very least “liberal” would include the American sense, although that does not exclude the Europeans necessarily.

    • 914

      Its in the white  house!!!

  • Guest

    “Could they decide that unless you think exactly like them, why, you aren’t properly a human?”

    Isn’t that what you and the rest of the right wing nutcakes have decided about “the left”?


    • Hawk_TX

      Those on the right do not consider liberals not human. They simply consider them to be horrible humans.

    • Hawk_TX

      Those on the right do not consider liberals not human. They simply consider them to be horrible humans.

    • Evil Otto

      Isn’t that what you and the rest of the right wing nutcakes have decided about “the left”?

      No. Next question.

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