Monday, March 26, 2012

Discrimination on top of discrimination

By permitting abortion -- the killing of human beings before they are born -- we discriminate on the basis of age, size, stage of development and condition of dependency.

This discrimination enables further discrimination based on disability and gender. More than 90 percent of unborn human beings diagnosed with Down syndrome are killed for that reason. Babies with many other disabilities and "imperfections" are also aborted. Abortion for sex-selection (aborting a female baby because her parents want a boy) is widely practiced in China and India. And it also happens (to a much lesser extent) in the United States.

Such discrimination would be considered noxious and indefensible in any other context. Only because the unborn have already been discriminated against (excluding them from the human community of those who are owed respect and protection) may they be further discriminated against on the basis of characteristics widely recognized as morally trivial.

Discrimination on top of discrimination.

International Day of the Unborn Child

The following was released by MCCL GO on March 24, 2012.

The International Day of the Unborn Child is to be celebrated by all citizens on Sunday, March 25, 2012. It is a day to recall the remarkable journey of life each member of the human family has taken in our commonality as human beings and our uniqueness as individuals.

Initiated by Pope John Paul II to coincide with and to honor the Feast of the Annunciation, the March 25 event has grown into a day of celebration and remembrance for all unborn human beings. It is a time to celebrate human dignity and the amazing world of the developing child yet to be born. It is also a day to remember the millions of unborn children whose lives have been ended by the violence of abortion.

In 1993, El Salvador became the first country to officially celebrate a "Day of the Right to Be Born." Subsequently other countries have begun official celebrations for the unborn, including Argentina with "Day of the Unborn" in 1998, Chile with "Day of the Conceived and Unborn" in 1999, and also in 1999, Guatemala's "National Day of the Unborn." Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay are all nations that now celebrate a day for the unborn child.

While many nations celebrate the unalienable worth and value of every unborn child, we must raise our voice against the current U.S. administration's unrelenting war on the innocent unborn child. Since President Obama's election in 2008, the U.S. administration's policy of advocating the destruction of unborn children has come in all forms, from taxpayer funding of abortion and embryo-killing research, to funding efforts abroad to rid other countries of their pro-life constitutions. Never before in the history of the world has an unborn child faced such a great struggle just to be born.

It is important in 2012 to recall how much we have learned about the intricate world of the unborn child and humanity itself. Current developments include intrauterine surgery, ultrasound, neo-natal intensive care, fetal heart monitoring and much more. We also know now that the unborn child has sleep and wake cycles, feels emotions, can cry in the womb and also has the ability to feel pain.

MCCL GO is a pro-life global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund with one goal: to save as many innocent lives as possible from the destruction of abortion. Learn more at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

State representative says clinic licensing bill anti-Minnesotan

A WCCO (Channel 4) news story last night included a clip of Rep. Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada), speaking (with sarcasm) against the MCCL-backed bill to require that abortion facilities be licensed:
We just can't do anything right here, we're just so bad and everything is so wrong here. Because somebody did something wrong in Pennsylvania, we are no good in Minnesota.
This is just so bizarre. Of course, supporters of the bill do not hold to the position or reasoning that she mocks. No one does.

To support basic law enforcement, for example, is not to attack the character of Minnesota and say that "everything is so wrong here." Nor is that the case with all manner of laws and regulations. And the same is true of the proposed legislation to license abortion clinics and allow for inspections. It is precisely because Minnesota is a great state that we have good standards and seek to protect our citizens.

Pennsylvania isn't a bad state either. But there was a bad guy there who did horrifying things, and he got away with it for years because there were no abortion clinic inspections. In that regard, the state's elected officials failed the women of Pennsylvania, as investigators concluded.

We can be better than that — if our legislators and governor decide to enact this bill.

House committee approves webcam abortion ban for floor vote

The following news release was issued today, March 22.

ST. PAUL — Legislation to ensure women's safety was approved today by the House Civil Law committee on a voice vote in its final hearing. The bill to ban "webcam abortions" has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.

H.F. 2341 (S.F. 1912), authored by Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, would stop dangerous webcam abortions by requiring that a physician be physically present during an abortion. Webcam abortions involve the RU486 abortion drug, administered via video conference with an abortion provider in another location. The doctor talks with the woman, then presses a button which opens a drawer to remotely dispense the drug. The doctor is never physically present in a webcam abortion.

Planned Parenthood began offering webcam abortions last year at its Rochester facility; women consult with a doctor in St. Paul.

"When RU486 is administered via webcam, the woman is not able to have a physical exam to verify and ensure that she has no factors making RU486 a potentially deadly procedure for her," MCCL Legislative Associate Jordan Marie Harris testified.

Since its FDA approval, at least 14 women in the United States have died after taking RU486, and more than 2,200 "adverse events" have been reported. Many of the side effects of RU486 — including prolonged pain, cramping, heavy bleeding, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and fever — can mask more serious complications, such as infection, hemorrhage, and incomplete abortion, that can sometimes lead to death. Some of these complications may even mask a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, whose symptoms mirror the expected side effects of RU486, and can also lead to death.

At least six states, including North Dakota and South Dakota, have already enacted bans on webcam abortions, and other states, like Wisconsin, are currently working to pass legislation to the same effect. Canada does not allow use of RU486 due to safety concerns.

Attempts to remove the bill's criminal penalties were not approved. The webcam ban was sent to the House for a floor vote.

"MCCL is hopeful that representatives will support this crucial legislation to protect women's health by insisting that women consult in the physical presence of a doctor prior to being administered abortion drugs," MCCL's Harris added.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

House committee approves licensing of abortion centers

The following news release was issued today, March 21.

MCCL-backed bill would bring abortion facilities in line with similar surgical centers

ST. PAUL — Legislation to license abortion facilities in order to ensure women's safety was approved today on a vote of 8-4 by the House Government Operations and Elections Committee. The bill has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.

H.F. 2340 (S.F. 1921), authored by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed. The state commissioner of health would establish rules necessary for licensure. The bill also authorizes the commissioner to perform inspections of abortion facilities as deemed necessary, with no prior notice required.

"The purpose of all government regulation is to protect the public by enforcing minimum standards," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau. "This legislation asks the Department of Health to determine specifically what these standards would be."

Minnesota licenses outpatient surgical centers, tattoo and body piercing parlors, nursing homes and veterinary medicine facilities, but not abortion providers, even though abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in the state. Health dangers have been uncovered at unlicensed abortion centers in cities outside Minnesota in recent years.

Based on data from 2010, the legislation would affect a maximum of seven different facilities, which between them perform more than 98 percent of the more than 11,000 abortions done each year in Minnesota.

The bill to license abortion centers will next be heard by the House Health and Human Services Finance committee.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

House committee approves ban on webcam abortions

The following news release was issued today, March 20, 2012.

ST. PAUL — Legislation to ensure women's safety was approved 14-6 by the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee today. The bill to ban "webcam abortions" has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.

H.F. 2341 (S.F. 1912), authored by Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, would stop dangerous webcam abortions by requiring that a physician be physically present during an abortion. Webcam abortions involve the RU486 abortion drug, administered via video conference with an abortion provider in another location. The doctor talks with the woman, and then presses a button which opens a drawer to remotely dispense the drug.

The doctor is never physically present in a webcam abortion to examine the woman for any problems such as a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. Planned Parenthood began offering webcam abortions last year at its Rochester facility; women consult with a doctor in St. Paul.

"Not only is it shocking to know that Planned Parenthood is offering these abortions, but its actions show a real disregard for the health and safety of women given the especially dangerous complications and risks associated with RU486," said MCCL Legislative Associate Jordan Marie Harris.

The risks of RU486 can be severe: 14 women are known to have died in the U.S. after taking the drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Just yesterday, an Australian agency disclosed that a woman there died from an infection after taking RU486. A prominent gynecologist and advocate of RU486 has called for a review of the drugs' protocol.

At least six states, including North Dakota and South Dakota, have already banned webcam abortions, and other states, like Wisconsin, are currently working to pass legislation to the same effect. RU486 is not legal in Canada, due to safety concerns.

"Physician involvement, as well as the patient-doctor relationship, is critical in helping to mitigate the risk of very serious complications occurring as a result of taking RU486," MCCL's Harris added.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Video: 6 weeks after conception

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why the human zygote is an organism (and why it matters)

In the public debate over embryo-destructive biomedical research, many people dismiss the claim that the human zygote and blastocyst/young embryo (early stages of human prenatal development just following conception) are human beings on the grounds that other cells and tissues—such as a patch of skin cells, or the sperm and egg—are also living and human, yet no one supposes that they are themselves human beings. But these critics are not well-informed of the biological facts. The crucial difference is that zygotes and embryos are organisms, and skin cells, sperm and egg are not. The zygote/embryo is a whole distinct human organism—that is, a human being, a self-developing member of the species Homo sapiens—at a very early stage of life. Other cells are mere parts of larger wholes, not individual organisms themselves.

But the term "organism" requires explanation. Dr. Maureen L. Condic, a Berkeley-educated neurobiologist and professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where she teaches human embryology, explains:
An organism is defined as "(1) a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole and (2) an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent: a living being." This definition stresses the interaction of parts in the context of a coordinated whole as the distinguishing feature of an organism.

Based on this definition, it has been proposed that human beings (including embryonic human beings) can be reliably distinguished from human cells using the same kinds of criteria scientists employ to distinguish different cell types: by examining their composition and their pattern of behavior. A human being (i.e., a human organism) is composed of characteristic human parts (cells, proteins, RNA, DNA), yet it is different from a mere collection of cells because it has the characteristic behavior of an organism: it acts in an interdependent and coordinated manner to "carry on the activities of life." In contrast, collections of human cells are alive and carry on the activities of cellular life, yet fail to exhibit coordinated interactions directed towards any higher level of organization. Collections of cells do not establish the complex, interrelated cellular structures (tissues, organs, and organ systems) that exist in a whole, living human being. Similarly, a human corpse is not a living human organism, despite the presence of living human cells within the corpse, precisely because this collection of human cells no longer functions as an integrated unit.
Maureen Condic
So is the zyogte an organism? Condic continues:
From the moment of sperm-egg fusion, a human zygote acts as a complete whole, with all the parts of the zygote interacting in an orchestrated fashion to generate the structures and relationships required for the zygote to continue developing towards its mature state. Everything the sperm and egg do prior to their fusion is uniquely ordered towards promoting the binding of these two cells. Everything the zygote does from the point of sperm-egg fusion onward is uniquely ordered to prevent further binding of sperm and to promote the preservation and development of the zygote itself. The zygote acts immediately and decisively to initiate a program of development that will, if uninterrupted by accident, disease, or external intervention, proceed seamlessly through formation of the definitive body, birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, and aging, ending with death. This coordinated behavior is the very hallmark of an organism.

Mere human cells, in contrast, are composed of human DNA and other human molecules, but they show no global organization beyond that intrinsic to cells in isolation. A human skin cell removed from a mature body and maintained in the laboratory will continue to live and will divide many times to produce a large mass of cells, but it will not re-establish the whole organism from which it was removed; it will not regenerate an entire human body in culture. Although embryogenesis begins with a single-cell zygote, the complex, integrated process of embryogenesis is the activity of an organism, not the activity of a cell.

Based on a scientific description of fertilization, fusion of sperm and egg in the "moment of conception" generates a new human cell, the zygote, with composition and behavior distinct from that of either gamete. Moreover, this cell is not merely a unique human cell, but a cell with all the properties of a fully complete (albeit immature) human organism; it is "an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent: a living being."
Condic concludes:
[T]he embryo comes into existence at sperm-egg fusion ... a human organism is fully present from the beginning, controlling and directing all of the developmental events that occur throughout life. This view of the embryo is objective, based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other, and it is consistent with the factual evidence. It is entirely independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos. Indeed, this definition does not directly address the central ethical questions surrounding the embryo: What value ought society to place on human life at the earliest stages of development? Does the human embryo possess the same right to life as do human beings at later developmental stages? A neutral examination of the factual evidence merely establishes the onset of a new human life at a scientifically well defined "moment of conception," a conclusion that unequivocally indicates that human embryos from the zygote stage forward are indeed living individuals of the human species—human beings.
Science, then, tells us what the embryo is: an individual human organism, a human being, at the embryonic stage of life. It cannot tell us how the embryo ought to be treated, which is a moral (rather than scientific) question. But if it is true (as pro-life advocates argue) that human beings as such have intrinsic moral value—that there is a fundamental equality among all members of our species, irrespective of size, age, ability and condition of dependency—then we may not destroy embryonic human beings for their stem cells any more than we may kill and harvest the useful parts of a 10-year-old child for the benefit of others.

Human fetuses: Researchers' new prized tissue source

The following news release was issued today, March 16, 2012.

The use of fetal remains from abortion for research continues in U.S. laboratories, according to recent reports. The dehumanization of nascent human life, applied to human embryos in order to justify the exploitation of embryonic stem cells, also is being applied to the harvesting of brain tissue from more developed unborn babies with functioning brains.

The latest experiment, a clinical trial approved by the Food and Drug Administration, uses brain tissue from aborted unborn babies to treat macular degeneration. StemCells Inc. will inject fetal brain stem cells into the eyes of up to 16 patients to study the cells’ effect on vision.

In its press release announcing the clinical trial, StemCells Inc. was careful to refer to the fetal brain material as "purified human neural stem cell product" or HuCNS-SC cells, rather than "fresh human fetal brain tissue," a description which can be found elsewhere on its website.

"StemCells Inc. is not using embryonic stem cells. A five-day-old human being at the embryonic stage does not have a brain, but a fetus at 10 or 20 weeks of development with visible fingers, toes and ears has a functioning brain," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Developing human beings in the womb are treated simply as raw material for laboratory experimentation by StemCells Inc. and other companies seeking to monetize aborted unborn children."

The misleadingly-named Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle is known within the research community as a top government distributor of fetal tissue. The lab has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over four decades, according to a report in WORLD Magazine. The Puget Sound Business Journal stated that the lab "in 2009 filled more than 4,400 requests for fetal tissue and cell lines." WORLD reports that the Seattle facility has retrieved the products of 22,000 pregnancies to date; the lab collects aborted fetuses from abortion centers across the country.

Experimental fetal stem cell treatments have yielded horrific results. Dr. David Prentice, an internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning, cites trials in which fetal stem cells have been used unsuccessfully to treat Parkinson's disease. The New York Times called the outcome of a 2001 study "devastating" after "the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably." Another large clinical trial published in 2003 showed similar results.

"The use of morally illicit material in the biomedical industry violates the 'do no harm' principle that has governed the practice of medicine for millennia," Fischbach said. "Adult stem cells offer the ethical and efficacious alternative. Unborn babies deserve dignity, not dissection and destruction."

It is not known whether the University of Minnesota is experimenting with material from aborted fetuses, but it does use stem cells extracted from human embryos, which are killed in the process. Minnesota's Human Conceptus Statute 145.422 prohibits the use of a living human conceptus for any type of research or experimentation.

"MCCL calls upon the U of M to pledge not to purchase or use fetal material in its research," Fischbach added. "Such gruesome work violates human dignity and has no place in our state-funded institutions."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

HHS issues new rule on Obamacare scheme to fund abortion insurance

Douglas Johnson and Susan T. Muskett of National Right to Life report:
The Obama Administration has taken another step in what amounts to a four-year plan to make abortion-covering health insurance, subsidized by the federal government, commonly available in the United States.

The latest action came on March 12, when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a lengthy regulation that spells out how some of the components of the massive 2010 Obama health care law ("ObamaCare") will be implemented.

The new rule — consuming 644 pages, including HHS's commentary — is concerned mainly with the "exchanges," which are the government-operated health insurance markets that must be established in every state by January 1, 2014. While states may retain responsibility for administering the exchanges, they must do so according to the detailed blueprints provided in the federal law and in federal regulations, including the new rule.

One part of the ObamaCare law establishes a big new program to provide federal subsidies for tens of millions of American families whose household income is 400 percent or less of the federal poverty level ($92,000 for a family of four). (Only health plans that join the exchanges will be eligible to sign up federally subsidized clients, which provides a strong incentive for health plans to enlist in the exchanges.) These federal subsidies can be used to purchase health plans that cover all abortions. This is one of the abortion-expanding aspects of ObamaCare that caused NRLC to strongly oppose the legislation when it was under consideration in Congress in 2009 and 2010. ...

The new rule spells out some, but by no means all, of the details on how abortion coverage will be paid for in the developing exchange system. ...

Once a person is enrolled in an abortion-covering plan, he or she will be required to pay a defined monthly charge for the abortion coverage, dubbed the "abortion surcharge" by critics. This abortion surcharge is not optional — every enrollee in the plan must pay it, including families that have moral objections to abortion and/or that contain no females of reproductive age.

Some media stories have reported that the "abortion surcharge" will be $1 per month, but in fact, the law and rule say something quite different — they say that the surcharge must not be "less than one dollar per enrollee, per month." The surcharge could be a good deal more than $1, depending on how many abortions are paid for and how much they cost.

Neither the law nor the rule contain any limitations on reasons for which abortions are sought or how late in pregnancy they occur.

HHS has so far avoided spelling out in any detail how the abortion surcharge payments will be made. From the pro-life perspective, the exact method of collecting the payments is not very important. The most important fact is that the federal government will be helping tens of millions of Americans purchase exchange-participating health plans, many of which will cover abortion on demand. When the government pays for health insurance, it pays for what the insurance pays for. The abortion surcharge is merely a bookkeeping device that is intended to obscure the reality that the federal government will be purchasing abortion-on-demand insurance — which is a sharp departure from decades of previous federal policy under the Hyde Amendment, the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, and other federal programs.
Please read the rest.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Abortion facility licensing bill passed by Senate panel

The following was released today, March 13, 2012.

ST. PAUL — Legislation to require licensure of abortion centers was approved by the Minnesota Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee today on an 8-5 vote. It was the second hearing for the measure seeking women’s safety, and has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

S.F. 1921 (H.F. 2340), authored by Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed. The state commissioner of health would establish rules necessary for licensure. The bill also authorizes the commissioner to perform inspections of abortion facilities as deemed necessary, with no prior notice required.

"The state already licenses other similar facilities, including hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and many more—even facilities that specialize in body art like tattoos and piercings," MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau testified.

Rau also discussed the filthy conditions found at an abortion clinic in Pennsylvania, which did not license or inspect abortion centers. Several women died, others contracted venereal diseases from unsanitary equipment, and babies born alive were killed. Once discovered, the clinic was called a "house of horrors" by grand jury investigators. S.F. 1921 would protect women from such dangers.

The requirement would apply to the state's seven abortion clinics, which together perform more than 98 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2010, a total of 11,505 abortions were performed in the state.

Planned Parenthood is the state's largest abortion provider. In 2010, it performed more than 4,000 abortions, or more than 75 per week. Last week an ambulance was called to transport someone from Planned Parenthood's new St. Paul abortion clinic, bringing to light the need for inspection and licensing of such facilities.

Sen. Robling listed the many serious complications that can result from various surgical and non-surgical abortion methods. She also noted that other states have established abortion clinic licensure laws, which have been upheld by the courts in legal challenges.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that maternal health is a legitimate interest to support regulations regarding abortion," Sen. Robling said.

In her testimony on behalf of the bill, Prof. Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law noted that in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can regulate abortion clinic practices throughout the duration of the pregnancy.

"Surely in the abortion debate in this state, we can agree on one thing: that women who choose abortion have a right to know that the clinics they are being treated by observe the highest standard of professional responsibility and sanitary equipment," Collett said.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Following the logic: 'After-birth abortion'

A new article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics has already received a good deal of attention, and the title explains why: "After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?"

Two Australia-based ethicists, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, argue that infanticide is morally permissible in the same circumstances as abortion (that is, for elective reasons, including the convenience of the parents) because a newborn baby, like a fetus, is not yet a "person" with a right to life. The authors prefer to call infanticide "after-birth abortion" to "emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which 'abortions' in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child," though they concede "the oxymoron in the expression." (Matthew Cantirino at First Things calls after-birth abortion "the euphemism of the decade.")

Giubilini and Minerva correctly acknowledge that "both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings," but claim that "neither is a 'person' in the sense of 'subject of a moral right to life.'" "Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life," they explain. "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."

Time to consider abortion?
So what are those properties that serve as criteria for having a 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." So "many non-human animals ... are persons, but ... all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons."

And that's why it is okay to kill newborn babies. The authors "do not put forward any claim about the moment at which after-birth abortion would no longer be permissible ... as it depends on the neurological development of newborns, which is something neurologists and psychologists would be able to assess."

The article hardly argues (presents and defends reasons) for grounding moral worth in the ability to value one's own existence -- a view that is not at all new or original. Rather, the authors simply draw out its disturbing implications regarding the status of newborns. Well-known philosophers such as Michael Tooley and Peter Singer have come to similar conclusions.

And in drawing out these implications, Giubilini and Minerva -- like Tooley and Singer before them -- are surely correct. After all, birth is not a morally significant milestone. And the same "personhood" criteria that pro-choice thinkers use to exclude unborn human beings (thereby justifying their killing by abortion) also exclude newborns (justifying infanticide).

The mistake is not in the reasoning, but in the starting premise: that each of us has a right to life, and merits full moral respect, by virtue of acquired (accidental) properties, such as developed mental capacities (e.g., the present ability to value one's own life). This view, as Giubilini and Minerva explain, entails that not all human beings have a right to life. But it also entails that human beings can gain or lose rights as they gain or lose the requisite properties (via growth, old age, injury, disease, temporary coma, etc.). And it entails that those who do have a right to life have that moral status in varying degrees, since the properties said to confer it come in varying degrees. (Even the valuing of one's life is a degreed property.) So there is no human equality; nor is there equality even among those who are deemed rights-bearing "persons." Some people are just superior to others.

The only way to avoid these implausible and morally unacceptable conclusions -- including the conclusion that infanticide is permissible -- is to reject the above premise (held by virtually all pro-choice philosophers and bioethicists) that basic rights apply to only some human beings on the grounds that they possess characteristics we (that is, "experts" such as Giubilini and Minerva) decide are relevant. Rather, basic rights apply equally to all members of the human family by virtue of the fact that they are human beings, the unique kind of being who by nature possesses the inherent capacities (whether developed and actualized or not) for rationality, choice, the valuing of one's own life, etc. In other words, there really is such a thing as human rights -- had by humans by virtue of being human -- as affirmed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and every just and decent society.

But if this is true, then not only infanticide but also abortion is wrong, for both are the intentional killing of innocent human beings who as such deserve to be respected and protected.

The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Julian Savulescu, writes: "The authors [of "After-Birth Abortion"] 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."

Thus the authors, committed to abortion, conclude that infanticide is permissible. But the obvious moral fact that infanticide is not permissible should lead us to reason in the other direction. Since there are no morally relevant differences between unborn and newborn human beings, and since newborns have a right to life, it then follows that unborn humans also have a right to life.

So if infanticide is wrong -- and it is -- so is abortion. That is the unintended pro-life apologetic of Giubilini and Minerva's "After-Birth Abortion."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Video: Heart beating at 4 weeks after conception