Ethics group says babies are not “actual persons”, and killing them is fine.

In a straight line from Epicurus to Machiavelli to Descartes to Hobbes to Rousseau to Mill to Darwin to Sanger to your front door….

Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent1:38PM GMT 29 Feb 2012

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

The journal’s editor, Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said the article’s authors had received death threats since publishing the article. He said those who made abusive and threatening posts about the study were “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.  [Those are the values of a “liberal society”.  Okay.  Now we know.  Is Pres. Obama a member of that Ethics group?  He advocated infanticide as a state senator.]

The article, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?”, was written by two of Prof Savulescu’s former associates, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. [Interesting.  A Romanian and two Italians.  Notice how they redefined the term “infanticide” as “post-birth abortion”.]

They argued: “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.”  [And they get to decide that.  They decide who is worthy of life.]

Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”. They explained: “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’.

And this will obviously apply to the injured or elderly… or people with inconvenient ideas.

If you don’t think this is where Obamacare and the HHS mandate and the left and the political arm in the party of death are taking us… then you are a fool.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras, New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Clinton R. says:

    Minions of Satan!

    Sancte Michael Archangele,
    defende nos in proelio;
    contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
    Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
    tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
    satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
    qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
    divina virtute in infernum detrude.

  2. jarhead462 says:

    Are they serious? Or are they trying to make a point…

    Semper Fi!

  3. mschu528 says:

    I really cannot tell whether this article was meant to be a joke or not (perhaps an example of reductio ad ridiculum). The sad thing is, in our culture I am leaning towards thinking it is entirely sincere…

    “Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before the birth? For even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born. Why then do you abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?” – St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on Romans

  4. APX says:

    How the — did they come up with such a conclusion! I’ve taken ethics and I don’t see where this potential person nonsense is coming from.

  5. MikeToo says:

    I think their position is consistent with abortion advocacy. At least they are not hypocrites.

  6. The Cobbler says:

    I’m with MikeToo.

    And yet when pro-lifers point out that this is the logical conclusion of pro-choice arguments, we’re usually called “extremist” and “crazy”. Nope, just took people a couple generations to catch up with their own logic. Always does. Kinda like how homosexuality is only now being pushed even though it obviously follows from contraception and recreational sex.

    There is no slippery slope, but when you jump off a cliff sometimes you take a few minutes to crash into whatever’s below.

  7. Sissy says:

    They are serious. The infamous Peter Singer, Professor of Ethics at Princeton University is also a fellow of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (the entity for which these folks in the article work). Now that scientists agree life begins at conception, the devotees of Moloch need a new standard. So, they’ve come up with “personhood”. Singer has long suggested that children should not be considered “persons” until age 2, and that parents should be free to kill a child under 2 for any reason.

  8. Ana says:

    Sadly, this isn’t a joke; it is a thought process that has been around since ancient times.

  9. pinecone says:

    Honestly, if someone is a living human, and not a person, what are they? Some other kind of animal? With 100% human DNA? It makes no sense! Like in Horton Hears a Who, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

  10. jarhead462 says:

    ….“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’.
    But I thought that a fetus was NOT a human being. That’s what the pro-abortion lobby has always hid behind. If they are not trying to make a point, then their fellow pro-abortionists will not be happy with that statement.
    Logic causes liberalisim (a mental disorder) to unravel at every turn.

    Semper Fi!

  11. dep says:

    Apropos of one of Fr. Z.’s comments, this from further in the story: “Giubilini, a former visiting student at Cambridge University, gave a talk in January at the Oxford Martin School – where Prof Savulescu is also a director – titled ‘What is the problem with euthanasia?'”

  12. Marine Mom says:

    Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, known as the “Father of Church History” (c.260-340), relates in his History that Leonidas, father of Origen, used to kneel by the bedside of the sleeping boy and devoutly and reverently kiss his son’s breast as the tabernacle wherein God dwelt. The child in his innocence and grace is indeed the fittest home on earth for God.

    The Little Book of the Holy Spirit, Bede Jarrett,OP

  13. @pinecone Those who advocate abortion or murder of those inhuman toddlers and babies and elderly and sick and mentally handicapped and and and so on are advocating a philosophy of personhood based on what you can physically contribute ‘of value’ to society, based on the relative and swiftly fluctuating values of the God of the State, or the God of the Head of State. This was the philosophy of hitler. This is in contrast with the spirituality of believing in objective spiritual and physical value in the very image of humanity, no matter what ‘practical’ worth they show, or what age or state of development they are at. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church, based on the fact that human beings are made in the image of Almighty God, and based on the fact that human nature is utterly sacred since Jesus Christ our true God renewed the image of God in man, in Himself.

    May God have mercy on Western Civilization. The Dark Ages have arrived, and persecutions will follow.

  14. Sissy says:

    Singer’s position is that the child is clearly an innocent human being, but killing him or her isn’t immoral. According to him, it is only immoral to kill someone who is able to place a value upon his own life. Ironically, Singer has also pioneered the area of “animal rights”. So, he believes it is immoral to kill animals, but not children.

  15. Prof. Basto says:

    RORATE has the link to the actual abstract of the article:

    It took sometime for me to believe that this was an actual article published in an actual medical ethics journal.

  16. Clinton says:

    They’re just running this up the flagpole to see who salutes. Someday they might just reach
    that critical mass of fellow-travelers. It might also be useful to them to spot those pockets
    of resistance that need softening up.

    If an innocent newborn isn’t fully human to these people, then no one is.

  17. Prof. Basto says:

    This is the abstract’s conclusion:

    “the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.

  18. priests wife says:

    “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.”

    What justifies a right to life? I suppose PRODUCING or DOING something of worth- so my children (12, 11, 4 and 2) don’t produce much yet…do they have a right to life? I’m 40- if I remain healthy, I have about 30 years more of PRODUCTION- then what? We all know what they would wish for a 70-year old me.

    As sad as these ‘ethicists’ make me feel- it just makes me more grateful to be part of the Church that has a consistent dogma on life

  19. Mariana says:

    The first poster, Clinton R, says it all!

  20. Ralph says:

    May God have mercy on us all.

    Prepare yourself, and especially your children, for persecution. It’s going to get lots worse I’m afraid. A society that can justify infanticide won’t be tollerant of christianity for very long.

  21. wmeyer says:

    The editor of the journal defends publishing the article, and characterizes criticism of it as “hate speech, which could incite violence.” I’d characterize the article itself as hate speech. It demonstrates contempt for the beliefs of Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and is at least as likely to incite violence as did the abortion clinics being open, for many years.

    Ah, but it must be my error: only conservatives and traditionalists are capable of hate speech… I forgot myself.

  22. Augustin57 says:

    Also, from the same folks that brought us the notion of “legalized” euthanasia (it’s legal there, without the patient’s permission now!), they have now legalized the killing of newborns. I’m speaking about the Dutch.

    Here’s an article on it:

  23. dep says:

    Re. Clinton: If we have learned nothing else in the last few decades we have learned that today’s absurdity is tomorrow’s reality.

  24. EucharistLove says:

    What is going on? I’m running to Our Lady and hiding under her mantle.

  25. I wish this was a joke, but it isn’t. In fact it’s been allowed in the Netherlands for quite some time under the Groningen Protocol, which allows a doctor and parents to terminate the life of a child up to 12 years of age because of their disability and quality of life issues. (And yes, this is practiced in the Netherlands).

    It is truly as horrific as it sounds- I wrote my thesis on the Groningen protocol for my Law and Disability class in my final year of law school.

    Wiki isn’t always the best source, but it does a decent job of outlining the protocol.

    Pray, pray, pray- for the unborn, the disabled, the elderly and especially for people who actually espouse these views.

  26. DavidJ says:

    This is only, as has been mentioned, a logical and consistent position if you start from the stance that it is permissible to abort a child in the womb.

  27. Genna says:

    If, as the pro-“choice” lobby argues, it’s permissible to murder a fetus because it’s non-viable, then this is the logical next step for babies who are born, but not yet independently viable. And the next step? Because there will be a next step.
    We hold never-again Holocaust memorial days, but how easily recent history is forgotten in the arrogance of assuming the gift of life, which is God’s alone.

  28. Martha in SD says:

    I want to puke on these people’s laps and tell them, “Don’t panic! You didn’t put it there, I did by the will of God, so He can’t possibly do anything that is worth making note of, so just ignore it and move on”. This may not be a very good analogy, but it was the best I could come up with in my utter rage, disgust, and complete sorrow for these people who think like this. As Blessed John Paul II would say, “Be not afraid”, and his father constantly told him as a boy, “God’s will be done”.
    Father Z, thanks for always keeping us in the know, and helping us not look like fools.

  29. Nicole says:

    Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva might mind the notion of someone ceasing their life-functions while they sleep, even though they would not be able to be a person as they defined it, while sleeping…

  30. jonvilas says:

    There was one more important sentence in the same article, which might explain quite well, where such strange reasoning is coming from. Savulescu writes (quote):
    “The goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises.”
    Thus, it is simple or “ordinary” relativism. They are not after truth. I believe they are afraid of Truth, and therefore play “scholarly” and “scientific” games on the basis of “liberal values”. In short, the brave new world at its best …

  31. Slappo says:

    Whatever happened to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” being satire? These people might actually consider his writings a good idea.

    “Well if we’re killing the babies, we might as well eat them too.”

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

  32. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I agree with MikeToo. This is the natural conclusion of the flawed premises of the argument for abortion. These are not the first persons to arrive at this conclusion. In a way, I hope this line of thinking gets discussed in the mainstream and people are forced to re-evaluate their views on abortion in light of the absurdity of these claims.

  33. Brad says:

    Ah, he shows himself!

    The true adversary, not the proxy adversaries, the “pro-choice” mortals who are enthralled to him.

    moloch/molech, the demon from the ancient world who receives more blood now than he ever dreamed of luxuriating in from the hands of ancient surrounding nations or from Israelites gone bad. Solomon himself went to his altars where worshipers’ own children were raped then murdered. The furnace is symbolic of the holocaust and is also actual. The etymology of “molest” reveals this sickening history of man’s worship of yet another lieutenant of satan, a history that today is at full (please God let it not grow further still), fruit — rotten fruit, demonic fruit — of 53 million children sacrificed either unknowingly or knowingly in blood ritual.

    But everyone drives respectable SUVs now and appears to live by the barely politically-correct natural law, you know, spiritual without religion or religion’s old God and demons, and no one actually worships moloch. It is a Wednesday afternoon and my town’s abortion clinic is offering blood ritual to a demon. When the doors close for the evening, those who worshiped a demon will run errands on the way home. Quickly, because something good is on tonight.

  34. Johnno says:

    It’s good that this was published! Much better that evil conducts itself openly so we can spot it rather than trying to hide itself yet still be active!

    Anyone who is surprised by this shouldn’t be. This isn’t the first time it was published. This isn’t even the first time in history this has been advocated.

    What next you wonder? Well inevitably, there will be no age restrictions whatsoever, and health definitions will make way for productivity definitions.

    Then they’ll set up a ‘standard of life.’ Such standards can also come with government issued quotas based on your productivity! You must earn this much and pay taxes of this much. And you must grow this much seed and this much wheat, and give this much to the government for wealth redistribution. And if you don’t meet that standard or your government set quotas, then guess what comrade? !

    And women! You love those there sexual liberties yes? Good… good! We will always provide for you what you desire for the pursuit of happiness! Now for such generosity we know you will also do good for your country! Well, we need more citizens to exist to meet population quotas by such and such year according to our statistics looking ahead. We are behind a bit. And it is your civic duty to now provide for your country after your country has provided for you! Oh, you do not possess a partner? Not to worry, this here male government employee will help you meet your quota. It is in your best interest to cooperate with him in this procedure for the next few days/weeks/ however long it takes to fulfill your civic duty. May the blessings of the State be upon you!

  35. wmeyer says:

    Actually, I agree to this degree: abortion is every bit as evil as killing a baby after birth. So in that sense, the two are no different.

  36. digdigby says:

    It is here. Already. Over 40% of doctors and institutions involved in getting cadaver organs for children admitted that they consider mild retardation, minor deformities, even ‘attractiveness’ or family situation when deciding who will get these desperately needed organs. To put it in plain English, if your CHILD is funny looking and not very bright he/she may be what the Nazis called ‘Lebensunwertens Lebens’ or ‘Life not worth Living’. A California couple had to sue because their little child dying of kidney disease was mildly retarded and kept getting shunted aside into the ‘death’ line. Our little ‘Mengeles’ are here already and they don’t even know it themselves.
    And now that a deformity (harelip) that can be easily corrected with surgery is detectable much earlier in the womb, married couples who WANT children are killing their imperfect darlings. The irony is that every medical advance in prenatal diagnosis is another death sentence!
    St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyr of charity, pray for us.

  37. stjmen says:

    I am so glad that I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, because if I had I think I would have just lost it. This article made my stomach churn in fear and sadness for what we are coming to. Over here in Australia we have laws that mean that a person can be charged with murder/man-slaughter for causing the death of an unborn baby. If you are responsible for a traffic incident involving a pregnant woman and her baby dies you can go to jail. If you wear a white coat and work in a hospital and you deliberatly kill the same baby, you are providing a legal “medical service”. It just makes no sense.

  38. SKAY says:

    Obama’s “science czar” -John Holdren- co-authored a book in the 70’s espousing some of the same ideas.
    ” I’m 40- if I remain healthy, I have about 30 years more of PRODUCTION- then what? We all know what they would wish for a 70-year old me.”
    In 2013 when Obamacare kicks in(if Obama is re- elected) those who are of a certain age will have their health care evaluated in Washington -government insurance may not pay for what your physician thinks is needed but only for what will be approved. Regulation by regulation they are driving everyone into single payer(government) insurance. Then they will have total control.
    Of course Democrat Senators and Congresspersons( those who passed the bill that was signed by Obama) voted not to include themselves in Obamacare. I guess some of them actually were able to read parts of it before they passed it. They knew they did not want to be a part of it
    Catholic student-at-law –your post certainly points out what unthinkable things can and are happening. I don’t think many Americans are aware of this-I certainly was not.

    Thank you for the post Father Z. It is unbelieveable-and yet there it is.

  39. smmclaug says:

    Notice too, O liberals, that they premise part of their argument on the idea that disabled and unwanted babies are a burden to the state. This has always been my number one objection to socializing medicine through the state, or even to socializing charity through food stamps–before long, you run out of money, and then some bureaucrat sits up and says, “Hey wait a second, if we’re footing the bill, shouldn’t we have some say in who actually gets what level of medical care?” Which is, of course, exactly what has happened.

    Eventually that has implications for who gets to live and who doesn’t because of scarce resources. That in turn becomes an argument about who has a positive duty to die, like say, your disabled child. Oh, you say, but I’ll take care of him! Yes, says the state, but what if something happens to you? And wouldn’t you be more productive to society if you weren’t foolishly dumping resources into this non-person? And what if the state judges you do not have the skills or the money needed to properly care for him? What if the the state decides the risk is simply too high?

    And all because somebody stupidly decided it was a good idea to mediate alms and works of mercy through the self-concerned apparatus of state bureaucracy. Things are moving very fast, now, people.

  40. wmeyer says:

    …yet these “burdens to the state” must be enrolled in Social Security before they are old enough to enter school, to ensure they are known to the IRS. The liberals are nothing if not inconsistent. Well, apart from wanting to control everything. In that, they are consistent.

  41. Incaelo says:

    SKAY, funny that you should mention the age of 70. There are groups here (in the Netherlands) advocating that people should be allowed to legally be killed (possibly by door-to-door death teams) once they are 70 or older, if they (or perhaps others. Who knows?) think their life is no longer worth living.

    Isn’t this paper exactly what we have been saying for years now? We have been on a slippery slope. Well, I think I can see where the slope ends, and it’s an abyss…

    This is “just a proposal” now, but how long will it take before media and politicians start discussing it seriously? How long before people are trained to professionally kill children? Or other people deemed unworthy of life? How long?

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    Not new. The killing of children is a practice the Christian church has fought in many places already. It was accepted practice in Rome and ancient Greece, until the faith triumphed over paganism and people were taught about how evil it was. And so it faded away, until the 16 century, and then lo and behold, we found another example of it in the Yucatan peninsula. That’s also gone now as the area is largely Catholic.

    As Christianity becomes less widespread in this horrible age, expect to see more of this and worse.

  43. catholicmidwest says:

    People, if they are not taught Christianity, will do depraved and crazy things. Don’t doubt that ever. For centuries, their wild behavior has been subdued by the residual of Christianity. That is going away now. Even many so-called Catholics are really more postmodern than they are Christian. This is only the beginning. It’s going to get worse. You watch.

  44. Charles E Flynn says:

    The so-called ethicists should have their academic credentials revoked, and be provided with stainless steel spatulas for their new jobs.

  45. Joseph-Mary says:

    So is anyone a person? Just what makes a person? Is a two year old a person? Age of reason makes a person? Teens can be in another world so are they persons? Do you have to be 21? If you are over 75 do you quit being a person? Who gets to decide?

  46. Long-Skirts says:

    In November of 2006 the Episcopalean Church
    “Outrage as Church backs calls for severely disabled babies to be killed at birth…The Church of England has broken with tradition”

    at least

    The church of England
    With tradition broke?
    Well, what did you expect
    From their bishops ya bloke?

    That IS their tradition
    To break the vows
    Their founder King Henry
    Herded women like cows.

    And when Rome eternal
    Stepped in and said, “No!”
    King Henry threw hissies
    Lined girls in a row.

    “Disproportionate treatment…”
    To save a life?
    That’s like asking the Royals
    To stay married for life!

    King Henry the Eighth
    Merely made some bad “choices”
    And “lethal” acts (murder)
    Now spews from church voices.

    “Severely disabled
    babies” at birth
    Must be killed so that others
    Can accumulate worth

    And buy hats like the Royals,
    Mimic couples from Wales
    Even though they have faces…
    From Poe’s horror tales!

  47. catholicmidwest says:

    Charles, not only won’t these “ethicists” be reprimanded in a meaningful way, but they won’t have to pick up stainless steel spatulas or any other lowly tool. The genteel oh-so-enlightened men and women of the 21st century, who can’t tolerate a “rude” word to be said in their exalted presence, will descend to do it for them. They will say it’s sad, but they will do it with flourish and determination. This is their self-definition of what it is to be human, and so they will say it is their right and their moral duty, since they are ignorant of true moral duty. This is the world of the new Dark Age.

    It’s been coming for a while now, and getting ever nearer. I had hoped to be very old or dead by the time it arrived. Perhaps not. I’m so sorry to have to see it.

    We must keep the truth alive.

  48. Charles E Flynn says:


    I do believe that many of the disputes in the modern world can ultimately be traced back to the question “What is a human being?” The whole dispute makes the announcement “I am the Immaculate Conception” take on a significance that may not have been fully appreciated before. If a person can identify herself with a conception, then the conception is that person.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    We must find the weak spot of this New Age and start over, reconverting the world to the same eternal truth of Christ in a new way. The old way no longer works because the commonsense framework has changed yet again.

  50. Tina in Ashburn says:

    The true story of Cortes and his devoted followers delivering the remaining Aztecs from the bloodbath of thousands of sacrifices daily is a prophetic read.

    As extermination of human beings gets more and more blatant, perhaps now those who may still have a grip on sanity or logic might just start to see the reality. Anybody that is in your way can be dispatched. Will the next step be taking down stop signs at intersections so that anyone impeding your trip can be mowed down? Rules [usefulness, productivity, age, appearance…] are red herrings to distract us from the all-out extermination of the human race. And the perpetrator, called the ‘government’, is also a red herring – most are witless followers and tools of the true movers behind this continuing horror.

    Moloch hates humanity and cannot stop until we are gone.

    “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

  51. aviva meriam says:

    Sancte Michael Archangele,
    defende nos in proelio;
    contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
    Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
    tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
    satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
    qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
    divina virtute in infernum detrude.

    After the horrors of WW2, we are back to the evils of Nazism….
    those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.

  52. Maltese says:

    “Descartes”?? With all respect, father, could you elaborate? To me, Descartes was among the last bastion of Philosophers to defend the Church, and her teachings.

    Peter Singer, and his ilk, will find themselves in a darker place than the place where the Hungary Souls temporarily reside. (The link, supra, is a must read, by a modern Dutch psychotherapist, who has delved deeply into the dogma of Purgatory).

  53. Maltese says:

    “Hungry” that is, I’m not limiting myself to the people of Hungary! (Actually, my best friend happens to be from Hungary, which might account for my blunder!)

  54. catholicmidwest says:

    “Pay now or Pay later.” Very simple. We clean up our messes now and pay some reparations, or we defer once again, and promise to pay even more later. The longer we wait to re-evangelize the Church, and then re-evangelize the culture, the more expensive it will be, in terms of sheer work and bodies.

    It’s still “Pay now or Pay later.” The stakes are going up. What will we choose today? How about tomorrow?

  55. Random Friar says:

    Give the devil his due; they’re more logical and clear-headed than those who cannot see the logical flow from abortion to infanticide. We’ve removed ourselves from our Maker as Lawgiver, and have put ourselves on the Judgment Seat, giving courts and governments far too much credit.

  56. Rachel K says:

    I am ashamed as a British citizen that this has come from our country and from such a venerable institution. I am sorry to say that this is not the first time this idea has been touted over here, although I am not sure it has been promoted in a journal for medical ethics before now. Many years ago there was a paediatrician in London who advocated the killing of “substandard” neonates- I think he may even have practised his own suggestion of killing by neglect- ie not feeding, hydrating or medicating if needed.
    Fr Z you are absolutely correct in pointing out that we should make sure to call this INFANTICIDE which is the legal term for the murder of an infant. We must not let language be hijacked in this way. Down with these euphemisms!
    I’d like to draw attention to the “Maryville” case in which Professor Jerome Lejeune (the eminent French geneticist who discovered Trisomy 21, responsible for Down Syndrome, and friend of Blessed John Paul the Great) gave a deposition to the court which established the legal definition of personhood from the moment of conception. This ruling and definition still stands in USA law I believe. The case was about a divorcing couple who disputed the right to life of their unborn embryos, created through IVF. I wonder if this case and ruling could be used to further the protection of the unborn in the USA?
    Also, the cause for Sainthood of Professor Lejeune is underway and I am convinced that this man is a great saint. I invoke him for help for my beautiful son, Samuel, who has Down Syndrome. Perhaps we could pray to him for the unborn as he was such a great advocate for these little ones in his earthly life?

  57. Joe in Canada says:

    One of their premises is straightforward: there is no significant moral distinction between a fetus a month before it is born and an infant a month after.
    Viability has nothing to do with it. The authors clearly state that just as abortion needs NO justification at all, neither would infanticide.
    Philip K. Dick wrote a short story in 1974, just after Roe v. Wade, what he thought at the time was satire. The Pre-Persons, where the US government defines personhood as the ability to do algebra, legally defined at 12. Up to age 12 parents can arrange what he called a “post-partum abortion”. Dick was a pro-life Anglican. The story is available on-line at – wait for the drop-down menu to appear, then look for The Pre-Persons.
    While this article shows the emptiness of “medical ethics” as an academic field, and is shocking in itself, it also provides a great opportunity for the pro-life movement to bring this into the open. The moral equivalence of the human being before birth and after birth is the inevitable direction of reasoned thinking, as contrary opinions are shown to be baseless. And most people will still have enough of a conscience to realize in their guts that infanticide is wrong.

  58. Charles E Flynn says:

    The only “ethicist” I have met in person abandoned his family to get a Ph.D. in ethics.

  59. catholicmidwest says:

    That’s because “ethics” is a technical discipline. Although some of the subject matter and vocabulary overlaps, it’s not the same as morals, nor is it the same as Christian teaching, which can be different yet again. Problem is that the general culture doesn’t comprehend any of this, and everyone thinks they’re every bit as good as Aristotle. [Whether or not they’ve ever heard of him!] I’ve got a grad degree in philosophy, and to watch the general culture gives me a massive headache.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    They’d ought to just stick to putting objects together and selling them, and shut the hell up about things they don’t even start to comprehend.

  61. Captain Peabody says:

    Their argument is unreal. It’s literally that it’s only wrong to kill someone who is able to consciously place a value on their continuing existence, or who has conscious aims that would be thwarted by being killed. By that definition, you can pretty much write off all sleeping persons as only potentially persons; and according to these people it simply doesn’t matter either that a potential person was or will be an actual person, since the wishes and desires of actual persons always take precedence over the good of potential persons. So murdering sleeping Dutch ethicists is perfectly morally permissible. Hooray for liberalism!

    Leonard Cohen has a song called “The Future.” The lyrics seem rather relevant at the moment:

    “Things are going to slide,
    Slide in all directions.
    There won’t be anything
    That you can measure anymore.

    And when they said, “Repent! Repent!”
    I wondered what they meant.

    I have seen the future, and it’s murder.”

    Mater misericordiae, ora pro nobis. Iesu Christe, natus infans homo, miserere nobis.

  62. Charles E Flynn says:

    Father Z’s choice of a graphic for this thread is insightful. While many of the adherents of child sacrifice might think of themselves as atheists, they are essentially servants of Moloch, even though Moloch does not exist.

  63. StMichael71 says:

    If you’re interested in the more technical aspects of what these folks say and why they’re wrong in saying newborns should be killed (something I am sure the readers of this blog are pretty keen on rejecting), you can look at my in-depth discussion of these Italian professors’ arguments:

  64. Y2Y says:

    I think I will declare myself an ethicist. Since I know how to spell the word, and was once associated with a university, I appear to have sufficient qualifications.

    In my newly self-declared expertise, I have determined that liberals and leftists are not actual persons. Simply possess they appear to possess human DNA does not imbue them with human rights. I have determined that they are, in fact, moose, as is evidenced by their unintelligible braying and uncontrollable libidos.

    I have therefore determined that it is ethical to hunt them for sport.


  65. Charles E Flynn says:

    Where would we be without experts? Alive!, by Carl E. Olson, at The Catholic World Report.

  66. CatholicCaliGirl says:

    This is Sick.
    This is Disgusting.
    I literally felt like I was going to throw up while i was reading this.
    OLO Guadalupe, Ora Pro Nobis.

  67. NoTambourines says:

    I was a sickly child. My own history makes me feel like I have a heightened personal stake in these discussions. I ponder from time to time that I may well have been “life unworthy of life,” and at least sterilized, if not whacked outright in Nazi Germany.

    I’m a fit, healthy adult for the most part nowadays (and a contributing taxpayer), but would I have been allowed to get here under certain public policies?

    I’m glad there are groups like Not Dead Yet that fight the Orwellian “right to die” racket, but while adults can speak for themselves, children and newborns can’t. They are becoming a new vulnerable group.

    We said “never again” to so many horrendous Nazi practices that came to light after the war, but as others have noted in this discussion, it is the gradualist approach to crimes carried out behind closed doors with tidy medical euphemisms and numerous appeals to emotion and so-called “compassion” that are bringing them back.

  68. Geoffrey says:

    Artificial contraception leads to abortion, and now abortion leads to this. It is scary to think how very right the Servant of God Pope Paul VI turned out to be.

  69. Inigo says:

    The frightening part is, that satan does not have to hide anymore.
    Who is to blame?
    We are.
    We should have been salt, light and leaven.
    Pray and fast!

  70. This is not something new. ‘Maltese’ has already mentioned Peter Singer and that Australian philosopher (he teaches at Princeton) has advocated something similar for disabled children up to the age of seven, if my memory serves me right. Fundamentally once the existence of God is no longer the anchor and bedrock of ethics or moral philosophy then anything goes, human beings are reduced to organic machines valued for their capacity to contribute to society and morality is a mere social construct.

    What is not often acknowledged by atheists, humanists and secularists is that this denial of God leads directly to the denial of objective morality and the very concept of rights upon which Western liberalism is built. They are busy demolishing their own foundations.

  71. Andrew says:

    People who openly propose such ideas cannot be arrested for “hate speech”? I am sure they would get in serious trouble if they should single out certain groups of people as “not having a moral right to life”.

  72. AnnAsher says:

    I think I’m going be sick. For years I have responded to people grasping at the in utero person not being a person falsity by asking them where does it end? If one isn’t a person until they can feed themselves – as the argument goes the babe in womb can’t survive without the mother therefore the mother has the right to kill. I have said the newborn can not fend for herself…maybe my six year olds could figure out how to scavenge for food … So is it six then ? I’d ask can you kill your newborn?
    They would say no.
    This horrifying “study” says yes ?!?!
    Lord Jesus come in glory! Save your people!

  73. Tominellay says:

    …no Tax ID number, not a person…

  74. irishgirl says:

    My God, this is awful! And coming from such a venerable institution, as Rachel K says.
    What have we come to? We’ve become worse than the pagans.
    There are a few comments about The Netherlands and their policy of euthanasia. One of the sons of their Queen Beatrix is in a coma now from being buried in an avalanche while on holiday in Austria. He’s got brain damage, and may not even wake up, ever. Is he going to be a candidate for euthanasia? Is his own family going to have him murdered because he is not ‘productive’?
    I can’t stand it when we are thought of as mere ‘producers and consumers’; in God’s Name [to quote St. Joan of Arc], we are human beings!
    Please, dear Lord, come soon-we have made such a mess of the world which You created!
    We deserve to be punished for our sins against You and Your laws.

  75. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “While many of the adherents of child sacrifice might think of themselves as atheists, they are essentially servants of Moloch, even though Moloch does not exist.”

    Some of what we modern Westerners think of as the non-existent gods of pagan peoples, may, in fact, have been and continue to be very real; the entity known as Moloch may be a demon, a demon who once received the worship of those poor benighted souls, who although made in the image and likeness of the True God, were seduced into worshipping a fallen angel.

    I believe that the fallen angels once did and continue to prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. They once did this by presenting themselves to the people as “gods” to be worshipped, and they continue to do so today but by much more subtle and sophisticated methods, more in keeping with the spirit of our modern age, the “god” of our modern age being atheistic “enlightenment.”

  76. ScholaLady says:

    There may be something good in all of this. When I was in college I considered myself “pro-choice.” I read an article similar to this one, and realized that this was what all my reasons for supporting abortion led to. I was horrified, and tried to come up with some way to argue around it and couldn’t. This was probably my first step in turning away from abortion and towards life. I’m praying that this will happen for others as well.

  77. PA mom says:

    Maybe the predicament is meant to enlighten them. My husband works for a Dutch company and one of them began to admonish him over the recent comments of Santorum regarding the killing of the elderly there. My husband’s response, “Well, how many have you killed today?” He said there was a jesting response, then some explanation of wristbands, then a trailing off as the man seemed to comprehend that this was not a generally accepted practice here in the States. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” It seems so clear, now if we can just start following that as a Nation again.

  78. ocalatrad says:

    When I was a student at the University of Florida, we’d have displays in the center of campus with Margaret Sanger eugenic quotes as primers for discussion. We once had a complete lunatic student come up to one of the girls and say “sure, I think it’d be OK to kill you because you’re less useful to society”. I am not sure if he was serious but what is for certain is that this mindless brand of utilitarianism is rampant among the college population. There’s also a known “academic” in the philosophy department who advocates infant and toddler murder on the same grounds. This is in the flagship university of the state of Florida.

  79. KAS says:

    Humane Vitae was prophetic. God gave us clear warning through that good Pope and few bothered to read it. Even as the warnings began to come to pass people did very little to wake up. I recall a Keith Green song, “Asleep in the Light” about the horrible lack of action on the part of people in Church; the man may not have been Catholic but he sure called it with his songs.

    It is such a short encyclical.

  80. Martial Artist says:

    One is compelled to note several things about this development:

    First, such a conclusion springs logically from the idea that the killing of an unborn baby is somehow permissible, and psychologically from the narcissism of progressivism’s idea that we are so much more knowledgeable than our predecessors (what Hayek termed “the progressive fallacy”), which in turn seems to me to spring from the same source that convinced our first parents that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would be like God.

    And, second, that we were all warned that this would be one of the consequences of legalizing abortion, one warning among many that were greeted with scorn, derision and all-consuming denial, and by the inaptly labeled intelligentsia to boot.

    It is regrettable that it has all transpired so quickly. But that rapidity inheres, I suspect, in the nature of societal collapse, whether moral, fiscal, or physical. I had rather hoped I would not live long enough to see it this side of the grave. It appears that God deemed otherwise.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  81. Brad says:

    “Father Z’s choice of a graphic for this thread is insightful. While many of the adherents of child sacrifice might think of themselves as atheists, they are essentially servants of Moloch, even though Moloch does not exist.”

    moloch does exist. One third of the angels fell and have been gallivanting around earth since that moment disguised as false, pagan deities and idols. And I don’t mean the kind of idols that we hear about in nice sermons, “Oh, don’t make your work an idol, don’t make your money an idol…”, I mean real, hard-core idols, i.e. demons in disguise, not merely foolish behavior done by mortals.

    moloch does exist and he is offered actual blood.

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