08 Mar The Rest of the Story…
By now you’ve probably read at least one article about the two British ethicists who wrote an article for the Journal of Medical Ethics where they argued that infanticide (killing a newborn infant) is acceptable – even ethical. The article has created a global firestorm. But as Paul Harvey might have said: “and now for the rest of the story…”
BioEdge, a pro-life/pro-family group based in Australia, broke the story and they offer some clarification:
Well, rejoice with us. BioEdge had its first world scoop. Last week, as far as I can determine, we were the first to pick up the publication of Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva’s controversial article in the Journal of Medical Ethics arguing that infanticide is ethically permissible. The news went viral and at last count a report in the London Telegraph had nearly 2,100 comments. BioEdge only had about 40, but at least we got there first.
The fallout from the article cannot have been pleasant for the authors. Dr Minerva says that she received death threats. “This was a theoretical and academic article. I didn’t mean to change any laws. I’m not in favour of infanticide. I’m just using logical arguments… I’ve received hundreds of emails saying, ‘You should die’,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
From a professional point of view, I feel less happy about my own nose for news. I failed to anticipate that newspapers across the world would reverberate with outrage. Julian Savulescu, the editor of the JME, was also astonished by the often-vitriolic response in blogs. Like me, it seems, he had been rather ho-hum about the whole business.
“The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.”
I suppose that this is one of the problems of working in bioethics. You lose touch with the fact that most ordinary people think that arguments in favour of infanticide are not only seriously weird, but depraved and wicked… (Michael Cook, Editor, BioEdge)
So it turns out the authors were not in favor of infanticide but giving a synopsis of sorts of all the academic materials that exist on the topic. Those of us at United Families International and I assume Michael Book as well, believe that those who promote infanticide are morally compromised and need to be exposed. The Journal of Medical Ethics article went a long way toward doing that. We wanted to make sure that all of the details surrounding the story were shared.