Sliding Down Abortion’s Slippery Slope

Lee Moses

In a shocking display of callousness, a paper in Journal of Medical Ethics advocates that since,

“(1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘afterbirth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”1

We recently lamented the lacking morals of the “experts”; and the above pronouncement comes from two medical ethicists who are highly respected in their field. And they have moved from saying killing children in the womb is acceptable to saying that killing children outside the womb is acceptable. There are advocates of euthanasia for children with severe disabilities or who are in severe pain; but to this writer’s knowledge, this is the first time such a major publication has advocated killing born children regardless of whether or not the child is even sick.

Speaking of sick, consider further the writers’ reasoning: “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’”.

Newborn infants are not “persons”? They do not have a moral right to life? Who says so, and why? Ah, you do—the “experts”—and it is because such children are not yet “able to make aims and appreciate their own life” [sic]. What an arbitrary definition of personhood, and of a point at which so generously to grant a child the moral right to life! Yet one could find numerous teenagers and adults with no real aims in life and no real appreciation for their own lives. If a coldblooded killer shoots up a high school, is he not to be held accountable if his victims fall into this category? If not, why not? That is one place to which this slippery slope will lead.

But consider where the slippery slope begins. The writers begin with a very faulty assumption—that abortion is morally acceptable. Abortion in and of itself is wrong and sinful. A child in the womb constitutes an innocent human life (Luke 1:41, 44; compare with 2:12, 16), and no man has the right to kill an innocent human being (Gen. 9:5-6; Matt. 15:19 -20; Gal. 5:21). Those with respect for God and His word have been pointing this out for decades. And many have also pointed out the slippery slope that abortion brings; that devaluing the life inside the womb inevitably leads to devaluing life outside the womb. Pro-abortion forces have mocked the “slippery slope” argument, just as pro-homosexual marriage advocates mock the notion that their devaluing of marriage has major ramifications. However, this paper provides solid evidence of abortion’s slippery slope.

And will it end with newborn infants? The writers state, “We do not put forward any claim about the moment at which after-birth abortion would no longer be permissible.” While they see no reason why a mother would require more than a few days to decide whether to keep or kill her child, what if she were to come to such a decision later—perhaps significantly later—would the writers find anything wrong with it? If killing a child a few days after birth is permissible, why not a few weeks? Why not a few months? Why not a few years?

I would expect pro-abortion advocates to be shocked by this. I would hope they are shocked by this. Hopefully their minimizing of life in the womb has not degraded their consciences to the point of uncritically accepting the murder of children outside the womb. And hopefully they will be shocked to their senses when they see where abortion’s slippery slope is leading.

ENDNOTE: 1 Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” Journal of Medical Ethics, Feb 23 2012.

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