Medics should be able to kill newborn babies if they are disabled, too expensive or simply unwanted, according to an explosive article by two academics.
The article says that infanticide, the killing of newborn babies, should be “permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.
The report’s authors Dr Francesca Minerva and Dr Alberto Giubilini argue that “both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons”.
They also claim that neither fetuses nor newborns are actual persons but rather “potential persons”.
Lord Alton, an independent crossbench Peer, said: “It is profoundly disturbing, indeed shocking, to see the way in which opinion-formers within the medical profession have ditched the professional belief of the healer to uphold the sanctity of human life for this impoverished and inhumane defence of child destruction.”
Trevor Stammers, a lecturer in medical ethics, described the idea as “chilling”.
And Gill Duval, of the ProLife Alliance, said: “Everybody talks about what women want but women wouldn’t want this.”
The controversial article, entitled After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?, was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics – an offshoot of the British Medical journal.
It says: “If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) forthe potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.”
Professor Julian Savulescu, the journal’s editor, said: “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 arguments based on widely accepted premises.”