Congressman Smith Responds to Ethicists That Justify Killing Newborns

Posted on | March 9, 2012 by Lisa Correnti |

Last month the Journal of Medical Ethics featured an article by two bioethicists, Dr. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who justified the killing of newborns “when circumstances occur after birth that would have justified abortion.”

Giubilini and Minerva pedal infanticide as  ”after birth abortion” and qualify the “choice” as equivalent to that of abortion arguing that both the fetus and the newborn are only potential persons.

Congressman Chris Smith, a lifelong defender of  human rights responds. Below are excerpts:


Are the lives of newborn babies so cheap? Are babies so expendable? The murder of newly born children is further justified by Giubilini and Minerva because newborn infants, like their slightly younger sisters and brothers in the womb, “cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing.”In other words, no dreams, no plans for the future, no “aims” that can be discerned, recognized or understood by adults, no life.

This preposterous, arbitrary and evil prerequisite for the attainment of legal personhood is not only bizarre — it is inhumane in the extreme. Stripped of its pseudo-intellectual underpinnings, Giubilini and Minerva rationale for murdering newborns in the nursery is indistinguishable from any other child predator wielding a knife or gun.

Giubilini and Minerva say the devaluation of newborn babies is inextricably linked to the devaluation of unborn children, and is indeed the logical extension of the abortion culture, and wrote that they, “propose to call the practice afterbirth abortion rather than infanticide to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed — the newborn baby — is comparable with that of a fetus… Whether she will exist is exactly what our choice is about.”

The dehumanization of newborns isn’t new but it’s getting worse.

Giubilini and Minerva’s article must be a wakeup call. The lives of young children — an unprotected class — are under assault. Hard questions need to be asked and answered, and defenders of life must be mobilized. We have a duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable from violence.

As lawmakers, we must strive for consistency.




Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


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