Also Available in:

Abortion ‘after birth’? Medical ‘ethicists’ promote infanticide


Published: 8 March 2012 (GMT+10)
stock.xchng: spouliot ‘Ethicists’ say that this baby may be killed.
‘Ethicists’ say that this baby may be killed.

We have often provided evidence for the full humanity of the unborn child right from conception (i.e. fertilization of egg by sperm). And while still in the womb, children develop the ability to feel pain and even to plan their future, and are considered to be patients. Individual life is a continuum from conception to natural death. Birth changes nothing intrinsically about the nature of that life, just location and mode of respiration (from placenta to lungs).

This is one vital matter on which to decide the abortion issue, because murder applies only to human victims, not to the removal of a tumor or wart. The evidence for the humanity of the unborn has thus convinced many that abortion is wrong, since they disapprove of murder.1 For the same reason, most pro-abortion politicians don’t even dare to admit that the baby is human; they lie about it being a ‘blob of cells’, or obfuscate about it with feigned ignorance about the nature of the unborn, and quips that the question of where life begins is ‘above my pay grade.’ Never mind that the onus of proof is on the pro-abortionists to show that it’s not human life. If we didn’t know whether a body was live or dead, we would never bury it—we would give the benefit of the doubt to life.

But the reason many people still oppose murder is ultimately due to God’s command, “Do not murder.” Even many people who disbelieve in God have still been influenced by the Judeo-Christian world view of the culture they were raised in, and oppose murder. That is, while their atheistic world view can’t provide a basis for ethics, they hijack what is to them a foreign world view.

Baby Steps video from American Life League: Using 4D ultrasounds, the film shows the baby in the womb from 8 weeks through to birth.

Consistent atheists and pagans

However, an increasing number of atheists are becoming more consistent. That is, they share with pro-lifers the correct belief that there is no real difference between born and unborn children. But their consistency moves in the opposite direction. Their callousness towards unborn life is extended to children already born. This should not be surprising for those who have abandoned the Judeo-Christian view of sanctity of innocent2 human life, and replaced it with an evolutionary ‘ethic’, if such a term is even meaningful.

Their advocacy of infanticide is hardly anything new. We have already written about the atheistic evolutionary philosopher Peter Singer. He is explicit:

On abortion, suicide, and voluntary euthanasia … we may think as we do because we have grown up in a society that was, for two thousand years, dominated by the Christian religion.3

We have also pointed out that the Nazi regime shared this evolution-inspired disregard for human life, and went horribly down the same slippery slope. Dr Leo Alexander (1905–1985) was a chief medical adviser at some of the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis. Alexander pointed out that the eugenics and euthanasia policies had “small beginnings … the acceptance of the attitude … that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.” But after the camel had managed to get its nose into the tent, it wasn’t long before its whole body was in, and the human displaced. Alexander continued:

Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which this entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude toward the nonrehabilitable sick.4

Nazism was not just evolutionism, but also had a strong element of Teutonic paganism, although there were certainly plenty of overt atheists in the high echelons of the party (e.g. Martin Bormann, Baldur von Schirach, Alfred Rosenberg). Dr. A.J. Pennings wrote that Nazism grew out of “a deeply held mystical paganism … strengthened by the teachings of Darwinism and the pseudo-science of eugenics.”5 And one disturbing feature of their love for infanticide, as the late D. James Kennedy points out, was that:

“It was a dangerous thing for a baby to be conceived in classical Rome or Greece, just as it is becoming dangerous once more under the influence of the modern pagan. In those days abortion was rampant. Abandonment was commonplace: it was common for infirm babies or unwanted little ones to be taken out into the forest or the mountainside, to be consumed by wild animals or to starve or to be picked up by rather strange people who crept around at night, and then would use them for whatever perverted purposes they had in mind. Parents abandoned virtually all deformed babies. Many parents abandoned babies if they were poor. They often abandoned female babies because women were considered inferior.

“To make matters worse, those children who outlived infancy—approximately two-thirds of those born—were the property of their father: he could kill them at his whim. Only about half of the children born lived beyond the age of eight, in part because of widespread infanticide, with famine and illness also being factors. Infanticide was not only legal: it was applauded.”6,7

The Spartans and Romans were notorious for infanticide. The Romans also had the practice of paterfamilias, where fathers had the power of life and death over their children. Christianity expressly forbade infanticide, and prohibited Christian husbands from forcing their wives to kill their babies either by abortion or infanticide.

Back in biblical times, the pagan nations surrounding the new nation of Israel were vile idolators who sacrificed babies by fire to their god Moloch (Leviticus 18:21, 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2–6).

Only the Judeo-Christian sanctity of life ethic overcame all such abominations, which these latter-day pagans seem to want to revive.

More infanticide

Recently, we saw two more soi-disant ethicists argue for infanticide, again venturing on the same slippery slope as Singer, Obama, and the Nazis. Alberto Giubilini of Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) and Francesca Minerva of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics (UK),8 published a paper entitled, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” And it was in the (grossly misnamed?) Journal of Medical Ethics. The abstract reads:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (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 ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.9

One must wonder what passes for ‘ethics’ these days. In one of my favorite TV series NCIS, the character Dr Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard (played by David McCallum) is asked to give, “In your own words, the difference between ethics and morals.” Ducky answers, “Well the ethical man knows he shouldn’t cheat on his wife, whereas the moral man actually wouldn’t.”10 But he evidently hadn’t met these ‘ethicists’, who, if they were consistent with their evolutionary world view, would not even have any basis for thinking they shouldn’t.

Similarly, moral and legal likewise don’t mean the same thing. Abortion is legal in most Western countries; killing the chronically disabled was legal in Nazi Germany (to say nothing of the state-sanctioned genocide of the Jews), but neither are moral. In the antebellum USA, the notorious US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) upheld slavery and white supremacy as legal, justifying it by declaring that black people:

Wikipedia Atheopath and evolutionist, P.Z. Myers.
Vocal atheist and prominent evolutionist, P.Z. Myers.

had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.11


Let’s take each of their three reasons in turn.

1. The ‘personhood’ argument. I’ve noted before in an article critiquing legalized cloning that pro-abortionists are usually the ones who avoid the science, preferring instead vague quasi-religious comments about when, for example, a ‘person’ begins. Yet of course they “blast opposition to abortion as ‘religious’ (although it is in the sense that science can’t tell us it’s wrong to murder) when they are the ones appealing to religious concepts, while the pro-lifers point out scientific facts.”

Similarly, these ‘ethicists’ have decreed that somehow newborns are less than persons. So has the vocal atheopathic12 evolutionist P.Z. Myers, whom we have refuted before, saying:

“Nope, birth is also arbitrary, and it has not been even a cultural universal that newborns are regarded as fully human. I’ve had a few. They weren’t.13

Once again, he is being a consistent atheist, and also yearning for pagan times that regarded babies as disposable.

“The alleged right of individuals (such as fetuses and newborns) to develop their potentiality, which someone defends, is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being because, as we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence. Actual people’s well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child requiring energy, money and care which the family might happen to be in short supply of. Sometimes this situation can be prevented through an abortion, but in some other cases this is not possible.”

Once again, slippery slope. Many of Nazi Germany’s arguments for euthanasia are very similar, as I’ve pointed out before:

One book written four years before Mein Kampf (1924) and very much part of the German cultural milieu was Allowing the Annihilation of Life Unworthy of Life (Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens) 1920 by two evolutionists, lawyer Karl Binding (1841–1920) and psychiatrist Alfred Hoche (1865–1943). So it’s not surprising that Hitler’s tome said about such annihilation of unworthy life:

It will spare millions of unfortunates undeserved sufferings, and consequently will lead to a rising improvement of health as a whole.

There must be no half-measures. It is a half-measure to let incurably sick people steadily contaminate the remaining healthy ones. This is in keeping with the humanitarianism which, to avoid hurting one individual, lets a hundred others perish.

This is far from a “reductio ad Hitlerum” fallacy, although the infanticide defenders hate to see the comparison exposed. Rather, both Hitler and these ‘ethicists’ exhibit the same disregard for human life, because both accept the premise that there is such a thing as human ‘life not worthy of life’, which as Dr Leo Alexander said (see above) was the root of the Holocaust. Their only difference is which humans fall into this category.

2. Irrelevance of personhood: The ‘ethicists’ explain further:

Rebecca Kiessling: conceived by a brutal rape, and grateful that she was not executed for her father’s crime while in her mother’s womb; see her website.
Rebecca Kiessling: conceived by a brutal rape, and grateful that she was not executed for her father’s crime while in her mother’s womb; see her website.

“Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.”

Of course, pro-lifers have long reversed this argument using the same premises, as explained above. Because we don’t allow the execution of innocent life after birth, and there is nothing that intrinsically changes at birth, we should not allow it before birth. The same argument can be applied to opposing use of embryonic stem cells, but not ‘adult’ or somatic stem cells, which both avoid destroying tiny humans and actually produce cures.14 These ‘ethicists’ are going down the same slippery slope as the Nazis: because we allow some killing of human beings, we should allow more of the same.

Now with capital punishment, pro-lifers often receive comments like, “You are so hypocritical: you believe in sanctity of life before birth, but not after birth, because you don’t oppose war or capital punishment.” Actually, some pro-lifers do oppose these. But the main point is that the argument can be turned around on them: ‘You’re so hypocritical: you oppose the death penalty for the foulest mass murderers and killing to defend one’s life and country during war, but you support the death penalty for being ‘unwanted’ in your declared war on the unborn.’ Or as Rebecca Kiessling, conceived by a violent rape, asks, “Did I deserve the death penalty?” (for the crime of her father, who is even not subject to the death penalty in any state of the USA).

3. “Adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people”. Well, it’s certainly better for the baby than being torn apart in the mother’s womb or scalded with concentrated salt solution, or butchered after birth. There is also a good chance that the baby will be loved by two married parents and raised to be a productive member of society.

But these ‘ethicists’ don’t care about that. What they mean is that adoption is not necessarily the best option for the birth-mother, so it is sometimes preferable to kill the child. But this is actually a glaring contradiction of what has long been regarded as the epitome of wisdom, illustrating the great wisdom God had granted King Solomon at his selfless request (1 Kings 3:8–15).

The historical account continues (1 Kings 3:16–28) by explaining how two prostitutes came before the young king. They roomed together, and both gave birth to a son a few days apart. Unfortunately, one of them had accidentally laid on her baby and smothered him. The woman who discovered the dead child then claimed that it wasn’t hers, and must have been switched with her living child when she was asleep. All Solomon could see is two women fighting over one child.

His shocking solution was to order a sword, and say, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” The response:

“Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.’ Then the king answered and said, ‘Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.’ And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.”

neuroethics.ox.ac.uk Julian Savulescu
Julian Savulescu

Solomon knew that any decent mother would rather give up her child for a sort of adoption than see him killed. But these latter-day philosophers, ostensibly ‘lovers of wisdom’15, have basically said that Solomon, and all his admirers throughout the ages, was wrong here: a mother would rather see her child killed than given up for adoption, the very characteristic of the false mother in the account. If the word hadn’t already been taken, I would have renamed such ‘philosophers’ to ‘sophomores’, for the original meaning ‘wise fool’.16

Infanticidal intolerance

Unable to quit while they’re behind, the infanticide-lovers have now been defended by their editor Julian Savulescu. He accused opponents of being “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”, a threat to “academic discussion and freedom”, and practising “hate speech” and having “hostile, abusive, threatening responses”.17

But this should not be surprising; Savulescu is a former student of Peter Singer, so not surprisingly shares his utilitarian views. We have previously noted that Savulescu supports cloning babies for their body parts and aborting babies if the parents don’t like the sex (which ironically for pro-abort feminists, has resulted in far more baby girls killed than boys). He supports a number of other repugnant things:

  • “Breeding perfect babies”,18 i.e. eugenics, another direct fruit of Darwinism.
  • He argues that more evidence for the consciousness of patients in a “persistent vegetative state” means less reason to keep them alive.19
  • Consider how he advocates dealing with the very mentally disturbed patients suffering from the condition apotemnophilia, a desire to amputate perfectly healthy limbs. Instead of treating this hopefully temporary condition, he argues that amputation “might be desirable”, although permanently disabling.20

Savulescu justifies his latest tirade against dissenters by saying that the pro-infanticide ideas “are not largely new” (as shown, this is not news to us either), and that “infanticide is practised in the Netherlands” (as it was in Sparta and Canaan—but that is not a reflection of how wonderful infanticide is, but how debased these nations are/were in this regard).

The irony apparently escapes him. He has basically abandoned his utilitarian ethics to make a moral argument for the right to defend baby-butchery, and against criticism. And of course, the critics were exercising their free speech rights, which Savulescu doesn’t like. It’s not the first time that those of his ilk really believe in ‘free speech for me but not for thee’—see The hypocrisy of intolerant tolerance.


This recent promotion of infanticide is just a logical outcome of an evolutionary world view. Far from being a progressive step forward, it’s really a regression to the world view of the Nazis and of the most debased pagans of antiquity—debasements cured by the Gospel. And such twisted ‘ethicists’ even lack the ability to think straight: they attack opponents as ‘threats to free speech’ when in reality they are merely exercising this right!


  1. See some dramatic examples of this in the new online video 180, produced by Ray Comfort, available from 180movie.com. Return to text.
  2. Here used in the original Latin sense of in-nocens = not harming, and thus not contrary to the doctrine of original sin. Return to text.
  3. Singer, P., Ethics and Intuitions, Journal of Ethics, 9:331–352, 2005; quote on p. 345. Return to text.
  4. Alexander, L., Medical science under dictatorship, New England Journal of Medicine 241(2):39–47, 1949 | doi:10.1056/NEJM194907142410201. Return to text.
  5. Pennings, Evening Post (8 March 1994), feature article. Dr Pennings lectures in Communications at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Return to text.
  6. Kennedy, D.J., What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? 1994. Return to text.
  7. See also Muehlenberg, B., Worldviews and Baby-Killing, billmuehlenberg.com, 1 March 2012. Return to text.
  8. Both are from Italy, and recently obtained Ph.D.s in bioethics/philosophy from different Italian universities. Return to text.
  9. Giubilini, A. and Minerva, F., After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? Journal of Medical Ethics, published online 23 February 2012, doi: 10.1136/medethics-2011-100411. Return to text.
  10. NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, sound clips, moviesoundclips.net/sound.php?id=114. Return to text.
  11. en.wikisource.org/wiki/Dred_Scott_v._Sandford/Opinion_of_the_Court. Return to text.
  12. Leading misotheist (God-hater) Richard Dawkins often calls theistic religion a ‘virus of the mind’, which would make it a kind of disease or pathology, and parents who teach it to their kids are, in Dawkins’ view, supposedly practising mental child abuse. But the sorts of criteria Dawkins applies makes one wonder whether his own fanatical antitheism itself could be a mental pathology—hence, ‘atheopath’. Return to text.
  13. Newborn babies: not persons, and not fully human—P.Z. Myers, uncommondescent.com, 16 January 2011. Return to text.
  14. Sarfati, J., Stem cells and Genesis, Journal of Creation 15(3):19–26, 2001. Return to text.
  15. From Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), philosophy, from φιλέω (phileō), love (verb) and σοφία (sophia), wisdom. Return to text.
  16. From Greek σοφός (sophos), wise + μωρός (mōros), fool; whence we derive the word “moron”. Return to text.
  17. Muehlenberg, B., Opposing Baby-Killing Is Now ‘Hate Speech’, billmuehlenberg.com, 29 February 2012. Return to text.
  18. Muehlenberg, B., Those Unethical Ethicists, billmuehlenberg.com, 18 November 2008. Return to text.
  19. Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., Brain Damage and the Moral Significance of Consciousness, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 33:1–22, February 2009. Return to text.
  20. Cited in Cook, M., Time to throw in the towel, mercatornet.com, 8 September 2008. He rates Savulescu as even worse than his former teacher Singer, “leaving him in the dust.” Return to text.

Helpful Resources

US $10.00
Life Before Birth
by Gary E Parker
US $13.00
Hard Cover
Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
US $12.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.