Why should a mother kill her child
Should one be allowed to kill newborn babies?
Scandals can also be boring. One such scandal is the recently organized theater around a publication in (J Med Ethics 2012; online March 2nd).
Entitled "Postpartum Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?" put the Australian philosopher Dr. Francesca Minerva and Dr. Alberto Giubilini outlined the reasons on which they consider the killing of newborns to be permissible.
In short, these reasons are all those among which an abortion would have been permissible while pregnant.
These include severe disabilities for the child, but also the unreasonable burden that it could mean for the mother to raise the child. This should kill healthy babies if their continued life would harm the mother.
As a justification, Minerva and Giubilini cite that a newborn is not a person in the strictest sense and that its moral status is that of a fetus.
Kill whenever you want?
The newborn cannot associate any value with its survival as an "actually existing" person would. If you take his life away, you would not harm him because he is unable to see the difference.
So the permission to kill is derived from the child's underdeveloped mental state, which makes life (still) seem worthless to the child.
That sounds absurd. And that's it. If a human being is spiritually underdeveloped on a day X to appreciate his life, one can assume that he does not yet have this ability on day X + 1 either.
Because one day more or less will not change that much in mental development, which is based on brain maturation.
So if you can kill a baby on the day it is born, you can also kill it the day after. And the following day and so on - in one word: whenever you want.
But there is a very simple reason why a newborn, especially a healthy one, should not be killed.
Because if you did, you would have to spend many years behind bars. Manslaughter and the murder of newborns are clearly prohibited by law, at least in this country.
The boring thing about the supposedly scandalous philosophical theses are above all the reactions to them. You can read them on the headlines. "Researchers defend the killing of newborns," read "Welt Online".
However, as one can see from the line, the researchers have not yet killed newborn babies themselves or anyone else who invokes their theses.
The "Focus" even assumed: "Researchers are calling for the killing of newborns" - that is clearly going too far, because even the two Australians would admit to leaving one or the other child alive.
Such excitements are not new. They are known from the debates on the theses of the - also Australian - philosopher Peter Singer, who for his part had spoken about the euthanasia of newborns who are seriously disabled.
Or from the disputes about the Mainz legal philosopher and ethicist Norbert Hoerster, who took positions similar to those of Singer. In all cases the outcry was great and the demise of civilization was supposedly near.
Newborns and philosophers are supposed to live
Some protectors of life did not stop with counter-arguments or insults, they threatened Singer and Hoerster with murdering them. And death threats are also said to have been made against Minerva and Giubilini.
One may see a justification for criminal barbarism in the arguments of the Australian philosophers.
However, it will then not be possible to avoid the question of why more than 100,000 fetuses can be legally aborted every year in Germany alone - most of them, one must assume, are quite healthy.
At least this merit can be attributed to Minerva and Giubilini: to have awakened a feeling for the arbitrariness that attaches to every deadline for an abortion.
Any society that accepts a deadline solution must be able to withstand the imposition of such arbitrariness. Once such a compromise has been found after a long struggle, it should not be questioned indiscriminately.
Conclusion: Newborns should live - and so should philosophers who talk nonsense.
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