Reflections from a Troubled Stream: Giubilini and Minerva on 'After-Birth Abortion'
Hauskeller (Michael)
Source: The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 42, No. 4 (July-August 2012), pp. 17-20
Paper - Abstract

Paper SummaryText Colour-Conventions

Author’s Conclusion

  1. If there is such a thing as a "right to life," then a newborn has as much of it as you and I, and the fact that it lacks our abilities is irrelevant. Holding this view does not make us irrational — or at least not less rational than anyone who believes that certain things are wrong and ought not to be done or allowed.
  2. It is a mistake to demand that moral convictions be always justifiable in terms of a narrow conception of rationality. Indeed, it is the very fact that morality often requires us to defy the seemingly rational that makes it so important. This tends to be forgotten by a bioethical tradition whose style of thinking has its roots in analytical philosophy, leading to results that should give us pause.
  3. When people want to describe the horrors of war, the wanton killing of young children is often cited as the clearest expression of human depravity. We believe not only that, without question, they have a right to life, but also, because they represent human life at its most vulnerable stage, that they need and deserve our protection then more than at any other time and that, consequently, harming and killing them is even worse and more unforgivable than harming and killing an adult.
  4. This view is about as essential to our shared ethical self-understanding as a position can get. If a philosophical argument, such as the one presented by Giubilini and Minerva, calls this into question, we should not be swayed by its appearance of rationality, but rather take it as our cue to rethink the way we practice philosophical ethics.


Response to an on-line pre-print of "Giubilini (Alberto) & Minerva (Francesca) - After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?"

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - February 2018. Please address any comments on this page to File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page