For the local organization Cambridge Right to Life, May is “Respect Life Month.” As a result, they sent a fairly lengthy article in one of their newsletters entitled: Why the Outrage? Are abortion and infanticide morally and ethically equivalent.” In this article I was introduced to a term I’d never heard before: post-birth abortion.
According to the article, the question has been recently asked: Why, when the mother or parents find a newborn baby a burden, should that baby live, when an unborn baby can be aborted in a similar circumstance?
The evil depths our depravity takes us to is horrific.
Here’s the argument, quoted directly from the article:
“An examination of 18 European registries reveals that between 2005 and 2009 only 64% of Down’s Syndrome cases were diagnosed through prenatal testing. This percentage indicates that, considering only the European areas under examination, about 1700 infants were born with Down’s Syndrome without parents being aware of it before birth. Once these children are born, there is no choice for the parents but to keep the child, which sometimes is exactly what they would not have done if the disease [sic] had been diagnosed before birth.
The authors then argue: “If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the 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 [sic: unborn child] 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.”
Did you catch that? Since, they argue, an unborn or newborn are not persons (based on their definition of what makes a person a person) parents should be allowed to kill both the unborn or the new born without any moral or legal implications.
What does this look like in reality? The article brings it right home to Canada showing the blurry line between abortion and infanticide. The following account is tough to forget and may be graphic for some.
In 2011, a 19-year old woman from Alberta gave birth to a baby in her parents bathroom without their knowledge. She then proceeded to strangle her baby and throw him over a fence. Two juries found her guilty of second-degree murder.
However, “the Alberta court of appeals overturned these convictions and replaced them with the lesser charge of infanticide. For this crime, she received a three-year suspended sentence, which meant she avoided serving any time in prison.”
Here are the last few paragraphs from the article:
“While the sentencing judge, Justice Joanne Veit of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, did not treat infanticide as a form of abortion from a legal point of view, she did use current Canadian abortion practice and the absence of any legal restrictions on abortion in Canada to justify the lenient – one could say token – sentence. She ruled that Canada’s lack of abortion law indicates that “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept, and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.” She applies this same sentiment in determining an appropriate sentence for infanticide.
In short, the judge viewed abortion and infanticide as comparable, which is a stance with which most pro-life advocates would agree and most pro-choice advocates, at least up to the present, would adamantly disagree. The problem for pro-life advocates is, however, that the judge, like the philosophers discussed above, sees infanticide as meriting a similar “compassionate” response to that taken by Canadian law to abortion, which is a total absence of protection of the unborn child.
The alternative would be to see abortion as calling for the more protective legal response in favour of the life of the child established by infanticide (which is a form of homicide), as it’s been understood, at least up until this case. But that would require Parliament to act to pass some law on abortion, which as is well known, many politicians, with some notable exceptions, are deeply afraid of doing and have unrelentingly refused to contemplate or even discuss.”
My question is still over the role of the individual Christian and the church in this area. If the population of our country was deliberately reduced by 100,000 over the course of this year we’d have more than a little to say about it. Yet that’s almost how many unborn children are terminated annually in Canada.
As a Christian, what can and should I be doing?
As Christians, what can and should we be doing?
A penny for your thoughts…