Friday, April 20, 2012

Philosophers get death threats for considering arguments for infanticide

The latest issue of Philosophers Magazine has a disturbing article in it. Here it is:

THE PHILOSOPHERS Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have been subject to racist abuse and death threats, following the electronic publication of a paper about abortion and newborns in the online version of The Journal of Medical Ethics. Their paper, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” discusses arguments in favour of infanticide. In the abstract, they say, “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.”

The editor of the journal, Julian Savulescu, defended publication of the article. In a blog post, he said, “The Journal does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument. Moreover, it supports freedom of ethical expression.” Savulescu concluded: “what is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.”