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Planned Parenthood for Infanticide?

This scoop from John McCormack is front-and-center on Drudge right now, and with good reason. It’s incredibly shocking. While opposing a bill in the Florida legislature that would require abortionists to provide medical care to an infant in the event of a botched procedure, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist had this exchange with a legislator:

“So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow.

When a legislator tried to clarify whether or not the patient, at that point, would be the infant, she said, “that’s a very good question. I really don’t know how to answer that.”

This is pretty grim stuff.

Much of the legal reasoning surrounding abortion involves the understanding that a fetus is a potentiality rather than a person. None of that applies here. Infants have legal rights, so the decision is not “up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

This is familiar ground for some medical ethicists, unfortunately. About a year ago a paper by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva in the Journal of Medical Ethicists entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” drew criticism even from Slate and the Washington Post. A passage from it:

In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be [bold mine–JB]. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.

Even acknowledging that it’s more or less Planned Parenthood’s job to oppose any and all regulation of abortions, they might have an easier time shaking their reputation for extremism and moral obtuseness—I’m thinking of their history of support for eugenics and population control—if their representatives today acknowledged the completely uncontroversial belief that killing newborns is never acceptable.

(video of the full hearing)

about the author

J. Arthur Bloom is managing editor of Modern Age and the former editor of The American Conservative online. He was previously deputy editor of the Daily Caller and a columnist for the Catholic Herald. He holds masters degrees in urban planning and American studies from the University of Kansas. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Spectator (U.K.), the Guardian, Quillette, the American Spectator, Modern Age, and Tiny Mix Tapes.

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