The article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics called “After Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?”–which I addressed here a few days ago–is getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere. So, I decided that I would move past the argument over infanticide, and get into the larger agenda that the article represents. After discussing the details of the article, I get into the bigger picture. From my article at the Daily Caller, “Latest Infanticide Push About More Than Killing Babies:”
“After-Birth Abortion” is merely the latest example of bioethical argument wielded as the sharp point of the spear in an all-out philosophical war waged among the intelligentsia against Judeo/Christian morality based in human exceptionalism and adherence to universal human rights. In place of intrinsic human dignity as the foundation for our culture and laws, advocates of the new bioethical order want moral value to be measured individual-by-individual — whether animal or human — and moment-by-moment. Under this view, we each must earn full moral status by currently possessing capacities sufficient to be deemed a “person.”
The authors claim that one is not a person unless one can value their own lives and it means no one is ever permanently invested with human rights:
In other words, if you can’t value your own life, your life has less value. In this view — which is rife within international and American bioethics — the unborn, infants (at least through the first few weeks) and those who have lost relevant capacities because of, for example, late-stage Alzheimer’s or severe brain damage are not persons because they have either not yet attained or have lost the capacities of personhood. Some would even deprive such so-called human non-persons of the right to life. This means that you can be a person today but not tomorrow, and not be a person today and be killed before you become one tomorrow.
I point out that some bioethicists believe that some animals are persons and some humans aren’t, and link a Psychology Today interview with Peter Singer in which he asserts that PVS patients should be used in medical experiments in place of chimps and animals with higher cognition. And I point out that these discussions in bioethics have a purpose:
Some might wave the threat away by claiming that personhood theory is merely the secular equivalent of debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. But that is to whistle past the graveyard. Bioethics isn’t about abstract argument. It uses discourse to transform philosophical views into societal action. And while personhood theory is certainly not the unanimous view, I think it is fair to say that it represents the consensus in the field — at least among the majority of bioethicists who don’t have a modifier such as “conservative” or “Christian” in front of their title.
Now consider just one practical example of how personhood theory could soon deleteriously impact the well-being of you and your family. Obamacare has centralized control of health care into the federal bureaucracy, including by establishing a plethora of cost/benefit boards that will start operating within the next several years. Who do you think will be tapped to fill many of these powerful government positions that could ultimately decide what medical procedures will and won’t be covered by insurance — perhaps even which patients will and won’t receive them? Bingo! “Experts” trained in bioethics.
And therein lies a real danger:
Now consider what could happen if many or most of these board members adhere to the noxious view that “human non-persons” do not have a right to life: To say the least, the potential for “death panels” comes vividly into focus.
That ain’t all, of course. Personhood theory is a corrosive threat to universal human rights across a broad spectrum. But more on that as we roll along.