Human Exceptionalism

Should Infanticide be a Crime?

This terrible case of a girl giving birth and stabbing her baby to death raises a very important point. Some, like Princeton’s Peter Singer, believe that a newborn is not a person and so infanticide should not be a crime. A regular commenter here at Secondhand Smoke recently stated that there is a moral distinction to be made between a neo-nate, a baby in the first 24 hours, and later aged babies, and that a newborn is more akin to a fetus than a baby.

So, here is where the rubber meets the road: With regard to a case such as this–let’s not prejudge this particular allegation since people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, there may be mental illness issues, etc.–should the intentional killing of a newborn baby who is not wanted be a crime?

I say a newborn infant is a human being with full moral status, and that infanticide is murder most foul–regardless of the physical condition of the child. But some say infanticide isn’t murder because the baby isn’t a person or it might not be wrong depending on the physical state of the child. What say you? Please comment here and take the poll below.

If the mother of a newborn baby rationally believes it would be better if the child did not live, and she painlessly has the baby killed:
A newborn baby is not a person and so infanticide is not wrong so long as it is done painlessly
Infanticide is akin to abortion and should be legal so long as it is done within the first 24 hours of birth.
Whether infanticide is right or wrong depends on the circumstances. If the neonate is profoundly ill or disabled, it should be allowed.
A neonate is a full member of society and thus infanticide should always be a crime.
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