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Back in February, a paper was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics arguing that after-birth abortion (aka infanticide) was morally permissible.  Their main argument was that newborns are not persons (they defined a person as “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her”), and because they’re not persons, they’re not entitled to a right to life.

I think it’s an interesting position, although I don’t entirely agree with it.  In the abortion debate, I view the issue of personhood as mostly irrelevant, because I believe that the right to abortion comes from a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.  However, after birth, bodily autonomy doesn’t factor into the equation at all.  So I’m not convinced by the argument of the paper’s authors, although I believe it raises an interesting moral question.

What do you think?

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