Feb 28

In other news:

Ethicists Argue in Favor of ‘After-Birth Abortions‘ as Newborns ’Are Not Persons’ (The Blaze, Feb. 27, 2012):

Two ethicists working with Australian universities argue in the latest online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so to should be the termination of a newborn.

Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne write that in “circumstances occur[ing] after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”

The two are quick to note that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion“ as opposed to ”infanticide.” Why? Because it “[emphasizes] 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.” The authors also do not agree with the term euthanasia for this practice as the best interest of the person who would be killed is not necessarily the primary reason his or her life is being terminated. In other words, it may be in the parents’ best interest to terminate the life, not the newborns.

Paper: After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? (Journal of Medical Ethics):

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. 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.


  1. Alberto Giubilini 1,2,
  2. Francesca Minerva 3,4

Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
  2. 2Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University, Oxford, UK

More info on the authors:

Dr Alberto Giubilini:

St Cross Seminar: Dr Alberto Giubilini, “What is the problem with euthanasia?” (Oxford Martin School, Jan. 26, 2012):

The question “why is euthanasia morally problematic?” is twofold, although the two issues which compose it are often mixed up. The first question is: what is euthanasia? The second one is: why are some practices such as terminal sedation or withdrawal of disproportionate treatments considered morally permissible by those who do not consider euthanasia morally permissible?  I will argue that a) “euthanasia” is defined by the intention to bring about a patient’s death, rather than by its being an active killing, and b) the distinction between what is intentional and what is not does not represent, by itself, the morally problematic reason against euthanasia.  Finally, I will clarify this expression, “by itself”, by indicating the circumstances in which the intention to bring about a patient’s death can become morally problematic. Such clarification will allow me to put forward the thesis that there is no sound moral reason against euthanasia.

Biography: Alberto Giubilini recently obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy-Bioethics from the University of Milan. Previously, he was Visiting Student at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Philosophy. His main research interest is in bioethics and, in particular, in the ethics of medical end-of-life decisions, about which he published a book (in Italian) entitled “Morals in the Time of Bioethics. Sense and Value of Autonomous Choice”. His research interests and publication record also cover the issues of abortion, of the ethics of the family and of the concept of “secular bioethics”. He published articles in peer reviewed Italian and international journals, including one about “what we owe to the ones who might exist” forthcoming in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. He has also been engaged in a published debate on the concept of “secular bioethics” with the American bioethicist Hugo Tristram Engelhardt.

Abortion and the Argument from Potential: What We Owe to the Ones Who Might Exist (Oxford Journals):

I challenge the idea that the argument from potential (AFP) represents a valid moral objection to abortion. I consider the form of AFP that was defended by Hare, which holds that abortion is against the interests of the potential person who is prevented from existing. My reply is that AFP, though not unsound by itself, does not apply to the issue of abortion. The reason is that AFP only works in the cases of so-called same number and same people choices, but it falsely presupposes that abortion is such a kind of choice. This refutation of AFP implies that (1) abortion is not only morally permissible but sometimes even morally mandatory and (2) abortion is morally permissible even when the potential person’s life is foreseen to be worth living.

Francesca Minerva:

PhD University of Bologna

T: +61 3 8344 9951
Location: Old Quad, 1.23

Academic Profile

Francesca is a McKenzie post-doctoral fellow at CAPPE. She graduated (summa cum laude) in philosophy from the University of Pisa with a thesis in bioethics, discussing similarities and differences between a secular and a religious approach to bioethics. Francesca obtained a PhD in “Law, New Technologies and Bioethics” from the University of Bologna in June 2010, with a thesis about conscientious objection in the medical context.

During her PhD she spent most of her time as a Visiting Student at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics (Oxford, UK) where she is now a Research Associate.

Her main area of research is practical ethics (medical ethics, the ethics of genetics, human enhancement, new form of reproduction, conflicts between secular and religious ethics).

Francesca is interested in problems that can arise in the medical context when patients and doctors with different moral and religious values have to take important decisions about therapies needed.



  1. Alberto Giubilini1,2,
  2. Francesca Minerva3,4

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

  2. 2Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

  3. 3Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

  4. 4Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Francesca Minerva, CAPPE, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia; francesca.minerva@unimelb.edu.au
  1. Contributors AG and FM contributed equally to the manuscript.

  • Received 25 November 2011
  • Revised 26 January 2012
  • Accepted 27 January 2012
  • Published Online First 23 February 2012

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4 Responses to “‘Ethicists’: “… ‘AFTER-BIRTH ABORTION’ (Killing A Newborn) Should Be Permissible In All The Cases Where Abortion Is, Including Cases Where The Newborn Is Not Disabled””

  1. Jeremy Keen Says:

    Guys, this is so messed up… Francesca and Alberto, shame on you. Do YOU are persons?

  2. Ethicists justify infanticide | animadvert Says:

    […] http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=5304 http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2012/02/28/ethicists-after-birth-abortion-killing-a-newborn-should-be… […]

  3. Dee Says:

    What a shame the mothers of these two eugenicists didn’t abort them at birth. What a disgusting pair. They would be right at home in Dr Mengele’s practice

  4. dizzyfingers Says:

    Call it by some other name and it’s not killing or murder. Think again.

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