In a recent paper, Giubilini and Minerva argue that in cases where in utero abortion is currently condoned, ‘after-birth abortion’, or infanticide, ought also to be permitted.’ For example, a third trimester abortion might be defended on the basis of foetal genetic abnormality, or through appeal to unacceptable parental suffering should the child live. On the authors’ formulation, infanticide in neonates of the same corrected age, in otherwise identical circumstances, ought also to be defended. The argument appeals to the parity principle. If there exist no relevant moral differences between two cases, and the first is ethically defensible , then the second case should also be deemed permissible. The paper has, unsurprisingly, provoked widespread public criticism, and even revulsion. In what follows, I argue that the distress evoked by these kinds of arguments is a moral consideration that ought to play a more prominent role in the debate .
Biegler P. Public distress as a moral consideration in after-birth abortion. Journal of Medical Ethics 2013; 39 (5): 323