When Radical Ideas Become Reality

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
We live out what we believe. Our theology, convictions and worldviews determine how we live and what we do with our time and resources. Simply put, ideas matter. Our passion for the sanctity of human life, for example, has led my wife to spend time volunteering at a pregnancy crisis center and played a central motivating role in our adopting a child with Down syndrome.
Now to be sure, some ideas are more dangerous than others. For example, Scott Klusendorf, author of The Case for Life, describes a few of these in the following article.

In 1993, ethicist Peter Singer shocked many Americans by suggesting that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot. Five years later, his appointment as Decamp Professor of Bio-Ethics at Princeton University ignited a firestorm of controversy, though his ideas about abortion and infanticide were hardly new. In 1979 he wrote, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”

Peter Singer is not alone in these beliefs. As early as 1972, philosopher Michael Tooley bluntly declared that a human being “possess[es] a serious right to life only if it possesses the concept of a self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states, and believes that it is itself such a continuing entity.” Infants do not qualify.

More recently, American University philosophy professor Jeffrey Reiman has asserted that unlike mature human beings, infants do not “possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.” He explicitly holds that infants are not persons with a right to life and that “there will be permissible exceptions to the rule against killing infants that will not apply to the rule against killing adults and children.”

For most, this kind of thinking is simply appalling. It is almost unbelievable that anyone would hold to these kind of views. And yet, a recent ruling in Alberta seems to be putting them into practice. Greg Koukl, from Stand to Reason, reports:

The second-degree murder conviction of a Canadian woman who strangled her newborn was overturned (an appeals court ruled there was a reasonable doubt, though she had twice received this conviction from juries) and replaced with the conviction of infanticide, which has a much lower maximum sentence of five years.

But the sentence was suspended, and the judge cited Canada’s lack of anti-abortion laws as part of her decision: “[W]hile many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support…. Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother.”

Wait a minute…abortion? So now this falls under the same reasoning as abortion?

Katrina Effert was 19 on April 13, 2005, when she secretly gave birth in her parents’ home, strangled the baby boy with her underwear and threw the body over a fence into a neighbour’s yard.

So now sympathy for the mother is enough to justify killing a born human being, and so her actions fall under the same guidelines as those in Canada that cover women who want to kill their unborn children.

It makes perfect, consistent sense, of course—the child is the same human being before birth that he is after, so if the reasons are sufficient in the first case, they ought to be sufficient in the second. I guess I just hoped the adoption of a consistent view would work backward to protect the unborn rather than forward to endanger the “justborn” (a term I just heard for the first time in connection with this case).

But because of consistent thinking, the judge said that Canadians have found the no-minimum-sentence infanticide law to be a “fair compromise of all the interests involved” when it comes to killing justborns, and then she suspended even that.

But Effert is not completely off the hook yet:

Next week, the court will hear arguments on a remaining issue from Effert’s long legal battle: the 16 days of jail time she still must serve for throwing her baby’s body over the fence.

Her lawyer, Peter Royal, asked the court to do away with the penalty or allow her to serve the time on weekends. It was “unjust” and “almost mean to incarcerate her” at this point, he argued.

Actually, I agree with her lawyer. If murdering a child isn’t worth jail time, it certainly is just meanness to put Effert in jail for throwing a dead body over a fence.

Source: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/09/full-birth-abortion.html

I pray that as the church we would be urgent in our prayers and compassionate in our actions as we lovingly stand up and seek to “give justice to the weak and the fatherless and maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” (Ps 82:3).

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