Baby at his mother's breast
The biggest news story this week as to be Philosophers’ claim over moral right to kill newborns sparks outrage

Many of you reviled when you read this article. And rightly so. Two philosophers have written this article and the British Medical Journal published it.

I’m going to leave emotion out of my argument, not because I didn’t have an emotional reaction to this article, I just want to be clear in my argument.

Now I am pro-choice. Having said that, the argument that has been put forward is flawed.

Alberto Giubilini, from Monash University, and Francesca Minerva, from the University of Melbourne, say a foetus and a newborn are equivalent in their lack of a sense of their own life and aspiration. They contend this justifies what they call ”after-birth abortion” as long as it is painless, because the baby is not harmed by missing out on a life it cannot conceptualise.

What exactly to they mean by conceptualise? To what degree? My 2 year has a sense of order and predictability in his life but he certainly has no idea about the world and his place in it.

And claiming that a newborn has no sense of their own life I think is disingenuous. A newborn has survival instinct. Here’s a simple example; Candice Lemon Scott wrote a piece for Web Child about her baby daughter being placed on her stomach straight after birth and her daughter instinctively knowing how to move and find her mother’s breast and immediately begin suckling.

Here’s more information

If that’s not having a sense of your own life, then I don’t know what is.

Having said all this, the positive I take out of this article is pretty much the repulsion with which it has been met. It shows that our ‘moral compass’ (thanks Dr Phil) has completely gone askew; even if two philosophers want to test those waters.

But our history hasn’t always been rosy.

A Parliamentary Senate inquiry found that Australian governments must formally apologise to mothers and children who were victims of past forced adoption practices.

Watch the video that is embedded in the above article.

Whether you talk about “after birth abortions” in 2012 or “forced adoptions” from the 1950’s and 60’s, this is just another example of this notion what we can create this imagined perfect world to raise our children and live our lives. It doesn’t exist people. We are imperfect, the world is imperfect; that will not change.

I don’t agree with either of these policies but I do think they were born out of the same motivation to make “society at large” a more hospitable place.

The ‘after birth abortion’ article talks about what is best for mother; putting her needs above the baby. This could possibly be a natural swing of the pendulum from popular opinion in the 50’s and 60’s where ‘forced abortions’ were said to be in the best interest of the baby, not the mother.

It was a common belief that children were better off with a married couple than to be raised by an unwed single mother. In the 1950’s it was all about propriety and social standing.

In today’s society we are guilty of control and individualism. We have never been so in control of our lives; at least our reproductive lives. Or so we think we are. I think we have a harder time coping with the unpredictability.

But really, both policies are just a reflection of society of the time. Making the perfect bubble, the perfect life look good and dispensing with anything that would make it look bad.

And then you need to define what exactly ‘bad’ is. It’s subjective.

Life is a gamble people. Good things turn out to be bad. Bad things turn out to be good. But what is certain, you cannot control life.

In some cases challenging the status quo is required. Letting newborn babies live should remain as the status quo. The policy of taking babies from unwed mothers needed to be challenged.

On a lighter note, what about school hours? Should we challenge that status quo?

Merrylands East is a primary school in Sydney that announced last week students will start classes at 8am and finish at lunchtime under a proposal to make the most of children’s ability to learn better in the morning.

The revolutionary change to learning times, under discussion at a government school community in Sydney’s west, will set a precedent that could be followed by hundreds of other NSW primary schools.

Those of us who have parents that migrated from Europe will tell you that this is how it’s done in Europe, even to this day. If this proposal came into being there would be some upheaval to deal with but it’s a notion worth entertaining I think. What’s the harm in considering it?

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