After-Birth Abortion: Cardinal George Pell.

Note: Whilst preparing this I looked for the article in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The paper on after-birth abortion referred to was by Australians  Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. Mysteriously, their article has ‘disappeared’ from the on-line version of said Journal.

+ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
11 Mar 2012

There were 44 million abortions worldwide in 2008 according to last month’s issue of the Lancet.

It is a huge number; big enough to worry the editor, who declared that reducing abortion “is now an urgent priority for all countries”.

But not everyone agrees.  Also last month in another medical journal, two Australian academics opened abortion’s last frontier with a discussion of the “ethics” of “after-birth abortion”.

The argument is simple enough.  There are persons and “potential persons”, who are in fact “non-persons” and can be killed.

A person can value its life and have goals for the future.  If it realises what it is losing when you kill it, then killing it would be wrong.  On this definition, “many non-human animals and mentally retarded human[s]” are persons.

A potential person cannot attribute a value to its life or form aims for the future.  If you kill it, it does not know what it is losing.   So killing it is “ethical”, is O.K.  The authors claim the unborn and newborn infants are only potential persons and can be killed.  The infant’s level of mental development “determines whether or not she is a ‘person'”.

So it is only infanticide and wrong if you are killing a young person.  If you are killing a non-person after birth, it is after-birth abortion and O.K..

I’m not making this up.  Unfortunately it gets worse.

With some disabled babies, the authors claim “death seems to be in the best interest of the child”.  But “the best interest of the one who dies” is not enough.

The best interests of “actual persons” who have to look after the child, or society which pays for its care and education, always prevail over “the alleged interests of potential persons to become actual ones, because this latter interest amounts to zero”.  All this legal-speak means that even a healthy child, even healthy babies could be killed, if they are a big nuisance!

“Merely being human” is not enough to have the right to life, or any rights at all.  And if you don’t know what you’re missing, you can’t be harmed, even by killing.

You are only a person if you value life, have aims, or are valued by someone else.  There are plenty for whom none of these apply.  These non-persons too would be eligible for after-birth abortion; liable to be murdered.

It is madness, of course. But this is where the logic of abortion leads us.

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28 Responses to After-Birth Abortion: Cardinal George Pell.

  1. Biltrix says:

    Reblogged this on Biltrix and commented:
    Not to be ignored.


  2. ClassicalTeacher says:

    “Woe to those times when evil is perceived as good and good is perceived as evil.” (Is. 5;20) So, are they going to attribute this same philosophy to endangered species such as the American Bald Eagle? If one were to destroy an eagle’s egg, they can actually go to jail and be fined up to $5,000.00!!! But, then again, this is an eagle, not a potential person… This indeed is madness, of the Orwillian level. God help us all.


  3. davethehappysinger says:

    The article has only ‘disappeared’ for people whose accumulated experience of navigating academic sites is less than sixty seconds. If it helps, the article is here, and it’s fine.

    I read your article three times looking for the counter-argument. Then it dawned on me.

    It is madness, of course.

    That’s it?


  4. toadspittle says:


    Then there are those who might suggest that, as God seems to have no problem with wiping out (or, at best, not preventing) countless thousands of his children every day by way of flood, tempest tornado or terremoto, to say nothing of Typhoid or Tetse, Leprosy or Lyme’s disease, Malaria or Mumps, a few thousand more abortions won’t make much difference. (Toad, of course, is not one of them.)
    But life does seem cheap on this planet. Always has. One must suppose expensive Bald Eagle eggs is a step in the right direction.


  5. teresa says:

    I won’t waste time to find counter arguments against the provocation provided by Peter Singer and his ilk in the so called “academical” world in Australia and Oxford centre for Bioethics. They are all heavily sponsored by the industry, the Oxford centre for Bioethics being supported by an International Concern, and they occupied academical positions in Australia, the leader of Oxford centre for Bioethics was professor at the University of Melbourne (if I remember correctly), and now his two pupils, the joint author of this so called “academical” paper are now holding well paid positions in Australia. Peter Singer is from Australia. The connection is clear. If you follow their school, you will find a nicely paid position in Australia or the Oxford Centre for Bioethics. No wonder they are getting a lot of young people who choose to write papers calling for very inhuman treatment of their fellow human beings, it is modish and most important of all, it is lucrative. I see nothing academical in their “research”, only a money making business.

    They exhibit the madness which contaminates the modern world, and sane people should stand out and cry out “but the Emperor IS NAKED”.

    People who support them are kind of snobs, only because Peter Singer is a well paid speaker at some prominent universities, including Princeton, they feel that we must all cuddle up to them. The same applies to Richard Dawkins. Peter Singer, Dawkins etc. are celebrities, and to criticise them means being excluded at dinner parties of “tolerant” “free-thinking” guys with some kind of academical background, so everyone who wants to get recognition at dinner parties choose to praise them, after all, it is the social recognition which they are all after, and they don’t want to be called “bigots”!


  6. toadspittle says:


    Well Teresa, bless you – what you seem to be doing is what is colloquially known amongst the medical profession as “Whining.” And why not? Nothing wrong with a good whine now and then. Gets the ya-ya’s out!
    And yet, you seem deeply unhappy. Talk to Kathleen . Being unhappy with one’s cross is sinful, in itself, it seems.

    Toad suspects Eros at work. But what does he know?

    And one would have to travel great distances to find a bigger bigot than Toad.
    Might as well stay at home.


  7. teresa says:

    I don’t think Peter Singer is a cross to me. I am unhappy with Peter Singer’s and his followers’ calling for the killing of babies, the disabled and the elderly. I can’t see why it is “sinful in itself” by opposing killing.

    What I wrote is unpleasant to your ears, so it explains why you wrote the comment above. Yet I have no intention to show that I am totally Happy with Peter Singer, I find him revolting and his followers as well, and the Philosopher David Oderberg of University of Reading thinks just the same about them. The previous comment by me which provoked you to make medical diagnosis about me is actually the result of recherché last month and the reading of an article published by Prof. David Oderberg in the Human Life Review 2008. He used also strong words, calling for the closing down of the Oxford Centre for Bioethics. Peter Singer and his followers are called by him as “second class philosophers”. Do feel free to call everyone who dares to oppose Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins “unhappy, sinful etc.”, if it makes you feel better.What you suspect about me is totally wrong, and please do care more for your own real life. To make conjectures about internet personae like me on the web is really only an activity for people who have too much time at their hands.

    As for Kathleen and others, yes they are very good Catholics who can be my examples and I talk to them and consider them to be my good friends. But still, I will further write things unpleasant to your ears, as your feeling is not the measurement for what is wrong or right. If I find something wrong, I will speak out my opinion, just as you can also speak out your opinion on this blog.

    As for your further diagnosis of my character, my life, my happiness or unhappiness, my spiritual life, be sure that I have no interest to respond to you further. Ad hominem arguments (pseudo-medical, psychological diagnosis of internet personae) are the last resort of people who are angered by comments written by others. Have a nice time.


  8. toadspittle says:

    Why are you so very deeply distressed, Teresa? We all love you.
    As a matter of fact, you have never written anything unpleasant to Toad’s ears. Maybe some things with which he has a bit of an intellectual problem, but what does that matter?

    As to Peter Singer, whom Toad has never mentioned on here before, and may well never mention again, so?
    He has some disturbing views. So does Toad. And Teresa.

    “But still, I will further write things unpleasant to your ears, as your feeling is not the measurement for what is wrong or right. ” ..Just be sure you do, Teresa!


  9. teresa says:

    Hmm, thank you Toad a lot for not being offended by the words I wrote above. I am not distressed, I think today I might have much less patience with everything. That is perhaps the reason why I wrote quite sharp and direct words. And I ask for apology for being too harsh.

    As for Peter Singer, and Vegetarians who love animals above human beings, I really can’t like them. Hitler was also Vegetarian and loved his dogs and even had mercy with a mouse (in Mein Kampf), but he killed Millions of innocent people. Their view is not only disturbing, but deeply inhuman. They are rascals in my eyes. The illness of the modern society is that these persons are celebrated as liberal and fair-minded intellectuals.


  10. toadspittle says:

    Your comments are, as always, graceful, elegant, and need no apology whatsoever, Teresa.

    However, Toad does suspect that you might not find many others who will agree that Hitler was actually “celebrated” as a liberal and fair-minded intellectual.

    But he may be wrong.


  11. ClassicalTeacher says:

    Wow… You guys lost me a long way back… I guess all I can really comment on is that the whole concept of “after-birth abortion” is so evil, so frightening, and so irrational that it pales insanity. For anyone to consider this argument as reasonable indicates total disconnection with reality. These folks are living on the planet Zeno. I wish they’d sever their connection to earth, quite frankly.

    Seriously, this kind of thinking was predicted way back in1973 when abortion became legal in the U.S. No one believed those who claimed it. It was also predicted many times after when partial-birth abortions raised its ugly head, and when “doctor-assisted suicide” raised its putrid head, and when Terry Schiavo lost her life to starvation by her husband’s hand became a reality. So, here we are. Now, we are told that deciding which humans have the “capacity” to become PERSONS is the criteria to who lives and who doesn’t. We are living in a very sick world and I’m glad I’m too old to see the rest of the horror story.


  12. ClassicalTeacher says:

    Teresa, I am assuming that you are Australian. I don’t know anything about Australian politics, but here in the U.S., it is exactly how you describe it. The liberals are extolled as fair-minded, “caring” folks especially those in the Democratic party and in hollywood. This is further suported by the elite media who are also in bed with the far-left-wingers and kowtow to anyone who belches or farts like a marxist/socialist/commie. And, there are many of those. It is no wonder our country is rotting from the inside out. It doesn’t sound like Australia is far behind us.


  13. toadspittle says:

    it seems to Toad, that if you knowingly kill another living human being, you will be open to a charge of murder under the existing laws. And rightly so.
    Nothing to do with God. And the existing laws ought to take care of it.

    It also seems to Toad that this is no more than a spot of juvenile, off-the-wall, “what if,” nonsense being wafted around here to epater les grown-ups.
    To which the brief and sensible reply is, “Don’t be so effing stupid.”

    Best not to get too hysterical too soon.
    It is probably no more than a storm in a test tube.


  14. ClassicalTeacher says:

    Toad: With all due respect, this is not, as you say, “no more than storm in a test tube.” When a body of “experts” make statements that carry with them the weight of authority, in which human life is rendered less significant than an eagle’s egg, that is nothing to ignore. Personhood is a non-issue. Who determines when a human becomes a “person”? That is absolutely ridiculous and part and parcel of the ultra-left/atheistic/hedonistic/marxist population in the world today. As I said, it is frightening.


  15. toadspittle says:

    Toad clearly did not make himself clear, ClassicalTeacher. The storm in question was not the whole issue of baby murder itself, but the provocative and juvenile attitude of the “experts” which you, too, rightly put in inverted commas. But Toad may be wrong.

    Don’t be too downhearted about your country. There is still Fox News, Saint Rush of Limbaugh and The Blessed Ann of Coulter to carry the torch.


  16. ClassicalTeacher says:

    Toad: Perhaps I over-reacted to your comments. Sorry if I did. Why do you speak in the third person, by the way? It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode… Well, I am hoping and praying that our country will get back on track once the marxist in the white house is booted out. It will take more than Limbaugh and Coulter to right what is wrong in this country. It wil take a united America to do that. Do we have it still?


  17. ClassicalTeacher says:

    FYI: I don’t know how I got that ugly avatar…


  18. kathleen says:


    You hit the nail on the head – great comments.
    And whether you have a “united America” or not…. well, we definitely do not have a “united UK“. Utopias I’m afraid, but we can still keep standing up for what we know to be right.

    And sorry about the ugly avatar…… blame WordPress 🙂


  19. ClassicalTeacher says:

    Thanks, Kathleen! Is that how we get these avatars? If so, someone at Word Press must have had a terrible time with some teacher in school as a child…

    So, you’re in the UK! What part? I have wanted to go to England my whole life. I’m 1/2 English and have always been interested in my English heritage.

    Yes, we must always stand up for what is right, true, and beautiful. The truth is always the truth and it can never be anthing else. If I exist at this moment, I cannot not exist at this moment. A human is a human from the moment of conception throughout his/her natural life to natural death. Very easy concept. Just as an eagle’s egg is an eagle at fertilization, and throughout the bird’s life to natural death. The mother eagle is not going to hatch a turnip. So, likewise, a human mother will never give birth to a turtle or a grapefruit. This whole article is beyond belief and crosses over into the realm of insanity. It just blows my mind. But again, thanks for the thumbs up!


  20. toadspittle says:


    Toad talks in the third person ClassicalTeacher, originally to avoid the use the constant use of “I”. But he has come to agree that it is too mannered.
    I suppose I should just go on like this.

    “A human is a human from the moment of conception throughout his/her natural life to natural death. Very easy concept.” For you perhaps, but there is a school of thought that says a human being (or, one must suppose, an Eagle) is only one when they are capable of existing independently of their mother.
    I have no strong view either way. But there are those two ways, and may actually be others besides. So it may not such an “easy concept” as all that.

    “It will take more than Limbaugh and Coulter to right what is wrong in this country.” surely you mean less? To describe Obama as “Marxist” is in my opinion frankly imbecile. He’s far too right-wing for that.
    And I also suggest that it’s that kind of thinking that has gotten the US into the state which you now deplore.


  21. teresa says:

    Toad, thanks for your forbearance.

    @Classical Teacher: I am not from Australia. The comment I wrote about the head of the Oxford Uehiro Centre Mr. Julian Savulescu was the result of recherché last month. He was professor in Australia and both authors of this stupid but abominable “thesis” were his pupils, who are now holding positions in the same university. Mr. Peter Singer as a natural of Australia, has influence on the academical world. All looks more like cronyism than academical research.

    Prof. David Oderberg wrote an interesting piece on our “liberal minded academics” of Uehiro Centre and Peter Singer plus his minions and ilk, it is worth a read (link to full text:, quotes:
    it is all too evident that very many, perhaps the majority, of bioethicists are, to put it frankly, less than competent. I believe that this is a view a good number of philosophers share. The bioethics industry is, unfortunately, populated by many individuals whom one might even call second-rate philosophers. They have found themselves unable to grapple with the more technical or abstract areas of philosophy—or at least to make a name for themselves in such areas—but have found that it is relatively easy to forge a name for oneself in the bioethics business. […]

    In fact it is worse than this. For the best way of getting yourself heard as a bioethicist is not merely by saying something new about an old topic, or taking the lead in breaking open a new one, but by saying something radical or shocking. The more you excite the public imagination, the more debate there will be and the more people will want to hear you, simply so they can
    express their disagreement or at least for the shock value. And the more shocking you are, the better it seems to be for your career. Bioethicists appear to crawl over one another to outrage public sensibility with the creepiest ideas they can come up with. You might recall the furore over Peter Singer’s advocacy of bestiality a few years ago in a review of a book by one Midas
    Dekkers on the subject.1 He has also opined that necrophilia is “not wrong inherently.”


  22. teresa says:

    More quotes:
    “What about defending infanticide? We know that philosophers such as
    Peter Singer and Michael Tooley have long done so in theory, as it were, but
    now bioethicists are eager to defend the real-life practice of child murder: Witness
    Hilde Lindemann and Marian Verkerk, two Dutch bioethicists who, to no
    one’s surprise, uphold the diabolical Groningen Protocol allowing Dutch
    doctors to kill handicapped newborn babies” […]

    “Irrespective of such disharmony, however, consider what the Uehiro Centre’s director stands for. One does not need to read too many of Savulescu’s 217 articles—of which precious few outside of his book-review articles and teaching materials get beyond five or six pages—to learn that he advocates the following, among other things: abortion at all stages; abortion following sex selection; embryonic-stem-cell research and other experimentation on embryos; the creation of human-animal hybrids; designer babies and so-called savior siblings; therapeutic and reproductive cloning; the use of drugs in sport; the sale of organs; eugenics; and pretty much any
    form of genetic engineering that meets either an autonomy criterion or a utilitarian criterion. Wait a minute, I forgot that he also thinks it may be permissible or even desirable for a person to have her perfectly normal limb amputated if it would improve her “global well-being.”

    “I would ask any serious philosopher, pro-life or not, or indeed anyone serious about rigor in thought combined with wisdom and insight: Is this sort of reasoning good enough? I mean, good enough outside the pub or the restaurant? (I am being unfair to pubs at least, where you will find a greater dose of common sense than in many a bioethics seminar.) Is it really good enough for a professional philosopher, let alone one funded to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars? Just to give you one example of the kind of first-year fallacy with which Savulescu’s writings are replete, in his deaflesbians article he invokes the spectre of Nazism to nudge us in the direction
    of his train of thought. “The Nazi eugenic programme,” he reminds us, “imposed a blueprint of perfection on couples seeking to have children by forcing sterilisation of the ‘unfit,’ thereby removing their reproductive freedom.” Ergo, neither the state nor any other body or person should impose its reproductive views onto anyone else. Here’s the fallacy (a straight non
    sequitur): The Nazis did not act immorally because they failed to produce disability; they acted immorally because they failed to accept it. So the Nazi debating tactic is a total red herring.”

    “First, the current of major and fundamental dissent in bioethics is to be found among pro-life thinkers. These thinkers defend the inviolability of innocent human life; they support traditional families and human rights; and they call for curbs on rampant biotechnology. They attack untrammelled scientific developments, the commodification of humanity in all its forms, and anything that lessens the dignity and exceptionality of the human being. For they see the human being as a creature with a soul, a conscience, and a free will obedient to the dictates of an objective moral system that transcends personal preference and unrestrained autonomy.
    Such thinkers have to be marginalized and demonized, and so they have been. This significant minority has been corralled into a corner, tarred with the brush of religious fundamentalism, and brought out into the light of day only for the occasional beating by the majority.”

    “On a more general level, all people of good will must unite to expose the bioethics industry for the pretense that it is. People must never cease to demonstrate, both in academic publications and in the media, the shallow and fallacious thinking that permeates so much of what bioethicists write and say. They must insist over and over again that bioethics does not speak with a unified voice; that there are fundamental disagreements both at the level of conclusions reached and at the level of reasoning for those conclusions. The public should be made to understand that they have every right to be fearful, and never dismissed as unthinking seductees of the “yuck factor,” unable to articulate an intelligent response to the threats they justifiably see in biotechnology.
    Technology is in itself morally neutral. Biotech is no exception. It can be used for good or for evil. If it is to be used for good, it must come under far heavier regulation than it does at present. At the moment, especially in the United Kingdom, biotechnology is out of control. Its boosters and spin doctors march through the media and the journals virtually unscathed. To do
    something concrete about this requires creative action, imaginative thinking, and direct engagement. Perhaps it is too late to turn back the tide. But it is never too late to try”.


  23. kathleen says:


    Well, I really hope you manage to make it over the pond one day to discover your English heritage :-). My home is in the south east of England, but I move around a bit.
    Yesterday I spent the day in London. After a beautiful sung Mass in Westminster Cathedral I went on a Catholic Historical walk round Westminster and Pimlico led by Joanna Bogle (who you might know from EWTN) and a group of other Catholics. It is amazing how, in just this relatively small area of London, there is so much Catholic history that no one knows about…… or certainly not me beforehand anyway! People keep saying we live in a secularised society (which is true in many ways of course) but our roots are Christian….. Catholic Christian. All of Europe was founded and built upon Christian principles, and it is so sad to see this being slowly undermined and destroyed.

    The point you make above about “a human being being a human being from the moment of conception” is so self evident, that even the most radical or wily pro-abortionists have a hard time trying to cover up or deny. And try they do!


  24. ClassicalTeacher says:

    Kathleen: Thanks so much for the elucidation on bioethics. I had no idea. I guess, simply put, bioethics is anything but ethical in many instances. But, these pronouncements from such an elite and elusively scientific discipline is not easy to understand for the average person. We think, “Well, I have no idea what they’re talking about so I must be wrong in feeling that there is something wrong with what I’m hearing.” Even I, with a degree in science, have difficulty discerning much of it. My recourse is always to “err on the side of wisdom”.

    I hope to come to England before I die. My brother-in-law is from Southend on the Sea and my father and his father were from Herefordshire. My dad once told me that he was told there was a Duke somewhere in our ancestry, but he added that “it was probably a fallen duke.” He had a typical dry English sense of humor!

    What do you think is going to happen with this “after-birth abortion” evil?


  25. kathleen says:

    Kathleen: Thanks so much for the elucidation on bioethics.”Actually Classical Teacher, that was Teresa who posted that fascinating (and horrific) information ;-). However, I take the opportunity of thanking her too.

    As to your question: I really have no idea what will happen with this “after-birth abortion” evil, but we must fight it tooth and nail. Usually I’m pretty optimistic, and so I would like to say that surely such a wicked monstrous law could never be passed, but seeing the way many things are going over here, I have my doubts. Have you read the article on our blog “Peter Singer: A Synopsis of His Thoughts”……. plus the excellent comments below it? How many followers do these warped ‘thinkers‘ like him have? Perhaps it’s only a numbers game in the end.

    If every Catholic (or just every humane and ethical person) stood up against it, we might be able to avoid the coming catastrophe.

    (Herefordshire is a really beautiful couty BTW)


  26. Gertrude says:

    Indeed – Herefordshire is beautiful – you must come here!


  27. ClassicalTeacher says:

    You guys are making me want to come even more than I do! I’m afraid, though, once I’m there, I won’t want to come back! Thanks for the “thumbs up”!


  28. Pingback: After Birth Abortion (II): Cardinal Pell Comments | CatholiConnection

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