Several days ago, The Journal of Medical Ethics, which is an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics, published a new article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. In this paper, Giubilini and Minerva advance four major lines of argument, regarding the right of societies to abort newly born infants:
- As a society, we have endorsed the moral acceptability of abortion even in circumstances where the fetus’ health is not at risk.
- Because the fetus and the newborn infant both lack cognitive awareness, they do not share the same moral status as actual persons.
- Any potential to develop into an actual person is irrelevant as their current cognitive development does not permit them to understand their own potential and thus they are not capable of experiencing a sense of loss in terms of their own future potential.
- Adoption is “not always in the best interest of actual people.”
Therefore, Giubilini and Minerva find themselves in the position of advocating a stance long held by highly influential Peter Singer, who is most famous for once having argued:
“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.”
So what do you think? Is there a moral difference between aborting a fetus in utero and taking the life of a newborn infant? And if so, what is that difference?
 Peter Singer is an animal rights activist who serves as the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and the Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne.
 Singer, Peter, Practical Ethics (Cambridge University Press, London: 2011). This book was first published in 1979.