Infant Exceptionalism

First Things | 7/21/2017 | Wesley J. Smith
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The Charlie Gard tragedy has renewed public advocacy for legalizing infanticide. Writing in the New York Times earlier this month, Gary Comstock recounted the tragic death of his son, Sam, who was born with a terminal genetic condition. Many years later, Comstock believes that his son should have been killed instead of being taken off of life support:

It seems the medical community has few options to offer parents of newborns likely to die. We can leave our babies on respirators and hope for the best. Or remove the hose and watch the child die a tortured death. Shouldn’t we have another choice? Shouldn’t we be allowed the swift humane option afforded the owners of dogs, a lethal dose of a painkiller?

Years - Thought - Morning - Minutes - Repugnant

For years you repress the thought. Then, early one morning, remembering again those last minutes, you realize that the repugnant has become reasonable. The unthinkable has become the right, the good. Painlessly. Quickly. With the assistance of a trained physician.

You should have killed your baby.

Comstock - Grief - Emotion - Principles - Exceptionalism

We should empathize with Comstock in his grief. But emotion must not tempt us to reject the venerable principles of human exceptionalism. Babies—even those with dire prospects—are precious human beings whose lives have intrinsic dignity and inherent moral value beyond that of any nonhuman.

Acceptance of Comstock’s premise—that parents should kill babies who are “likely to die”—would be culturally catastrophic. It would lead to the legalization of murder. At Nuremberg, the German infanticide program was deemed a crime against humanity. Let’s not abandon that wisdom.

Death - Son - Comstock - Advocacy - Comstock

The death of his son is not the only motive driving Comstock’s advocacy. Comstock is a moral philosopher who rejects human exceptionalism and embraces animal rights and transhumanism. From his webpage:

Comstock’s current project explores the central dogma of the humanities, that humans are singular among and superior to other life forms, a belief...
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