In January 2012, the Journal of Medical Ethics published a controversial article suggesting that the reasons that support legalized abortion should also be invoked to permit infanticide, something the authors refer to as after-birth abortion. More recently, an American physician was convicted of murder, and now faces the death penalty, for infanticides that he defended as abortions.
The original Journal of Medical Ethics article generated an outcry of opposition from physicians, philosophers, and even on the floor of the United States Congress. The journal’s editor, Julian Savulescu, issued a statement defending the article’s publication, while also affirming his own opposition to infanticide. Now, the journal has released a special edition on the debate, which includes both pro-choice and pro-life responses. For the next month, access to the special edition is free.
Also available is a brief but engaging interview with Nigel Biggar on the topic, conducted by the BBC’s David Edmunds. Download directly from the JME or listen here:
Finally, the issue includes an exchange between Charles Camosy, former McDonald Visiting Fellow, and Princeton’s Robert George—both of whom oppose abortion under any circumstances, but who disagree about how best to engage those who differ. The question of how best to make the public case for or against abortion waspreviously addressed on this site by the McDonald Centre’s John Perry.
Humans have always sought to enhance themselves and their performance. Examples include education, the drinking of coffee, and the choice of reproductive partners whose genes are perceived to be desirable. But now, and increasingly, technology allows for enhancement of a kind and to a degree that call into question the definition of an individual and the relationship of ‘enhanced’ persons to ‘non-enhanced’ persons and to society generally. If person X takes a substance that increases his IQ by 100 points still person X? If the enhancing substance is not available to everyone, what are the political consequences? Is there anything wrong with the use of performance enhancers in sport? What about drugs that improve performance in university examinations? Is it desirable or practicable to ban enhancements of all types? These and related questions will be addressed by some of the world’s most eminent experts in the field, including Julian Savulescu, Nick Bostrom, David Jones, Guy Goodwin, and Charles Foster.
When: 23rd November 2011, 6-8pm
Where: Abraham Lecture Theatre, Green Templeton College, Oxford
Registration: All welcome. No need to register, no charge. Enquiries to Charles Foster