Infanticide has a long history, and several cultures have routinely practiced it for several reasons including birth control, to destroy handicapped individuals seen as unfit and to kill female children because of cultural preference for males. While Infanticide is currently considered a much bigger taboo than abortion in America, it still takes place today in the U.S. and in other countries around the world.
Kermit Gosnell Case
The grand jury report in the Kermit Gosnell case is a detailed look into the grotesque conditions to which the Philadelphia abortionist subjected women and infants. The doctor is facing murder charges in the death of one patient due to a botched abortion, and seven babies. One employee testified that hundreds of born-alive children were killed in the clinic.
Aborted Babies Born-Alive
There have been cases around the country in which children have survived abortion attempts and then were left to die. Jill Stanek, a nurse who used to work in the Chicago-area Christ Hospital, discovered in 1999 that her hospital was doing that and brought the atrocity to national attention with her witness. Stanek testified in front of the U.S. Congress that she and her colleagues witnessed many cases where children were left to die in soiled linen closets and on cold metal scales. She once held an aborted child for close to an hour while he died because the hospital refused to treat him. Michigan has addressed this issue with laws to protect infants in similar situations.
Withholding Treatment From Disabled Infants
In 1982, an infant with Down Syndrome known as Baby Doe was born in Indiana with a birth defect that was correctible with surgery. The parents agreed with the suggestion from their doctor that allowing their child to die of starvation was an acceptable "treatment." After two court cases and six days, Baby Doe died. The case touched off a debate about the treatment of disabled infants and parents' ability to withhold life-saving care from children. MORE
Partial-birth abortion can be regarded as infanticide. In this gruesome procedure, an infant is partially-born only to have her head stopped while still in the birth canal and her brains suctioned out. Many attempts have been made to ban this barbaric procedure on the state and federal levels, and many court cases have resulted. Federal law currently bans partial-birth abortion, and Michigan has a state-level ban. MORE
Bioethics and Infanticide
Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, is a well-known philospher and scholar who argues that infants do not gain full "personhood" until years after birth and may be killed if they are disabled or to prevent suffering. Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, who is critical of Singer, wrote "if he and his co-believers eventually convince society that moral value comes from possessing personhood—rather than simply in being human—and that full personhood isn’t achieved until after two years, the euthanasia of very ill and disabled babies, and even toddlers, could one day be practiced as openly as abortion is now." MORE
Michigan laws that address infanticide
Born Alive Infant Protection Act
This act addresses cases where failed late-term abortions result in children being born alive. The law ensures that newborns are afforded all of the rights of legal personhood including life-sustaining treatment or humane comfort care for those too young to survive. It provides guidelines for doctors on how to treat these children as well as punishment for doctors who fail to provide treatment. MORE
Safe Delivery of Newborns
The disturbing occurence of young mothers abandoning their newborn babies in dangerous places prompted state legislators to introduce legislation to prevent the tragic death of newborns. Michigan law allow mothers to confidentially deliver unharmed newborns up to 72 hours old to a fire department, hospital or police station, without legal repercussions for child abandonment. The mother has 28 days to petition the courts to regain custody of the newborn if she should change her mind. The newborn is placed in the home of an approved pre-adoptive family. MORE
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