"After Birth Abortion": Infanticide (Killing Babies) is Okay According to Doctors
by Rich Deem

Introduction

Two medical "ethicists" (Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva) from Australia have pronounced that infanticide (killing babies) should be allowed as a form of "after birth abortion."1 Their logic is that since abortion is allowed in virtually all cases, and since babies are no more developed than late term fetuses, that killing infants should be allowed for an unspecified period of time after birth, subject to the whim of the mother. Although your initial reaction may be shock, the doctors' conclusions follow logically from arguments commonly made in favor of unrestricted abortion. This page will examine those arguments and why the doctors are correct in coming to those conclusions. Before you email me, please also note that I believe those arguments are fatally flawed, invalidating both infanticide and abortion.

Personhood argument

The main argument for the unrestricted availability of abortion comes from what has been called the personhood argument. There can be little doubt that abortion results in the death of a human being. Although it is supported with nutrition and respiration through the mother's umbilical cord, the fetus is a genetically unique individual. Abortion kills that individual. Although abortion was originally framed as the right of a woman to do whatever she wanted with her own body, the fetus is not part of a woman's body. Having lost the scientific argument, abortion proponents have subsequently framed the argument in terms of "personhood," which is a non-scientific term that has never been fully defined.2 Even so, it is now claimed that the fetus is not a "person," so it is okay to kill it. Even so, abortion advocate Susan Sherwin gave the following as a definition of a "person":

"Persons . . . are members of a social community that shapes and values them, and personhood must be defined in terms of interactions and relationships with others."3

The definition is perfect for abortion proponents, since the fetus is not shaped nor valued by the social community. The first thing that one notices about this definition of personhood is that hermits need not apply to being considered persons. Obviously, women would be recognized as more valuable persons, since they have more "interactions and and relationships with others." Performance-based personhood suffers from numerous problems. Instead of being valued just for the fact that they are human beings, performance-based personhood says that people must be actively involved in social interactions to remain as persons. There is a history of human beings being classified as "non-persons." First, it was said that Africans were not persons, which allowed white people to enslave them and breed them like farm animals. Next, it was said that Chinese laborers were not persons, allowing them to be overworked and mistreated during the building of the railroads. Now, the latest class of human "non-persons" are preborns and newborns, and, according to the definition above, those who are invalids or in a coma. Logically, non-personhood status could be attached to the majority of homeless people, who are neither valued by society nor generally have social interactions with others.

Giubilini and Minerva define personhood in terms of the ability of a human being to value one's existence. Accordingly, they say "all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons." How do they know that infants are incapable "of attributing any value to their own existence?" Having interacted extensively with three newborns, I say with confidence that they all valued their nursing time. They also seemed to react to faces within a few days of birth. How could one objectively measure the valuing of one's existence? The authors provide no measure by which such subjective statements can be assessed. Can a one-year-old attribute value to her existence? Or a two-year-old?

Logic of infanticide

I should note that Giubilini's and Minerva's article is not just arguing that infanticide should be permitted in cases where there are severe physical disabilities, but even when "having a child can itself be an unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman." So, the claim is that infanticide should be allowed in all cases where abortion is allowed. The United States Supreme Court (See Appendix 1) has ruled abortion cannot be restricted at any point prior to fetal viability (i.e., six months) and cannot be restricted after fetal viability without an exception for the "health" of the mother. Since "health" has been broadly defined to include "mental health," abortion is legal in the United States at any point prior to birth, subject to the whim of the mother.

The doctors used the following line of logic in arguing that infanticide should be permitted in all cases:

  1. Both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons.
  2. the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant.
  3. Adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people
  4. .

    ∴ 'after-birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is.

Premise number one is defended in the article on performance-based personhood:

"If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet."1

Since newborns are no more capable of forming "aims" than fetuses, it is argued that they should be allowed to be killed. It is true that a newborn cannot form any higher level "aims," other than basic survival desires (i.e., suckling). However, I have observed a number of people who's aims are not much different than that of an infant. Should they be allowed to be killed? Ultimately, Giubilini and Minerva say that the personhood of an individual "depends on the level of her mental development, which in turn determines whether or not she is a person." The obvious problem with this definition is that allows anybody to kill an infant without actually killing a person. Attributing personhood based upon "mental development" is rather dicey, since there are individuals who have the mental development of an infant, but are valued by others. So, the authors added an exception to their personhood argument such that value of the infant attributed by the mother suddenly makes it a person. What happens when the mother no longer values her mentally-deficient 5-year-old? By Giubilini's and Minerva's definition, the mother would be allowed to kill the child. Ultimately, the authors fail to define what neurological marker of "mental development" makes a human being suddenly become a "person." In fact, they fail to cite any scientific evidence supporting the criteria for "after birth abortion."

Premise number two is defended on the basis of the non-person status of of a newborn, which was never fully established from premise one. However, Giubilini and Minerva continue their logic to establish that killing a newborn produces no harm:

"If a potential person, like a fetus and a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then there is neither an actual nor a future person who can be harmed, which means that there is no harm at all."1

In case anybody didn't notice, the argument is circular, since the killing of the baby is what prevents her from becoming a "future person." The attitude that potential persons cannot be harmed by killing them can lead to all kinds of irresponsible behavior. For example, the next generation are only potential persons (especially if they aren't even conceived yet). So, according to this logic, there would be no harm to those potential persons if we polluted the earth prior to the time at which they became actual persons. After all, they are only "potential persons." Giubilini and Minerva say that the rights of potential person are "over-ridden by the interests of actual people," even if the "rights" of those actual persons only involve the inconvenience of having to take care of a healthy newborn ("Actual people's well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child").

Premise number three, justifying execution of the child over adoption, is justified on the basis of the rights of persons vs. "potential persons." Accordingly Giubilini and Minerva argue that "...however weak the interests of actual people can be, they will always trump the alleged interest of potential people."1 They continue by suggesting that adoption might distress the mother:

"On this perspective, the interests of the actual people involved matter, and among these interests, we also need to consider the interests of the mother who might suffer psychological distress from giving her child up for adoption."1

I guess I would like to meet the mother who would be damaged more by adoption than killing her child.

One of the main problem with Giubilini's and Minerva's argument is that many of the U.S. state statutes and criminal codes do not define murder on the basis of personhood, but on the basis of just being a human being. Here is the definition of murder in the state where I live:

CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE
SECTION 187-199
187.

  1. Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
  2. This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:
    1. The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
    2. The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon's certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.
    3. The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.
  3. Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.4

One can see from this definition that murder is the malicious killing of a human being or a fetus. So in order for infanticide or "after birth abortion" to be legalized, it would be necessary to change all the state laws that define murder as the killing of a "human being" to the killing of a "person." Here is a list of states and how they define murder:

U.S. State Murder Definitions
(See Appendix 2)
Person Human Being
Alaska California
Arizona* Florida
Arkansas Georgia
Connecticut Idaho
Delaware Illinois#
Hawaii Indiana
Iowa Louisiana
Kansas Minnesota
Kentucky Mississippi
Maine Montana
Maryland Nevada
Massachusetts New Hampshire$
Michigan New Mexico
Missouri North Dakota
Nebraska Ohio
New Jersey Oklahoma
New York Oregon
North Carolina Pennsylvania
South Carolina Rhode Island
Tennessee South Dakota
Texas Washington
Utah Wisconsin
Virginia  
West Virginia  
Wyoming  

*Defines an "unborn child" as a "person"
#Uses the word "individual"
$Uses the word "another"

The interesting thing about these states' definitions of murder is that they are not divided on the basis of red or blue states. The assumption (but seldom stated) in all these statutes and criminal codes is that all human beings who are born are "persons." However, if the courts decide that personhood is performance-based, then it would be possible for them to declare infants (and others) as non-persons, allowing their execution based upon choices of their mothers or the state. If you live in one of the states on the left of the table above, you might want to try to get your legislatures to change the criminal codes for murder in your state to reflect the killing of a "human being" rather than a "person."

Sexism in the law

There are other legal problems with "after-birth abortion." In virtually all states, the father of a newborn is expected to provide support toward the care of his child. However, under the United States Supreme Court rulings (below), the father has no legal say about the fate of his unborn child. Since this paper describes an "after birth abortion," the father would have no legal say about the execution of his born child, although he would have to pay for it if the mother suffered it to live. The mother could legally kill the child just to get back at the father for some perceived wrong, simply by claiming the child would damage her mental health. Do we really want to go down that road?

How to kill a newborn?

In their paper, Giubilini and Minerva failed to define exactly how a newborn should be "aborted" after birth. You could just leave it somewhere crying, until it died of dehydration or exposure, as has been done in many late-term abortions. Or, you could use the technique of D & X abortions (so-called, "partial birth abortions") where scissors are inserted in the back of the skull to make a hole so that the brains can be sucked out by aspiration. Both these life-ending abortion techniques probably do not appeal to you when applied to a living, breathing infant. What kind of monster would agree to kill a newborn, especially if she were completely healthy? However, since she isn't really a person, should it matter how she were killed? After the execution, should the body to be buried or just discarded as "medical waste"?

Biblical perspective

Although I think a logical/scientific approach to the question of infanticide is sufficient to invalidate its use, the Bible includes several arguments that are relevant to question. First and foremost, the Bible says that one's worth is not based upon performance, but is based solely upon being a human being made in God's image:

The biblical concepts above are the inspiration for the words of the United States Declaration of Independence, which declares, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." Of course, the Bible goes beyond this in saying that all men and women are created equal.

So, according to the Bible, all human beings are created in the image of God, which is why Christians value human life from conception to natural death. The Bible is clear that God shows no partiality toward individuals5 and commands us to do likewise in our dealings with others.6 The Bible also declares that human beings are endowed with a spiritual nature even before birth,7 although it does not specify the exact point at which a fetus becomes a spiritual being. So, killing an infant or a fetus destroys a spiritual being created in the image of God—a serious crime against God.

Isolated opinion?

In case you are thinking that these are just two wacky Australians who are out-of-touch with reality, you best think again. The fact is that, amazingly enough, the article survived the peer-review process, which means that at least two other doctors thought the article was worthy of publication (three reviewed the manuscript). Why didn't they catch all the logical errors and non-quantifiable means of assessing personhood? Since the article is based almost exclusively upon personal opinion rather than science, one would think that the reviewers would have questioned at least some of the outrageous assertions. My guess is that the reviewers, in addition to the authors, accept abortion ideology without question. Not only did the reviewers accept the article, but also the editors, who justified their reasons for publishing the article.

Conclusion Top of page

Two medical doctors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, have proposed renaming infanticide to "after birth abortion," declaring that it should be legalized for an unspecified period of time after the birth of any child (including those who are perfectly healthy). Their reasoning is that the newborn has the same mental capacity as a late-term fetus (which can be killed in the United States for any reason up until the point of birth). Since a fetus is not a person according to the U.S. Supreme Court,8 it logically follows that a newborn is, likewise, not a person under the law. Giubilini and Minerva contend that the desires of actual persons supersede the rights of "potential persons," including the "right" to kill a newborn for any reason. Although not stated in the article, this would include the "right" to kill a newborn simply to get back at the child's father. Although women currently have the sole right to abort their unborn babies against the wishes of the father, allowing this to happen to the father of a newborn would be an evil that is almost too extreme to imagine. Giubilini and Minerva claim that persons must "value their existence" and be able to express "aims" in order to be classified as persons. However, they provide no scientific evidence that newborns fail this made-up test of personhood.

The logic allowing the killing of healthy newborns is exactly the same as that used to support unrestricted abortion. If you are repulsed by the idea of killing babies, but support unrestricted abortion, we suggest you examine your abortion stance more completely. Our resource, Secular Arguments Against Abortion will help you do just that. You don't need to be a religious zealot to oppose abortion. The author of this article was opposed to abortion when he was an atheist, as do other atheists.



U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Abortion (Appendix 1)

Roe v. Wade (United States Supreme Court, 1973)

Jane Roe (a.k.a. Norma McCorvey), of Texas, claimed to have become pregnant as a result of a rape. (In 1987, she admitted that she lied about being raped). Two female lawyers enlisted her aid to test the 100-year old Texas law banning abortion. They filed a class action lawsuit and won, but not in time to secure an abortion for their client who gave birth to a daughter and placed her for adoption. The case made its way to the United States Supreme Court. On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court, in two separate decisions (Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton), invented a woman's "right to abortion" (which is not specified in our U.S. Constitution) based on a "right to privacy." Roe mandated a policy commonly known as "abortion on demand," according to these guidelines:

  1. The First Trimester: The Court held that during the first 3 months, the decision to abort must be completely left to the judgment of the pregnant woman and her doctor. The State cannot interfere with the abortion decision at all.
  2. The Second Trimester: The State cannot protect the fetus. The State may promote its interest in the health of the mother, if it so chooses, by regulating the abortion procedure in ways that are "reasonably related to maternal health," i.e., qualifications of abortionist and type of facility.
  3. The Third Trimester: The State may, if it chooses, regulate and even forbid abortion to protect a viable fetus, except where it is necessary for the preservation of the "health" or the life of the mother.

Doe v. Bolton (United States Supreme Court, 1973)

In the companion case, Doe, the Court stated that the health of the mother includes: "physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age." In other words, "health" essentially means that any stress upon a pregnant woman justifies an abortion because such factors relate to her complete well-being.

In essence, these two decisions gave American women the right to confidential abortion on demand up to the moment of birth. The particularly chilling aspect of the 1973 decisions was that the humanity of the preborn child was purposefully ignored. The Court held that the preborn human is not a person,8 therefore not deserving of any protection from the government.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey (United States Supreme Court, 1992)

The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed a woman's right to end pregnancy in early stages and made it clear that a total ban on abortion would be found unconstitutional. The Court explicitly reaffirmed Roe v. Wade by a five to four decision. (O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Blackmun and Stevens for Roe; Rehnquist, White Scalia and Thomas against Roe).

Under this decision, abortion is still legal for any reason from conception to birth - and the broad "health" definition for post-viability abortions is still the law. However, the court did reformulate the legal rationale of Roe. Instead of the trimester framework, a new "bimester" framework had been established, with viability the dividing line.

The court also created the "undue burden" test for reviewing abortion legislation. The test will look to see whether the abortion regulation's "purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability." While this standard still prevents states from prohibiting abortions before viability, laws that attempt to persuade women from aborting can be passed. A majority of the Court upheld most of the regulations of the Pennsylvania Control Act, including the legality of Informed Consent, 24-hour Waiting Period, Parental Consent and Reporting Requirements. The court, however, struck down spousal notification.


Murder Statutes—All 50 States (Appendix 2)

Alabama:

Section 13A-6-2 - Murder.
  (a) A person commits the crime of murder if he or she does any of the following:
      (1) With intent to cause the death of another person, he or she causes the death of that person or of another person.

Alaska:

Title 11. Chapter 41 Section 100. Murder in the First Degree.
AS 11.41.100. Murder in the First Degree.
  (a) A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if
     (1) with intent to cause the death of another person, the person
         (A) causes the death of any person; or
         (B) compels or induces any person to commit suicide through duress or deception;

Arizona:

13-1105. First degree murder; classification
  A. A person commits first degree murder if:
     1. Intending or knowing that the person's conduct will cause death, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation or, as a result of causing the death of another person with premeditation, causes the death of an unborn child.

Arkansas:

Title 5 - Criminal Offenses, Subtitle 2 - Offenses Against The Person, Chapter 10 - Homicide
5-10-101 - Capital murder.
(a) A person commits capital murder if:
  (1) Acting alone or with one (1) or more other persons:
     (A) The person commits or attempts to commit:
         (i) Terrorism, as defined in 5-54-205;
         (ii) Rape, 5-14-103;
         (iii) Kidnapping, 5-11-102;
         (iv) Vehicular piracy, 5-11-105;
         (v) Robbery, 5-12-102;
         (vi) Aggravated robbery, 5-12-103;
         (vii) Residential burglary, 5-39-201(a);
         (viii) Commercial burglary, 5-39-201(b);
         (ix) Aggravated residential burglary, 5-39-204;
         (x) A felony violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, 5-64-101 -- 5-64-508, involving an actual delivery of a controlled substance; or
         (xi) First degree escape, 5-54-110; and
     (B) In the course of and in furtherance of the felony or in immediate flight from the felony, the person or an accomplice causes the death of a person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;

Connecticut:

Title 53a, Chapter 952: Offenses
Sec. 53a-54a. Murder.
  (a) A person is guilty of murder when, with intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person or causes a suicide by force, duress or deception; except that in any prosecution under this subsection, it shall be an affirmative defense that the defendant committed the proscribed act or acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be, provided nothing contained in this subsection shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for, or preclude a conviction of, manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime.

Delaware:

Delaware Code - Section 636: MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE; CLASS A FELONY
  (a) A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when:
     (1) The person intentionally causes the death of another person;
     (2) While engaged in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any felony, the person recklessly causes the death of another person.

Florida:

Florida Code - CRIMES HOMICIDE Chapter 782
782.04  Murder.
  (1)(a)  The unlawful killing of a human being:
     1.  When perpetrated from a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being;

Georgia:

Georgia Code
Title 16, Chapter 5, Article 1. Homicide
O.C.G.A. 16-5-1 Murder; felony murder
  (a) A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being.

Hawaii:

Hawaii Statutes - Section 707-701.5: Murder in the second degree.
  (1) Except as provided in section 707-701, a person commits the offense of murder in the second degree if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person.
  (2) Murder in the second degree is a felony for which the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment as provided in section 706-656. [L 1986, c 314, 50]

Idaho:

Title 18, Chapter 40 Homicide
  18-4001. Murder defined. Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being including, but not limited to, a human embryo or fetus, with malice aforethought or the intentional application of torture to a human being, which results in the death of a human being. Torture is the intentional infliction of extreme and prolonged pain with the intent to cause suffering. It shall also be torture to inflict on a human being extreme and prolonged acts of brutality irrespective of proof of intent to cause suffering. The death of a human being caused by such torture is murder irrespective of proof of specific intent to kill; torture causing death shall be deemed the equivalent of intent to kill.

Illinois:

(720 ILCS 5/9-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 9-1)
    Sec. 9-1. First degree Murder - Death penalties - Exceptions - Separate Hearings - Proof - Findings - Appellate procedures - Reversals.
    (a) A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits first degree murder if, in performing the acts which cause the death:
        (1) he either intends to kill or do great bodily harm to that individual or another, or knows that such acts will cause death to that individual or another; or
        (2) he knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another; or
        (3) he is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than second degree murder.

Indiana:

IC 35-42-1-1 Murder
Sec. 1. A person who:
  (1) knowingly or intentionally kills another human being;
  (2) kills another human being while committing or attempting to commit arson, burglary, child molesting, consumer product tampering, criminal deviate conduct, kidnapping, rape, robbery, human trafficking, promotion of human trafficking, sexual trafficking of a minor, or carjacking;

Iowa:

707.1 MURDER DEFINED.
  A person who kills another person with malice aforethought either express or implied commits murder.
707.2 MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
  A person commits murder in the first degree when the person commits murder under any of the following circumstances:
     1. The person willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation kills another person.

Kansas:

Chapter 21: Crimes And Punishments, Part II.--Prohibited Cconduct, Article 34: Crimes Against Persons
 
Statute 21-3401: Murder in the first degree.
     Murder in the first degree is the killing of a human being committed:
       (a)   Intentionally and with premeditation; or
       (b)   in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from an inherently dangerous felony as defined in K.S.A. 21-3436 and amendments thereto.

Kentucky:

507.020 Murder.
  (1) A person is guilty of murder when:
     (a) With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; except that in any prosecution a person shall not be guilty under this subsection if he acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. However, nothing contained in this section shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for or preclude a conviction of manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime;

Louisiana:

RS 14:30 First degree murder
  A.  First degree murder is the killing of a human being:
     (1) When the offender has specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm and is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, aggravated arson, aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, assault by drive-by shooting, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, terrorism, cruelty to juveniles, or second degree cruelty to juveniles.

Maine:

Title 17-A: Maine criminal code, part 2: Substantive offenses, Chapter 9: Offenses against the person
202. Felony murder
  1. A person is guilty of felony murder if acting alone or with one or more other persons in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or immediate flight after committing or attempting to commit, murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault, or escape, the person or another participant in fact causes the death of a human being, and the death is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of such commission, attempt or flight.

Maryland:

Maryland Criminal Law Section 2-201
  (a) A murder is in the first degree if it is:
     (1) a deliberate, premeditated, and willful killing;
     (2) committed by lying in wait;
     (3) committed by poison; or
     (4) committed in the perpetration of or an attempt to perpetrate:
         (i) arson in the first degree;
         (ii) burning a barn, stable, tobacco house, warehouse, or other outbuilding that:
             1.      is not parcel to a dwelling; and
             2.      contains cattle, goods, wares, merchandise, horses, grain, hay, or tobacco;
         (iii) burglary in the first, second, or third degree;
         (iv) carjacking or armed carjacking;
         (v) escape in the first degree from a State correctional facility or a local correctional facility;
         (vi) kidnapping under 3-502 or 3-503(a)(2) of this article;
         (vii) mayhem;
         (viii) rape;
         (ix) robbery under 3-402 or 3-403 of this article;
         (x) sexual offense in the first or second degree;
         (xi) sodomy; or
         (xii) a violation of 4-503 of this article concerning destructive devices.

Massachusetts:

General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 265 Crimes Against the Person. - Section 1 Murder defined
Section 1. Murder committed with deliberately premeditated malice aforethought, or with extreme atrocity or cruelty, or in the commission or attempted commission of a crime punishable with death or imprisonment for life, is murder in the first degree. Murder which does not appear to be in the first degree is murder in the second degree. Petit treason shall be prosecuted and punished as murder. The degree of murder shall be found by the jury.

Michigan:

Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931
750.316 First degree murder; penalty; definition
Sec. 316.
  (1) A person who commits any of the following is guilty of first degree murder and shall be punished by imprisonment for life:
     (a) Murder perpetrated by means of poison, lying in wait, or any other willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing.
     (b) Murder committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third degree, child abuse in the first degree, a major controlled substance offense, robbery, carjacking, breaking and entering of a dwelling, home invasion in the first or second degree, larceny of any kind, extortion, kidnapping, vulnerable adult abuse in the first and second degree under section 145n, torture under section 85, or aggravated stalking under section 411i.

Minnesota:

609.185 Murder in the first degree.
  (a) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of murder in the first degree and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life:
     (1) causes the death of a human being with premeditation and with intent to effect the death of the person or of another;
     (2) causes the death of a human being while committing or attempting to commit criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence, either upon or affecting the person or another;

Mississippi:

SEC. 97-3-19. Homicide; murder defined; capital murder; lesser-included offenses.
  (1)  The killing of a human being without the authority of law by any means or in any manner shall be murder in the following cases:
      (a)  When done with deliberate design to effect the death of the person killed, or of any human being;

Missouri:

Chapter 565, Offenses Against the Person, Section 565.020
  First degree murder, penalty--person under sixteen years of age not to receive death penalty.
  565.020.
    1. A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if he knowingly causes the death of another person after deliberation upon the matter.
    2. Murder in the first degree is a class A felony, and the punishment shall be either death or imprisonment for life without eligibility for probation or parole, or release except by act of the governor; except that, if a person has not reached his sixteenth birthday at the time of the commission of the crime, the punishment shall be imprisonment for life without eligibility for probation or parole, or release except by act of the governor.

Montana:

Montana Code - Section 45-5-102: Deliberate homicide
  (1) A person commits the offense of deliberate homicide if:
     (a) the person purposely or knowingly causes the death of another human being; or
     (b) the person attempts to commit, commits, or is legally accountable for the attempt or commission of robbery, sexual intercourse without consent, arson, burglary, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, felonious escape, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault, or any other forcible felony and in the course of the forcible felony or flight thereafter, the person or any person legally accountable for the crime causes the death of another human being.

Nebraska:

Nebraska Code - Section 28-303 Murder in the first degree; penalty.
A person commits murder in the first degree if he or she kills another person (1) purposely and with deliberate and premeditated malice, or (2) in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate any sexual assault in the first degree, arson, robbery, kidnapping, hijacking of any public or private means of transportation, or burglary, or (3) by administering poison or causing the same to be done; or if by willful and corrupt perjury or subornation of the same he or she purposely procures the conviction and execution of any innocent person. The determination of whether murder in the first degree shall be punished as a Class I or Class IA felony shall be made pursuant to sections 29-2519 to 29-2524.

Nevada:

NRS 200.010  "Murder" defined.  Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being:
   1.  With malice aforethought, either express or implied;

New Hampshire:

TITLE LXII CRIMINAL CODE, CHAPTER 630, HOMICIDE
Section 630:1-a First Degree Murder.
  I. A person is guilty of murder in the first degree if he:
    (a) Purposely causes the death of another; or

New Jersey:

NJSA 2C:11-3, 2C:11-3. Murder.
  a. Except as provided in N.J.S.2C:11-4, criminal homicide constitutes murder when:
     (1) The actor purposely causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death; or
     (2) The actor knowingly causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death; or
     (3) It is committed when the actor, acting either alone or with one or more other persons, is engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking, criminal escape or terrorism pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-2), and in the course of such crime or of immediate flight therefrom, any person causes the death of a person other than one of the participants; except that in any prosecution under this subsection, in which the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant:

New Mexico:
New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 30: Criminal Offenses, Article 2: Homicide
Section 30-2-1: Murder.
A. Murder in the first degree is the killing of one human being by another without lawful justification or excuse, by any of the means with which death may be caused:
(1) by any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing;
(2) in the commission of or attempt to commit any felony; or
(3) by any act greatly dangerous to the lives of others, indicating a depraved mind regardless of human life.

New York:

N.Y. PEN. LAW 125.27 : NY Code - Section 125.27: Murder in the first degree
A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when:
1. With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; and

North Carolina:

SUBCHAPTER III. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON.
Article 6.
Homicide.
14-17. Murder in the first and second degree defined; punishment.
A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon of mass destruction as defined in G.S. 14-288.21, poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A-2000, except that any such person who was under 18 years of age at the time of the murder shall be punished with imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole.

North Dakota:

Title 12.1 > Chapter 12.1-16 > 12.1-16-01 - Murder
1. A person is guilty of murder, a class AA felony, if the person:
a. Intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another human being;
b. Causes the death of another human being under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or

Ohio:

Chapter 2903: HOMICIDE AND ASSAULT
2903.01 Aggravated murder.
(A) No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.
(B) No person shall purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy while committing or attempting to commit, or while fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit, kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, terrorism, or escape.

Oklahoma:

Title 21. Crimes and Punishments
Chapter 24 - Homicide
Murder
Section 701.7 - Murder in the First Degree
A. A person commits murder in the first degree when that person unlawfully and with malice aforethought causes the death of another human being. Malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a human being, which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof.

Oregon:
163.005
Criminal homicide
(1) A person commits criminal homicide if, without justification or excuse, the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence causes the death of another human being.
(2) Criminal homicide is murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide.

Pennsylvania:
2501. Criminal homicide.
(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another human being.
(b) Classification.--Criminal homicide shall be classified as murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.

Rhode Island:

TITLE 11
Criminal Offenses
CHAPTER 11-23
Homicide
SECTION 11-23-1
11-23-1 Murder. The unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought is murder. Every murder perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing, or committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson or any violation of 11-4-2, 11-4-3, or 11-4-4, rape, any degree of sexual assault or child molestation, burglary or breaking and entering, robbery, kidnapping, or committed during the course of the perpetration, or attempted perpetration, of felony manufacture, sale, delivery, or other distribution of a controlled substance otherwise prohibited by the provisions of chapter 28 of title 21, or committed against any law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duty or committed against an assistant attorney general or special assistant attorney general in the performance of his or her duty, or perpetrated from a premeditated design unlawfully and maliciously to effect the death of any human being other than him or her who is killed, is murder in the first degree. Any other murder is murder in the second degree. The degree of murder may be charged in the indictment or information, and the jury may find the degree of murder, whether the murder is charged in the indictment or information or not, or may find the defendant guilty of a lesser offense than that charged in the indictment or information, in accordance with the provisions of 12-17-14.

South Carolina:

Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
CHAPTER 3.
OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON
ARTICLE 1.
HOMICIDE
SECTION 16-3-5. Person causing injury which results in death at least three years later not to be prosecuted for homicide.
A person who causes bodily injury which results in the death of the victim is not criminally responsible for the victim's death and must not be prosecuted for a homicide offense if at least three years intervene between the injury and the death of the victim.
HISTORY: 2001 Act No. 97, Section 1.
SECTION 16-3-10. "Murder" defined.
"Murder" is the killing of any person with malice aforethought, either express or implied.

South Dakota:

22-16-1. Homicide defined. Homicide is the killing of one human being, including an unborn child, by another. Homicide is either:
(1) Murder;
(2) Manslaughter;
(3) Excusable homicide;
(4) Justifiable homicide; or
(5) Vehicular homicide.

Tennessee:

Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 13 - Offenses Against Person
Part 2 - Criminal Homicide
39-13-202 - First degree murder.
(a) First degree murder is:
(1) A premeditated and intentional killing of another;

Texas:

TITLE 5. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON
CHAPTER 19. CRIMINAL HOMICIDE
Sec. 19.01. TYPES OF CRIMINAL HOMICIDE. (a) A person commits criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes the death of an individual.
(b) Criminal homicide is murder, capital murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide.

Utah:

Title 76
Utah Criminal Code
Chapter 5 Offenses Against the Person
Section 202 Aggravated murder.
76-5-202. Aggravated murder.
(1) Criminal homicide constitutes aggravated murder if the actor intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another under any of the following circumstances:

Vermont:

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Chapter 53: HOMICIDE
13 V.S.A. 2301. Murder-Degrees defined
2301. Murder-Degrees defined
Murder committed by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by wilful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or committed in perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate arson, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or burglary, shall be murder in the first degree. All other kinds of murder shall be murder in the second degree. (Amended 1983, No. 28, 1.)

Virginia:

18.2-31. Capital murder defined; punishment.
The following offenses shall constitute capital murder, punishable as a Class 1 felony:
1. The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person in the commission of abduction, as defined in 18.2-48, when such abduction was committed with the intent to extort money or a pecuniary benefit or with the intent to defile the victim of such abduction;

Washington:

RCW 9A.32.010
Homicide defined.
Homicide is the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or omission of another, death occurring at any time, and is either (1) murder, (2) homicide by abuse, (3) manslaughter, (4) excusable homicide, or (5) justifiable homicide.

West Virginia:

CHAPTER 61. CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT.
ARTICLE 2. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON.
61-2-1. First and second degree murder defined; allegations in indictment for homicide.
Murder by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, or by any willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or in the commission of, or attempt to commit, arson, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, breaking and entering, escape from lawful custody, or a felony offense of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance as defined in article four, chapter sixty-a of this code, is murder of the first degree. All other murder is murder of the second degree.

Wisconsin:

940.01 First-degree intentional homicide.
(1) Offenses.
(a) Except as provided in sub. (2), whoever causes the death of another human being with intent to kill that person or another is guilty of a Class A felony.

Wyoming:

CHAPTER 2 - OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON
ARTICLE 1 - HOMICIDE
6-2-101. Murder in the first degree; penalty.
(a) Whoever purposely and with premeditated malice, or in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, arson, robbery, burglary, escape, resisting arrest, kidnapping or abuse of a child under the age of sixteen (16) years, kills any human being is guilty of murder in the first degree.


References Top of page

  1. Alberto Giubilini, Francesca Minerva. 2012. After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100411.
  2. "Whether or not abortion should be legal turns on the answer to the question of whether and at what point a fetus is a person. This is a question that cannot be answered logically or empirically. The concept of personhood is neither logical nor empirical: It is essentially a religious, or quasi-religious idea, based on one's fundamental (and therefore unverifiable) assumptions about the nature of the world." Paul Campos, professor of law at the University of Colorado ("Opinions: PAUL CAMPOS: Abortion and the rule of law," Scripps Howard News Service, January 23, 2002, at http://www.nandotimes.com).
  3. Susan Sherwin. 2009. "Abortion through a Feminist Ethics Lens" in Ethical Issues: Perspectives for Canadians. Ed. Soifer, Eldon. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, p. 238.
  4. CA Codes (pen:187-199).
  5. God shows no partiality:
    • "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
    • Who shows no partiality to princes Nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the work of His hands? (Job 34:19)
    • And they *sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. (Matthew 22:16)
    • They *came and *said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? (Mark 12:14)
    • They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. (Luke 20:21)
    • Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (Acts 10:34)
    • For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:11)
    • But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. (Galatians 2:6)
    • And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)
    • For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. (Colossians 3:25)
    • If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; (1 Peter 1:17)
  6. Christians are not to show partiality:
    • nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute. (Exodus 23:3)
    • 'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus 19:15)
    • 'You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God's. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.' (Deuteronomy 1:17)
    • "You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. (Deuteronomy 16:19)
    • "Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe." (2 Chronicles 19:7)
    • "He will surely reprove you If you secretly show partiality. (Job 13:10)
    • "Let me now be partial to no one, Nor flatter any man. (Job 32:21)
    • How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. (Psalms 82:2)
    • To show partiality to the wicked is not good, Nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment. (Proverbs 18:5)
    • These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good. (Proverbs 24:23)
    • To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. (Proverbs 28:21)
    • I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. (1 Timothy 5:21)
    • But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:9)
  7. Prophets called from the womb:
    • Samson:
      Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. "But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'" (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)
    • Jesus (prophecy):
      • Listen to Me, O islands, And pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me. (Isaiah 49:1)
      • And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), (Isaiah 49:5)
      • Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breasts. Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother's womb. (Psalm 22:9-10)
    • Jeremiah:

    • "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)
    • John the Baptist:

    • "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb." (Luke 1:15)
    • Paul:

    • But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased (Galatians 1:15)
  8. "All this, together with our observation, supra, that throughout the major portion of the 19th century prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word 'person,' as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn." ROE v. WADE, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

http://godandscience.org/doctrine/infanticide_baby_killing.html
Last Modified April 12, 2012

 

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