Culture, Science & Faith

No, Peter Singer — All People Have Inherent Worth

The Princeton bioethicist says Down Syndrome babies should be aborted.

Allyne Caan · Mar. 2, 2017

Even as Hollywood turned Sunday’s Oscars into a political pulpit to denounce supposed “inhumane” immigration policies, a real inhumanity went unchallenged.

It’s the inhumanity that sees some humans as worse than pigs and advocates brutally killing them by the most torturous methods, including chemically burning them alive, tearing them limb from limb, and even decapitating them.

If you think this refers to the barbarism of the Islamic State, think again — although the resemblance is strong. But no, this barbarism comes from Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer.

In recent statements published in the Journal of Practical Ethics, Singer suggested individuals with Down Syndrome are intellectually inferior to dogs or pigs and, therefore, their lives are worth less than “normal” human beings. “Most people think that the life of a dog or a pig is of less value than the life of a normal human being,” he says, “On what basis, then, could they hold that the life of a profoundly intellectually disabled human being with intellectual capacities inferior to those of a dog or a pig is of equal value to the life of a normal human being?”

Singer’s statements came in response to the question of why he and his wife would give their baby up for adoption if that baby had Down syndrome. He writes: “For me, the knowledge that my child would not be likely to develop into a person whom I could treat as an equal, in every sense of the word … would greatly reduce my joy in raising my child and watching him or her develop.”

Did you catch that? “Develop into a person whom I could treat as an equal.” To Singer, the concept of innate equality is non-existent. We “earn” (or fail to “earn”) equality based on factors such as intelligence or our ability to contribute to society (said contributions being judged by Singer, of course). The whole “all men are created equal” thing means nothing to this supposed Ivy League ethicist.

While Singer’s answer may have been framed against a question of adoption, this is the same Peter Singer who openly endorsed so-called “after-birth abortion” — or, put more honestly, infanticide. As The Washington Times reported in 2015, Singer argued on his faculty page: “Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do. It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents.” Singer went on to say that if parents want to kill their newborn due to a disability, they should be able to do so “not only by withholding or withdrawing life support … but also by taking active steps to end the baby’s life swiftly and humanely.”

His irony in using the word “humanely” should not escape us. Well-documented are the cases of babies born alive during abortions and then summarily killed by, for example, snapping their spines, stabbing their skulls or suffocating them.

Such atrocities are not confined to Islamic State videos.

Of course, abortion itself is the jihad of the West. Every day, preborn babies are torn limb from limb because they are viewed as second-class humans — if even that much. Some babies are even literally burned alive by chemical solution inside the uterus.

In Singer’s world of ethics, infants born naturally yet unwanted by their parents due to a supposed “disability” would no doubt meet similarly brutal fates.

Contrast this view with the experience of a mother of a child with Down syndrome, who wrote of Singer, “Just as there are people who lack the capacity to appreciate any music (Milton Friedman, for instance, was one of them), there are people with the far more serious lack of capacity to appreciate the worth of other human beings. The music of humanity that most of us hear is just noise to them. So it is with Singer.”

For years, Singer has attempted to twist the world of ethics to present the brutal slaughter of pre-born — and even post-born — infants as acceptable and even “humane.” But his arguments lack logic and his conclusions are void of truth. Humaneness of any kind is absent in abortion. Indeed, abortion is the antithesis of humane.

In 2015, Singer penned a piece on countering Islamic extremism in which he wrote, “There is a vast moral difference between those who oppose the taking of innocent human life and those who kill people because of their nationality, or what they say, or because they are ‘apostates.’”

What, then, Mr. Singer, is the difference between killing people because they are “apostates” and killing them simply because they don’t meet your arbitrary standard of value?

The answer: There is none.

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