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Moral Supremacy: A New Assault on Life Itself by Sven R. Larson

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Essay

Moral Supremacy: A New Assault on Life Itself

Five hundred years ago, the Incas in today’s Andes Mountains sacrificed children to please the gods. The Aztecs of northern Mexico were prolific in sacrificing humans; in China, the practice goes back as far as 4,000 years. There are suggestions that Stonehenge in England was used for this purpose.

Today, the sacrifice of human beings is rightly considered to be morally repugnant. 

Yet as we speak, the killing of babies, up to birth and beyond, is gradually becoming legal again. Proponents of unlimited abortions are on the offense and are now joined by lawmakers who want to legalize infanticide. 

If they get what they want, two U.S. states will soon make it legal for parents to kill their newborn babies—and to do so for any reason they choose.

The bills promoting infanticide would not even be considered serious if it wasn’t for the latest chapter in abortion advocacy. The legislature in the U.S. state of Colorado passed a bill that bans all restrictions, including time limits, on abortion. Shortly afterwards, on April 4th, it was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis.

It is important to identify the nuance that this bill adds to a mother’s right to kill her baby in the womb. A total of eight states, including Colorado, already permit abortions without time limits. However, the new Colorado law explicitly bans the legislature from introducing any limits on abortion in the future. 

In other words, if the legislature at some point would like to limit abortions, they would not be legally permitted to pass those limits into law. They would first have to repeal this law.

The Colorado law is part of a broad-based war on the very value foundation upon which our civilization is built. Among the driving forces behind this war of values is the World Health Organization. In its past Sunday edition (March 26th), British newspaper Daily Mail explains that the WHO

is calling on governments to scrap the legal time limit on abortion, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. New guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) claim laws preventing abortion at any point during pregnancy risk violating the right of ‘women, girls or other pregnant persons.’ 

Again, the point here is not just to let abortion be unrestricted, but to make it as difficult as possible to impose restrictions in the future. 

The WHO report cited by the Daily Mail is interesting because it provides a range of arguments that abortionists use for up-to-birth abortions. In a comprehensive literature review, they conclude that so-called “gestational limits” on abortions

  • “contribute to continuation of pregnancy among women with cognitive impairment” (Suppl. material section 1, p. 117);
  • increase “opportunity costs for women with pregnancies complicated by fetal anomalies”, e.g., “increased financial costs” or “lower quality of life” (p.119); and
  • restrict “women’s access to abortion and place additional stress on abortion seekers” (p.119).

As if to solidify the dehumanization of human life, the report refers to a pregnancy as a “gestation period.” 

The literature review is also a catalog of arguments for moral supremacy, i.e., the right of one person to judge the quality of another person’s life—and to use that judgment as a reason to act against the other person.

In its most reprehensible form, moral supremacy condones the weighing of a baby’s life against the quality of life of its mother’s. The unspoken assumption is that the mother’s quality of life is worsened by giving birth to a baby; that the baby’s happiness is the mother’s misery.

Legal protection of unrestricted abortion allows a mother to terminate her pregnancy if she feels that her happiness can only guaranteed by the death of her baby. As unbelievable as it may seem, that same morally supremacist argument is also being used to advocate legal infanticide. 

Yes, that’s right. Some abortion proponents are trying to extend the moral supremacy of the mother beyond the birth of her child. What has not been killed in the womb may soon be a legal target after birth. 

This war on the very core values of our civilization reached a depraved milestone in 2013 when the Journal of Medical Ethics published the infamous article “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” The authors, philosophers Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, argued that whatever reasons make abortion legal, also make it morally approvable to kill a baby after birth. 

Giubilini and Minerva call it a “serious philosophical problem” that the born baby has a right to life that the unborn baby does not:

[We] need to assess facts in order to decide whether the same arguments that apply to killing a human fetus can also be consistently applied to killing a newborn human.

Their conclusion is affirmative: it is morally justified to commit infanticide. 

Since then, the “problem” has become more than just “philosophical.” A legislative bill in the U.S. state of Maryland would make it legal for a parent to let his or her baby starve to death. Or to leave the child for hours in a car on a sunny day.

The bill, introduced in the Maryland State Senate as SB669, makes it illegal for law enforcement

to authorize any form of investigation or penalty for a person … experiencing a miscarriage, perinatal death related to a failure to act, or stillbirth.

The key words here, of course, are “perinatal” and “failure to act.” The former refers to a period of time after the baby has been born; the latter specifies that so long as you neglect your baby to death—as opposed to actively killing it—your actions are perfectly legal. 

As for the time frame within which kill-by-neglect would be lawful, Olivia Summers, writing for the American Center for Law and Justice, points to the medical definition of “perinatal” as a period up to 28 days after the baby is born. Within that time frame, the undefined “failure to act” formulation offers parents a wide range of choices as to how to kill their child. It has to be a passive method, though; shooting, stabbing, strangling or beating the child to death likely won’t pass as “failure to act.” 

Meanwhile, it continues to be illegal to neglect one’s pet to death. 

Outrageous as the Maryland bill is, some lawmakers in California have decided to show even deeper contempt for the life of newborn babies. Wesley J. Smith, a pro-life champion and senior fellow with the Discovery Institute, reports on a new bill that would legalize the same methods of killing a child. It would also stretch out the period for legal infanticide to six weeks. 

The key term, Smith points out, is “postpartum care,” which the California bill uses alongside the term “perinatal.” The “postpartum” period, he explains, “includes the six-week period after childbirth up to the mother’s postpartum check-up with a health care provider.”

It is almost impossible for any person with a normal moral compass to fathom that there are other human beings out there, with influence over our laws, who would want to make it legal to kill a child. Yet this is precisely what is happening; it is incumbent upon the silent majority to speak up and defend the inner sanctum of our civilization. 

To do so, we need to be able to rationalize how the life-hating moral supremacist thinks. If we want to stop this deliberate assault on the very core of our civilization; if we want to remain on the right side of moral barbarism; we must quell our immediate, repulsive reaction to moral supremacy. Only by exposing the reprehensible logic behind his arguments can we expose the supremacist for who he is.

To do so, we must first understand how the moral supremacist arrives at the idea that a newborn baby should be deprived of its right to life. Their tool is as simple as it is chilling: he separates “life” from “person.” The supremacist acknowledges that the newborn baby is alive, but it is not considered a person. 

By means of this separation of life and personhood, the moral supremacist accomplishes two things. First, he makes moot any counter-argument that life begins at conception. He can even agree with anyone who suggests this as the natural, obvious definition of the beginning of life; since the baby is not a person, it is not deserving of the protection that other human beings enjoy. (And, presumably, the supremacist’s cat.)

Second, the moral supremacist drives a dagger through the very notion that our rights, including the right to life, are given to us by God. Since personhood is now separate from life, and since government defines personhood by means of legislation, government now has full jurisdiction over our rights. The moral supremacist can now let a panel of experts decide whose life is worth living—and who can be killed.

The material difference between the bills in California and Maryland, and similar legislation in the Nazi Third Reich, is that the latter requested that parents obtain a government permit in order to commit infanticide. The current moral-supremacy bills in America would simply delegate the infanticidal decision to the parent. Other than that, today’s moral supremacists show the same contempt for life as the Nazis did.

Modern moral supremacy comes in two forms. The first consists of an interpersonal transfer of moral values. Simply put, Person A is granted the right to evaluate the worthiness of Person B’s life and then make a life-or-death decision on Person B. This is the form of moral supremacy we find in existing abortion laws. As I explained back in February, this interpersonal transfer of moral values works as a defense for legal euthanasia. Pointing to a mass murder at a long-term care facility in Japan, I explained:

Person A assigns moral value to Person B’s life independently of what value person B assigns to his or her own life. Person A can make this evaluation of Person B’s life without considering what person B has to say about the matter.

So far, so bad. But it gets worse. The bills in California and Maryland are based on another form of moral supremacy. Person A—the parent—is again granted the right by government to kill person B—the baby—with impunity. However, the reason does not have to be that the parent considers the baby’s life unwertes leben. It does not at all have to be unworthy of living in itself. All it takes for the parent to legally “neglect” his or her child to death is for the parent to derive a positive experience from the baby’s death.

Existing abortion laws de facto permit abortions for this very same reason, but it is rare that the parent is so explicitly granted the right to become happy from the death of their own child. 

It is horrifying to see bills being proposed in supposedly civilized chambers of legislative deliberation, which allow one person to raise his quality of life from the death of another person. 

Now that it has become law, where will the moral supremacist go next? Once he has been given the right to subjugate the lives of babies to the happiness of himself or selected others, his hatred for life can easily be expanded. If babies can be killed for the betterment of their parents’ happiness for up to six weeks, then why not eight weeks? Why not a year? 

What about elderly with deteriorating health? Are their children going to be allowed to kill them out of compassion? If the children believe that killing their old parents will improve their quality of life, will they have that right?

Will government grant itself the right to terminate lives that its moral supremacist ‘experts’ consider unworthy of living?

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.

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