Professor of “Ethics” Dr. Peter Singer At Princeton Says Parents Should Have Right to Kill Their Born Disabled Baby
Genesis 1:26–27; 5:1; 9:6; Psalm 139; 1 Corinthians 11:7; and James 3:9 reveal that every human is created in the image of God, and Psalm 51:5 tells us that the baby even has a sin nature. The Greek word for “baby,” by the way, is the same word when referring to a baby inside or outside of the woman, revealing the fact that God views the unborn baby and just-born infant equally. Clearly, America has strayed from a biblical worldview, and this is no more clearly seen than through the slaughter of more than 40 million babies since 1973.
I remember reading about a man in Wisconsin who was sent to prison for twelve years for killing cats. Yet, Amy Grossberg received only two and a half years in prison and her boyfriend Brian Peterson only two years for throwing their newborn baby in a dumpster after delivering it in a hotel room.
Ideas do have consequences, and because of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion, a culture of death has been allowed to grow and flourish in America. Abortion has led to euthanasia and infanticide (I consider partial-birth abortion to be infanticide).
Dr. Peter Singer, professor of ethics at Princeton University, is an outspoken promoter of abortion, euthanasia, and the outright murder of a baby if the parents, after its birth, simply do not want the child. Students at the university organized a group called Princeton Students against the Hiring of Peter Singer and issued a statement in which they point out why Singer should not be hired as Princeton’s professor of ethics. Quoting from Dr. Singer’s own books such as Practical Ethics (2nd ed.) and Should the Baby Live?, they state:
We the undersigned protest the hiring of Dr. Peter Singer as the Ira DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values. We protest his hiring because Dr. Singer denies the intrinsic moral worth of an entire class of human beings—newborn children—and promotes policies that would deprive many infants with disabilities of their basic human right to legal protection against homicide.
In his book Practical Ethics, Dr. Singer states that no infant has as strong a claim to life as a rational, self-
conscious human being. Dr. Singer’s criteria for distinguishing newborn infants from “normal human beings” (including more mature infants) thus hinge on subjectively imposed conditions such as “rationality, autonomy, and self-
consciousness.” This lesser claim to life is also applied to those older children or adults whose mental age is and has always been that of an infant.
His assertion of the appropriateness of killing some humans based on the decision of others, concerning the “quality” of their lives, should strike fear into everyone who cherishes equality and honors human life. Furthermore, Dr. Singer defines certain disabled persons as individuals who are living “a life not worth living.” His views permit the killing of certain newborn infants with disabilities up to 28 days after birth. Dr. Singer states that “killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often, it is not wrong at all.” Dr. Singer’s message threatens individuals with disabilities and contributes to the erosion of the public’s regard for the fundamental human rights of disabled people.
Finally, Dr. Singer suggests that the regulated killing of babies with spina bifida be permitted. He would extend to parents the authority to “replace” a Down’s syndrome or hemophiliac infant (i.e., kill the child and conceive another) if adequate family or societal resources were not forthcoming. Although Dr. Singer concentrates on disabled infants, the ethical arguments and metaphors that he provisionally adopts leave open the potential empowerment of parents to kill a non-disabled newborn whose “replacement” would ameliorate their prospects for a happy life.
The hiring of Dr. Peter Singer to a professorial chair in ethics at a university as prestigious as Princeton will certainly, though perhaps unintentionally, legitimate his claims. Thus legitimated, Dr. Singer will use the platform afforded by Princeton to continue to argue for the killing of certain disabled babies, and his teachings may help cast the practice of infanticide in a more respectable light; further, his teaching may encourage the propagation of infanticide. The hiring of Dr. Peter Singer is a blatant violation of Princeton University’s policy of respect for people with disabilities. . . .
Dr. Singer’s view that many disabled babies may rightly be killed demeans and threatens those with handicaps. His ideology reinforces the false notion that many disabled persons’ lives are less worth living and are inherently inferior to the lives of others. Despite his assurances that he rejects discrimination against the adult disability population, it is demeaning to suggest to them that their parents would have been justified in killing them as newborns. If Princeton University is committed to upholding the principles of non-discrimination, it must rescind its decision to hire Dr. Peter Singer. (Footnote #12)
Opening Pandora’s Box
The Princeton students were exactly right about the legitimizing influence of placing someone like Singer in a prestigious position. Through this and other such actions, ideas that once would have been recognized as despicable, have gained respectability little by little.
Because abortion was legalized, America now debates the morality and legality of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. Kerby Anderson explains the ever-widening risk for Americans brought about by the opening of this Pandora’s Box:
Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade that the life of unborn babies could be terminated for reasons of convenience, there has been an erosion of the doctrine of the sanctity of life, even though the Supreme Court has been reluctant to legalize euthanasia. . . . This progression was inevitable. Once society begins to devalue the life of an unborn child, it is but a small step to being willing to do the same with a child who has been born. Abortion slides naturally into infanticide and eventually into euthanasia. In the past few years doctors have allowed a number of so-called Baby Does to die (either by failing to perform life-saving operations or else by not feeding the infants). The progression from this toward euthanasia is inevitable. Once society becomes accustomed to using a “quality of life” standard for infants, it will more willingly accept the same standard for the elderly. (Footnote #13)
12 “Princeton Students against the Hiring of Peter Singer”: statement they wrote and distributed.
13 Kerby Anderson, Moral Dilemmas (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1998), 27