Peter Singer Defends His Views on Killing Disabled Babies Via Infanticide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Peter Singer Defends His Views on Killing Disabled Babies Via Infanticide Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 12
, 2006

London, England ( — Princeton University philosophy professor Peter Singer came under international condemnation when he announced he favors killing disabled babies via infanticide. Though he was blasted from both sides of the political spectrum, the so-called ethicist still holds to the position.

In an interview with The Independent newspaper in England, Singer said he would definitely kill a disabled newborn baby.

He indicated he would do so "if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole."

Singer said he found it surprising that abortion advocates would disagree with his views.

"Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman’s right to have an abortion,"
Singer said.

Meanwhile, he claimed he had one point of common beliefs with pro-life advocates.

"One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the fetus and the newborn baby," Singer explained.

However, Singer’s view is that, instead of legal protection, both disabled babies and the unborn deserve death.

As he wrote in Rethinking Life and Death, "Human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping their lives over time. They are not persons. Hence their lives would seem to be no more worthy of protection that the life of a fetus."

Singer also claimed in the newspaper interview that, despite the attention his very controversial beliefs receive, advocating infanticide isn’t a large part of his philosophy.

"I haven’t focused on infanticide," he said. "It’s always been a minor aspect of my work. The focus is that of my opponents, and the media."

Despite the vehemence of some of his opponents, Professor Singer is regarded, in other circles, as an important and highly respected philosopher and bioethicist.

His books are widely read, his articles frequently appear in anthologies, he is very much in demand throughout the world as a speaker, and has lectured at prestigious universities in different countries.