Yes, it’s that Monday time again, Spring has sprung and everyone forgot to wind their clocks forward yesterday and missed brunch. At least, that’s what happened to us.

But all this talk of biological clocks and new beginnings brings us neatly to our question of the week, for which we have Mr Geek to thank for drawing our attention to what is probably the most controversial article of 2012 so far, on after-birth abortion, written anywhere, across the globe.

The article we are talking about is none other than the piece written by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva which makes the suggestion that killing newborn babies is no different from abortion. Not surprisingly, it has caused something of a furore, and the authors have since received death threats for writing it, but they are misunderstood. All they are trying to do is raise the observation for debate and you can see why it is such an important debate by reading the article linked above.

In it the article explains that there is very little difference in status between a foetus and a newborn but it is the wider implications of a view like this potentially allowed to run its course, that could have an impact on social engineering in the future, especially in a world where resources are limited and the world’s population appears to be growing at a rate that is hard to cater for.

We are told that “The paper, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” pays particular attention to fetuses and newborn children with disabilities and the psychological burden they might represent for their mothers.” Furthermore, “the authors say that “to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.

The authors go on to say the following: They argue that the potential of quality of life for children with certain pathologies may not be equal to that of a “normal child.”” And finally, “They classify the life of a newborn child as “equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally-relevant sense.” In this way they put after-birth abortion in the same category as regular abortion, and as such argue that it should be a “permissible” practice “in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

But what if there is more to this article than meets the eye?

Post writing this blog post this morning, Researching Reform had a chat with a very senior lawyer and asked them whether they had themselves read this article. They had, but the point they made following on from that was nothing short of a revelation. When we asked him what he thought the motivation might be behind such a controversial premise, he thought it was more than possible that the authors were trying, in a very devious, roundabout way, to set the scene for a compelling argument which focused on the idea that abortion should be illegal and that the two authors themselves, he suspected, were possibly practicing catholics.

Then we started to consider the thought and began to notice some rather odd things about the article. Firstly, the two authors appear to be Italian and whilst not all Italians are devout catholics, the possibility that they are is not too remote, in a country where a nation is still relatively religious on the whole. The second thing was the obvious gap in the article, which fails to address abortion post the current time limits – why had they not discussed this before jumping the gun and moving straight to the most extreme example of abortion, post-birth abortion? (We may stand corrected as we have not yet had the chance to read the whole article). And thirdly, the chilling way in which the authors chose to frame the status of both fetus and newborn: “They classify the life of a newborn child as “equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally-relevant sense.” This is clearly not a legal, nor a medical definition and is certainly a weakness in their argument, should the authors be trying to suggest that after-birth abortion is akin to pre-birth abortion. But by causing outrage at the thought of a newborn baby being killed, they may have just succeeded in shaping the perfect prelude for their ulterior motive: a complete ban on abortion, across the world.

So, what do you think? Should after-birth abortion be allowed? And what do you think might be the motivation behind this article?

Possible answer: This debate seems to jump the gun, as there is surely a debate that needs to be had about abortion post the current recommended time limits. However, we are disturbed by this debate. Any woman who has held a child in her womb for 9 months will tell you that you develop a bond. This bond needs to be discussed within the context of this debate, before we lose our humanity, altogether.

We searched online for photos for ‘after-birth abortion’ but the results upset us so much that we couldn’t face posting one on the blog. So we chose a happy, bouncing baby, instead.

We're as shocked as you are, baby-pie....