Abortion paper led to death threats

Two Melbourne academics have received death threats after writing a theoretical paper arguing that killing a newborn baby should be allowed in cases where an abortion would have been granted, writes Henrietta Cook for the Sydney Morning Herald.

The controversial paper, written by Alberto Giubilini of the University of Milan and Monash University, and Francesca Minerva of the University of Melbourne and Oxford University, was electronically pre-published in the prestigious Journal of Medical Ethics last week and titled ''After-birth Abortion: Why should the baby live?''

The philosophers suggest that newborns and foetuses are morally equivalent ''potential persons'' whose family's interests override theirs. Avoiding the term ''infanticide'', the pair say ''after-birth abortion'' should be permitted when disabilities, such as Down syndrome, are not detected during pregnancy, or if economic or psychological circumstances change and ''taking care of the offspring becomes an unbearable burden on someone''.

Minerva said she had notified police about the death threats and feared for her safety. ''This was a theoretical and academic article,'' she said. ''I didn't mean to change any laws. I'm not in favour of infanticide. I'm just using logical arguments.''
Full report on the Sydney Morning Herald site