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October 21, 1983

Infanticide and the Handicapped Newborn

Author Affiliations

The Hastings Center Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

JAMA. 1983;250(15):2066. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340150098042

This collection makes it abundantly plain that what abortion was to the medical ethics of the 1970s, infanticide may unfortunately be to the medical ethics of the 1980s. The battle lines concerning the treatment of defective and often premature infants have already become stark, unyielding, and intolerant. On one side are arrayed the right-to-life forces whose numbers populate this collection. These persons are determined through the use of courts, suits, Department of Health and Human Services inspectors, moral "flying squads" of like-minded physicians, review committees, and the use of shame, guilt, and threats to see to it that no newborn is allowed to go untreated in any American hospital. On the other side, without any representatives appearing in this collection, are the pro-choice advocates, who are determined by the use of courts, lawsuits, review committees, and shame, guilt, and threats to see to it that no child is ever treated