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Whoa—“After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” —a hot-button article by a pair of philosophers recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, looks a lot like Jonathan Swift’s brilliant 18th-century satire “A Modest Proposal.”

Swift suggested solving the Irish famine problem by eating Irish babies. In this instance, the authors, Alberto Giubilini of Monash University (Australia) and Francesca Minerva, currently at the University of Melbourne, appear to be constructing a rationale for killing newborns, but make a whopping—and, to hear them tell it, inadvertent—case against abortion.Their argument is built on faulty assumptions, beginning with the equation of newborns and fetuses, but that’s not stopping it from roiling the waters.

From their abstract: “The authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

Meanwhile, equally clueless anti-abortion fanatics are lobbing death threats at the authors they ought to be applauding. Some things haven’t changed since 1729.