Anti-choice activists step up accusation that “pro-choicers” want to kill “newborns”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Infanticide is rare in America and has few advocates, yet anti-choice activists are leveling an accusation that more and more "pro-choicers" favor this form of murder.

American Right to Life, a national anti-choice organization, is stepping up a campaign accusing pro-choice activists of favoring the killing of "newborns and toddlers."

"An increasing number of well-known leaders and organizations who are pro-choice are also coming out publicly in favor of killing children, not only before they are born, but also after they are born," Bob Enyart, board member and spokesman for American Right to Life, told me via email.

American Right to Life is promoting an online document, titled "Pro-Choicers who Want to Legalize Infanticide." It's a list of about 10 articles and videos, some of which date back a decade or longer, that contain statements favoring infanticide.

The people cited on American Right to Life's website are not leaders of pro-choice organizations, and they aren't obviously linked with the pro-choice movement at all.

One article on the list is authored by a Michael Tooley, a University of Colorado philosophy professor.

Enyart, who is a also Denver talk radio host, has been trying to focus media attention on Tooley for years, but he says his organization has never confronted the professor directly, though Enyart has staged protests at the Boulder campus.

Tooley's 1972 paper, titled "Abortion and Infanticide", argues that "an organism possesses a serious right to life only if it possesses the concept of a self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states."

"This is obviously a matter for detailed psychological investigation, but everyday observation makes it perfectly clear, I think that newborn baby does not possess the concept of a continuing self, any more than a newborn kitten possesses such a concept," wrote Tooley. "If so, infanticide during the time interval shortly after birth must be morally acceptable."

Tooley, Princeton-educated atheist, did not respond to multiple email and phone messages over the past several months seeking comment. He doesn't seem to hide from public questioning, though, as he debated the existence of god, for example, at a Veritas Forum at CU Boulder in 2013. I could find no statement in recent years from Tooley about infanticide.

But Tooley's silence on the matter hasn't stopped Enyart, who's also spokesman for Colorado Right to Life. As part of his campaign to pass a personhood amendment in Colorado, Enyart narrated a radio spot citing Tooley's article and accusing pro-choice activists of favoring infanticide.

In the ad, Enyart says, without evidence, that support for killing newborns "is widespread and even taints the White House." On its website, American Right to Life urges the public to notify it of the "godless effort to expand abortion services to newborns and toddlers."

Asked to comment on Enyart's accusation, NARAL Pro-Choice America Director Karen Middleton said via email:  "Anti-choice extremists are repeatedly losing at the ballot box because Colorado voters believe women have a right to make their own personal, private medical decisions. I can only think such increasingly bizarre, out-there statements from Mr. Enyart stems from his frustration at the fact Coloradans believe the argument is over and No Means No. Voters don't agree with him. Respect them, get over it, and stop yelling."

Personhood measures, which would effectively ban abortion by granting legal rights to zygotes (fertilized eggs), has been rejected so many times in Colorado, among other states, that personhood advocates have suggested a more localized approach to pushing through the extreme anti-choice policy.

The murder rate for infants is low in America. Key risk factors include mental illness afflicting the parents, lack of prenatal care, teenage pregnancy, and paternal care giving.

In some campaigns to limit abortion, anti-choice activists associate the term "infanticide" with abortion procedures, including "dilation and extraction," which is used for abortion after 14 weeks.

The anti-choice group's focus on infanticide comes in the wake of a national report showing that a wave of anti-choice laws has "emboldened" abortion clinic protesters, and that threats of violence against clinics have doubled since 2010.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    Anti-choicers can't even pass personhood in the deep south. They are just making fools of themselves with this stuff.

  2. Republican 36 says:

    By citing to Professor Tooley's 1972 article, Mr. Enyart is undermining the Right to Life position. He's citing a 1972 article to prove that infanticide is gaining acceptance and support in the United States. Professor Tooley and his article are not well known and there is no evidence that any group or a significant number of people have accepted such a ridiculous assertion. One can still go to a bookstore and buy a copy of Mein Kampf but that doesn't mean the bookstore is promoting Hitler or Nazism. There isn't any evidence, none, that anyone in the United States is going to accept infanticide or is even promoting it. In fact, the opposite is true.

    • MapMaker says:

      Mr. Enyart has a certain notoriety in the creationist movement. He's one of those folks who claim the bible predicts physics, the jet stream, ocean currents, everything except common ancestry.


      I don't know what, exactly, he means by “infanticide”; probably whatever he wants it to mean at whatever time he wants it to. But a meaning equivalent to child endangerment would include failing to vaccinate children and using faith healing to treat childhood illnesses.


      So it seems to me that the popularity of infanticide is increasing in the very audience he serves.

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    When did Enyart get out of prison?

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      I thought it was just Jeffco County Jail. I don't think he went to the Big House.

      Had he gone to prison, God and Dr. Ben Carson only know what would have become of him……

  4. Arvadonian1 says:

    Boy.  How big are their balls/ovaries?  On the day they go to the US Supreme Court in a misguided attempt to deny millions health care that will, quite literally, kill newborns and not-so-newborns, they have the unmitigated gall to accuse pro-choice activist of wanting to "kill newborns"?

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    I notice this clown does not claim to speak for the National Right to Life Association. I've never heard of The American Right to Life Association. That tells me all I need to know. And I would have to say the latter is doing the former no favors with these wildly overblown assertions. They won't, but the NRLA would do well to disavow these extremist nuts.

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