- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Famed evolutionary biologist and author Jerry Coyne has penned an article arguing in favor of the euthanasia of severely disabled newborns.

Mr. Coyne, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, argued in a post on his personal blog that the parents of infants who have “horrible conditions or deformities, or are doomed to a life that cannot by any reasonable light afford happiness,” should be able to legally kill the child in the U.S.

In his article, Mr. Coyne sides with Princeton University professor Peter Singer, who has faced backlash over the years for promoting public policy that would legalize the killing of severely disabled infants.

“Philosopher Peter Singer has argued that euthanasia is the merciful action in such cases, and I agree with him,” Mr. Coyne wrote. “If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect, microcephaly, spina bifida, or so on, then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born? I see no substantive difference that would make the former act moral and the latter immoral.

“After all, newborn babies aren’t aware of death, aren’t nearly as sentient as an older child or adult, and have no rational faculties to make judgments (and if there’s severe mental disability, would never develop such faculties),” he continued. “It makes little sense to keep alive a suffering child who is doomed to die or suffer life in a vegetative or horribly painful state. After all, doctors and parents face no legal penalty for simply withdrawing care from such newborns, like turning off a respirator, but Singer suggests that we should be allowed, with the parents’ and doctors’ consent, to painlessly end their life with an injection. I agree.”

He added, “After all, we euthanize our dogs and cats when to prolong their lives would be torture, so why not extend that to humans? Dogs and cats, like newborns, can’t make such a decision, and so their caregivers take the responsibility.”

Mr. Coyne, an atheist, said that while the subject of infanticide is highly controversial today, the practice will one day be widespread once religion predictably “vanishes” from the earth.

He concluded saying that while withdrawing care may be legal, it sometimes can cause more pain and suffering for the child than would a life-ending injection.

Mr. Coyne later told conservative website The College Fix that he’s working on a longer article that will delve into the topic further. In a post Wednesday, he expressed intrigue that “many religious and right-wing websites” have reported on his comments.

“Am I famous now?” he asked.

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