Alphonse and “After-Birth Abortion,” or, The Fetus that Would Not Die.

Guest post by Matthew Lickona

     Almost 10 years ago, I conceived of Alphonse, a sentient, coordinated fetus who survives an attempted abortion.  (The experience leaves him deeply twisted, and on top of that, he’s addicted to heroin.)  It is an admittedly freaky notion, but then, freaks do have their literary uses.  Like the doctor’s creation in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Alphonse is a unnatural creature who forces the reader to think about what is natural, a monster who makes us consider what it means to be human.
     I’ve been trying to get Alphonse’s story out there ever since, with mixed results.  But every time I’m ready to put the little fellow to rest, someone else takes an interest, or something happens to make me think it’s worth it to keep at it.  The most recent bit of motivation:  a spark of interest from a publishing house, and an article in the London Telegraph about a Journal of Medical Ethics paper supporting “after-birth abortion.”  The paper argued that “both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life.'”  Suddenly, the fact that people seek Alphonse’s life even after his “birth” had a new relevance.
     The publishing house, alas, decided not to go ahead with the project.  But the essay in the Journal of Medical Ethics remained.  So I have decided to have another go at raising the funds to pay my artist and letterer to produce a full-color, 140-page graphic novel, one that tells the whole story in one shot.  I hope you will visit Alphonse‘s site, consider donating, and also consider sharing this plea.  Even if no one can afford more than a dollar, I believe there are at least 40,000 souls out there who would agree with me that this is a story worth telling.
     The first chapter (in black-and-white) may be downloaded here.  Thank you for your time and consideration.  Godspeed.


  1. Pamela says

    Yes, I think I read that article as well. The basic argument was that a there is no difference between a fetus and a new-born; therefore, parents have the right to kill a new-born in the same way that they now have the right to kill a child in the womb. I’ve thought about this for years, and knew that eventually this would happen, that someone would put these ideas together. The laws that punish people for harming or killing fetuses have always puzzled me, because if abortion is acceptable on the grounds that the fetus is not a person, then why would you punish someone who caused the death of a fetus, e.g as in a car accident? I think that the pro-abortion thinkers have been backed against a wall by science, in that they are no longer trying to argue that a fetus is not a human being or a person. Now their position is that fetus has no legal rights, which is currently true. Francis Schaeffer argued decades ago, that when we abandoned the Judeo-Christian foundation for morality, we would replace it with what he called “arbitrary social morality.” Which basically means that the majority (or the most powerful voices) decide what is moral or immoral. And that is where we are.