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Controversial philosopher’s speech in New Zealand cancelled due to protests

An event with Australian philosopher Peter Singer has been cancelled in New Zealand after outcry over his opinion that some disabled newborns should be euthanised, reports the Guardian.

Singer, best known as a proponent of the effective altruism movement, has previously written that parents should be allowed to euthanise disabled babies if they wish to.

In his 1979 book Practical Ethics Singer included conditions like Down syndrome, spina bifida and haemophilia among disabilities that make “the child’s life prospects significantly less promising than those of a normal child”. He has argued that parents of children with these conditions should be allowed to end their child’s life.

“The position taken here does not imply that it would be better that no people born with severe disabilities should survive; it implies only that the parents of such infants should be able to make this decision,” he wrote Singer has argued his views do not apply to adults living with disabilities, but only to newborn infants, who lack “rationality, autonomy and self-consciousness”.

Earlier this month  the venue for his upcoming Auckland event announced they had cancelled their venue hire agreement after “concerns raised by the public and local media”.

The 73-year-old had been due to speak on 14 June at Auckland’s SkyCity. “Whilst SkyCity supports the right of free speech, some of the themes promoted by this speaker do not reflect our values of diversity and inclusivity,” the venue told The Guardian.

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