Abortion: Liberal and Feminist Views
Warren: The Personhood Argument in favour of Abortion rights.
*Abortion is always permissible
- Critique of traditional argument
o It is wrong to kill innocent human beings (moral sense).
o Fetuses are innocent human beings (biological sense).
o Conclusion: it is wrong to kill fetuses (this does not follow),
- Let’s look at how ‘human being’ is being used in both premises:
o ‘Human beings’ are used in two different ways in the individual premises.
o Premise one speaks of human beings in the moral sense – which is not identical to
the biological sense of what is a human being, which is the sense ‘human being’ is
used in the second premise.
o There is a failure to prove whether something genetically human is also morally
Moral status of being a person, which gives them personhood rights
Humans belonging to moral community are persons as such
What characteristics do persons have that centralizes personhood in
- Moral community of Persons: 5 attributes of Personhood
o Consciousness and a capacity to feel pain.
o Capacity for reasoning, to solve new and relatively complex problems
o Persons carry out in self-engaged activity – independent of genetic determination
o Capacity to communicate
o Presence of self-concept and self-awareness
*not all five are necessary for status of personhood. Probably one and two
are necessary. If none of these five are present, the human being is not a
person; some human beings are not persons and (vice-versa) some persons
are not human beings.
- These are important in identifying that not only do persons have moral rights, but also
obligations and responsibility.
- Only persons have full moral rights, if you are not a person you don’t have no rights
whatsoever, but less rights than a person.
Is a Fetus Sufficiently Like a Person? Is there a right to life by virtue of its being like a person?
- Fetus can feel pain and can ha