Author's Summary and Conclusion
- Abortion is often approached as if it were only an issue of fetal rights; and often as if it were only an issue of women's rights. The denial of safe and legal abortion infringes upon women's rights to life, liberty, and physical integrity. Yet if the fetus had the same right to life as a person, abortion would still be a tragic event, and difficult to justify except in the most extreme cases. Thus, even those who argue for women's rights must be concerned with the moral status of fetuses.
- Even an ethic of reverence for all life does not, however, preclude all intentional killing. All killing requires justification, and it is somewhat more difficult to justify the deliberate destruction of a sentient being than of a living thing which is not (yet) a centre of experience: but sentient beings do not all have equal rights. The extension of equal moral status to fetuses threatens women's most basic rights. Unlike fetuses, women are already persons. They should not be treated as something less when they happen to be pregnant. That is why abortion should not be prohibited, and why birth, rather than some earlier point, marks the beginning of full moral status.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
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