Thursday, March 20, 2014

Abortion and infanticide, moral arguments

An alternative argument has it that a fetus is a human being but is not a human person. In this view it is said that abortion is morally unproblematic because moral respect attaches to personhood and not mere humanity. Since a fetus, though a human being, cannot have self-consciousness or concern for the future, it is not due the protections that we naturally accord a fully mature human person. Once again, the problem with this argument is that almost nobody really believes it, so that its constant reiteration as a defense for abortion necessarily has a corrosive effect on our respect for the truth. If the personhood argument were correct, then it would be just as moral to practice infanticide as it is to procure an abortion, since newborn children have no more sense of self-consciousness or concern for the future than do late-term fetuses. But, aside from a few theorists in the academy, virtually everybody agrees not only that infanticide is wrong but that it is murder. The personhood argument, then, is merely an expedient to justify abortion. In other words, it is a dishonest argument, and its dishonesty is sufficiently evident that its popularity must undermine our society’s commitment to truth. - See more at:

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