'A foetus is not a person'

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  • A foetus is not a person
    • Jonathan Glover- calling a foetus a person from conception stretches the term beyond normal boundaries
    • Mary Anne Warren- it has personhood if:
      • Can reason
      • Has feelings
      • Can communicate
      • Is sentient
      • Is self-aware
      • Has moral agency
      • But not all adults have these, and a foetus may display these in later stages?
        • She replied, regard the foetus as a potential person, not necessarily with the right to life
    • Pope Pius XI- "a human person from the moment of conception"
    • Peter singer and Helga Kuhse- quality of life ethic- you have personhood if you're conscious, self-aware, able to reason and be self-sufficient
      • New born babies don't have these attributes!
    • Catholic Church- it is a person from conception, as there is genetic material present from conception
    • Religious sanctity of life ethic- they are people from birth, for if all life was God-given, then God has given life even from this early stage
    • Judith Jarvis Thomson- you need to be able to make rational decisions
    • The moment of fertilisation seems a logical point to regard as when personhood begins
    • It is from conception, as it has all the genetic material
      • But so do all the body cells!
    • Perhaps it's only a person from birth?
    • Perhaps personhood begins when it is viable outside the womb
    • Aristotle- 40 days after conception if male, 90 if female
    • St Augustine- distinguished between embryo inanimitus (without a soul) and embryo animitus (with a soul)
    • It's hard to decide on the basis of whether outside the body or not. One second it's not a person, the next, a head pops out and it is?
    • "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"
    • From conception, we have the spark of life God breathed into Adam
    • Saint Paul wrote of being chosen in his mother's womb
  • From conception, we have the spark of life God breathed into Adam

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