Prenatal Moral Status and Ethics

David DeGrazia

in Creation Ethics

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780195389630
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949731 | DOI:
Prenatal Moral Status and Ethics

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This chapter addresses the question of how we should understand the moral status of the prenatal human being and the attendant ethical issues of abortion and embryo research. The first section defends a framework for understanding prenatal moral status, a framework that supports liberal views about abortion and embryo research. The next section rebuts the three strongest arguments in favor of a pro-life approach. It is argued in the next section, perhaps surprisingly, that one might reasonably doubt the author’s framework. Hence a sort of pluralism regarding prenatal moral status. In view of this stalemate, the discussion is redirected to the level of political philosophy and social policy; a liberal approach to policy is defended. The final section sketches and defends such an approach to abortion and embryo research.

Keywords: prenatal moral status; abortion; embryo research; pluralism; pro-life; pro-choice; political philosophy; social policy

Chapter.  21324 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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