Embryos and Future Persons

Anja J. Karnein

in A Theory of Unborn Life

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199782475
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933297 | DOI:
Embryos and Future Persons

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This chapter develops an account of how our normative commitment to persons should inform our treatment of embryos. Embryos that develop into persons ought to be protected in anticipation of these persons from the moment of conception. This is referred to as the so-called Personhood-Dependent Principle (PDP). Furthermore, this chapter offers a plausible understanding of when personhood begins, namely at birth. Abortion is shown to be legitimate as women have the right to end their assistance, without which the embryo has no potential of developing into a person. However, our commitment to persons asks us to adopt a positive attitude toward the creation of persons. In cases in which there are women willing to carry leftover embryos to term, they should not be hindered in their pursuit.

Keywords: moral status; moral value; embryos; future persons; person; morality of abortion; women’s rights; stem cell research; PGD; birth

Chapter.  11938 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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