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Moral Status Of The Foetus Essay

929 words - 4 pages

The argument that I have chosen to discuss in this essay is the extreme liberal view. My aim is to show that this argument is false by critically examining and evaluating the argument and the consequences of the extreme liberal view. I am concentrating on the extreme liberal view because I find it to have many more consequences than the other three views. I also find it to be quite a controversial view that I’m sure is not widely held in society.
The extreme liberal view states that “the foetus is, in most if not all morally relevant respects, like a piece of tissue or a bit of the human body” (Hursthouse, 1987).
The extreme liberal view in standard form looks like this:
An ...view middle of the document...

An objection to premise two is the acorn analogy by Finnis (1974, 112 – 113) who holds that when a tree sprouts from an acorn it signifies the beginning of a life, and therefore so does the fertilisation of an ovum. Finnis (1974) describes fertilisation as a catastrophic event that involves the creation of something completely new (Finnis, 1974). You cannot possibly hold premise two to be true when fertilisation is described as the beginning of life and the time when the ovum becomes morally significant.
Therefore the second premise would have to be false.

The conclusion that the foetus has the moral status of a piece of tissue right up until birth has to be false. You can use the blue/green analogy by Hursthouse (1987) as an objection to this conclusion. When a blue object fades to green from being left in the sun for too long, you cannot pinpoint the exact moment that it changed colour, but you are aware that a significant change has occurred. The same can also be said to discount the theory that the foetus has the same moral status of a piece of tissue right up until birth. This is because even though you cannot see the exact moment when natural fertilisation occurs and the ovum becomes a foetus, the fact is that a significant change to the moral status of the foetus has occurred before birth. An exception to this, of course, is due to the advancements in medical science and in In Vitro Fertilisation technologies, it is possible to see the exact moment of conception through a microscope.

The consequences of this view mean that a woman can choose to terminate the foetus right up until birth for any reason at all. If you were to follow the extreme liberal view it would mean that termination could be carried out for reasons...

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