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Abortion Part II: Do Fetuses Count? Ethics Dr. Jason M. Chang.

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Presentation on theme: "Abortion Part II: Do Fetuses Count? Ethics Dr. Jason M. Chang."— Presentation transcript:

1 Abortion Part II: Do Fetuses Count? Ethics Dr. Jason M. Chang

2 Don Marquis, “An Argument that Abortion is Wrong” Purpose of article: To show that a fetus has a right to life To argue that abortion is seriously wrong

3 Does the Fetus Have a Right to Life? The Pro-Life Response Yes, because the fetus is biologically human Objections to pro-life account Connection between morality and biology seems arbitrary Includes too much (e.g., includes human cancer cells)

4 Does the Fetus Have a Right to Life? The Pro-Choice Response No, because the fetus lacks certain psychological characteristics Objections to pro-choice account Includes too little (e.g., excludes infants, comatose patients, mentally retarded)

5 Pro-choice Fetus does not have right to life because it lacks certain characteristics Pro-life Fetus has right to life because it is biologically human VS Marquis  To resolve this controversy, we need an account of what makes killing wrong.

6 What Makes Killing Wrong? Killing us imposes the misfortune of a premature death Premature death is a misfortune because one is deprived of a future life Future life in which one enjoys the goods of life o Accomplishments and projects o Pursuit of goals o Friendships o Intellectual endeavors o Physical pleasures

7 Future Like Ours (FLO) Killing is someone wrong because it deprives that individual of a… FUTURE LIKE OURS (FLO) AccomplishmentsPursuit of goalsFriendships Intellectual endeavors Physical pleasures

8 Advantages of the FLO Account 1. Explains why we believe killing is the worst crime 2. Produces correct answers in many life-and-death cases in medicine

9 FLO’s Implications for Abortion The human fetus has a Future Like Ours in the same way that you and I do

10 FLO’s Implications for Abortion 1. Killing an entity is morally wrong if it deprives it of a future like ours (FLO). 2. Killing a human fetus deprives it of a future like ours. Therefore, (C) Killing a human fetus is morally wrong.

11 Objection #1: Argument from Interests The Objection: Fetuses have FLO, but do not meet minimum conditions for moral standing Having moral standing requires a capacity to have interests

12 Objection #1: Argument from Interests (P1) A being has moral status only if it is capable of having interests. (P2) Being capable of having interests requires a capacity for sentience. (P3) A fetus does not have a capacity for sentience. So, (P4) A fetus is not capable of having interests. Therefore, (C) A fetus does not moral status.

13 Objection #1: Argument from Interests Marquis’s response Temporarily unconscious individuals are not sentient but still have a right to life A possible reply to Marquis Temporarily unconscious individuals are unable to exhibit sentience at the moment However, they do still have the capacity for sentience

14 Objection #2: Contraception The Objection: Contraception results in one less individual with an FLO So, it seems that according to the FLO account, contraception is immoral Marquis’s response There is no individual to have an FLO at the time of contraception

15 Objection #2: Contraception Reply to Marquis: What about the sperm, the egg, the millions of sperm? Marquis’s response Cannot non-arbitrarily determine the subject of harm Therefore, no determinate thing is harmed from contraception

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