I keep having to address this issue, so I figured I’d make my research notes available for you to see. Handout.Fetal Personhood.Updated 10.8.2015
In short, I argue that fetal human beings indeed are “persons” and should be legally recognized as such, were it not for the scientifically misinformed and overall mistaken ruling of Roe v. Wade (1973). However, I tend to avoid the subject, not because the argument for it is weak–to the contrary, I think fetal personhood is the easier position to defend. Instead, I avoid the subject because no prochoice advocates have yet shown–to me at least–that in spite of all the facts about the fetus (i.e., living, human, organism, homo sapiens, human being, morally and legally innocent, biologically distinct, etc.) it MUST ALSO be a legal person before we have any duty not to kill it. I point out elsewhere, that when it comes to killing human beings, the overwhelming burden of proof is on the killers (and their advocates) to show that that sort of killing is ethically justified.
I would cut and paste my chart into wordpress, but that’ wrecks the formatting. So I’m posting it as a PDF. Enjoy!
Handout.Fetal Personhood.Updated 10.8.2015