Ectogenesis and the Moral Status of the Fetus

Authors

  • William Simkulet Park University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.22713

Keywords:

Abortion, Ectogenesis, Judith Jarvis Thomson

Abstract

Many people believe the morality of abortion stands or falls with the moral status of the fetus.  Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist argument bypasses the question of fetal moral status; even if the fetus has a right to life, she argues the gestational mother has a right to disconnect herself from the fetus. However, should ectogenesis – a technology that would allow the fetus to develop outside the womb – become sufficiently advanced, the fetus would no longer need a gestational mother to live.  Recently, Joona Räsänen has argued that parents have a right to secure the death of a fetus that has been removed from the mother’s body, and that this right might extend to infanticide.  However, here I argue Räsänen’s position ignores the moral status of the fetus; if the fetus is morally comparable to beings like us, then of course parents lack a right to the death of their children.  However, if the fetus is morally comparable to a tumor, then the right to kill it is philosophically uninteresting.

 

References

Annas, George. A French Homunculus in a tennessee Court. Hastings Center Report 1989; 19(6): 20–22. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3561982

Beckwith, Francis J.. Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice. New York, NY:Cambridge University Press. 2007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511804885

Bennett, Jonathan. The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn. Philosophy 1974; 49: 123-134 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100048014

Feinberg, Joel. The child’s right to an open future. in Whose Child? Children’s Rights, Parental Authority, and State Power, W. Aiken, H. LaFollette (eds.), Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980.

Friberg-Fernros, Henrik. A Critique of Rob Lovering’s Criticism of the Substance View. Bioethics 2015; 29(3): 211–216. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12080

George, Robert P. & Tollefsen, Christopher. Embryo: A Defense of Human Life. New York, NY: Doubleday. 2008.

Harris, George W.. Fathers and Fetuses. Ethics 1986; 96(3): 594-603. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/292777

Lee, Patrick & George Robert P. The Wrong of Abortion. in Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Andrew I. Cohen & Christopher Health Wellman eds., 2005.

Lovering, Rob. The Substance View A Critique. Bioethics 2012; 27(5): 263-270. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01954.x

McIntyre, Allison. Is Akratic Action Always Irrational? in Identity, Character, and Morality. , O. Flanagan and A. Rorty (eds.), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990; 379-400.

Marquis, Don. Why abortion is immoral. The Journal of Philosophy 1989; 86: 183–202. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2026961

Marquis, Don. A defence of the potential future of value theory. Journal of Medical Ethics 2002; 28, 198–201. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/jme.28.3.198

Marquis, Don. Manninen’s defense of abortion rights is unsuccessful. American Journal of Bioethics 2010; 10(12), 56–57. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15265161.2010.528516

Mathison, Eric & Davis, Jeremy. Is there a right to the death of the foetus? Bioethics 2017; 31(4): 313–320.Mulder, Jack. A Short Argument against Abortion Rights. Think 2013;12(34): 57-68. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12331

Rachels, James. Active and Passive Euthanasia. The New England Journal of Medicine 1975; 292: 78-80. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM197501092920206

Rachels, James. Why Privacy is Important. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1975; 4(4): 323-333.

Räsänen, Joona. Ectogenesis, abortion and a right to the death of the fetus. Bioethics 2017; 31: 697–702. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12404

Räsänen, Joona. Why Pro-Life Arguments Still are not Convincing: A reply to my critics. Bioethics 2018: 32(9): 628-633. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12502

Sandel, Michael J. The Ethical Implications of Human Cloning. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 2005 48(2): 241–247. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/pbm.2005.0063

Simkulet, William. The Parenthood Argument. Bioethics 2018; 32(1), 10-15. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12409

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. A defense of abortion. Philosophy & Public Affairs 1971; 1(1): 47–66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-6561-1_6

Downloads

Published

2022-06-23

How to Cite

Simkulet, W. (2022) “Ectogenesis and the Moral Status of the Fetus”, De Ethica, 7(1), pp. 3–18. doi: 10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.22713.

Issue

Section

Articles