Fetal Humanity And Brain Function

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Baruch Brody attempted to prove that abortion is morally impermissible by showing that a fetus is actually a human being and holds the right to life. Using the brain-death theory and Ramsey’s theory of death, he argues that the fetus becomes a human being not at the moment of conception or at the moment of birth, whereas it is some time between the second week and twelfth week of conception. This is period when the fetus develops its heart, brain and lungs. Once one of these organs starts functioning, it becomes a human being and the right to life should prevail. First, consider the assumption Brody made. It is reasonable to believe that the loss of the essential property of a human being would entail the human being’s death. Then, based on the Brain-Death theory, he associated the property necessary for being a human with having a functioning brain. However, this creates a fallacy. The Brain-Death theory states that “as long as there has not been an irreparable cessation of brain function, the person continues to exist”, does not equate to the person die if there has been an irreparable cessation of his brain. Hence, the conclusion is not true although the given premises are true. Next, Brody invalidated the claims that other properties such as movement, being perceivable to others and viability are essential properties of human beings. The analogies he presented convinced us that these claims are not necessary properties of being a human. He further explained that when the brain operates, all other properties essential for being human are already acquired. Therefore, it can be deduced that the main required property of being a human is having a functioning brain. Finally, as there are progressive stages in the physical development and function of the brain, the fetal brain can only support spontaneous motion in the third month after conception. Brody
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