Moral Status of the Foetus

914 Words4 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 unfertilised ovum has the same moral status as a piece of tissue. ------------------------------------------------- Working forward from the unfertilised ovum, there is no point until birth that the developing ovum comes to possess a different moral status. The foetus has the moral status of a piece of tissue right up until birth. The first premise appears to be uncontentious. Unfertilised ovum in large numbers are lost in a variety of ways every day. However there is no cry of outrage by society or scientists spending millions of dollars researching ways to try and save ovum lost in these ways. Unfertilised ovum are lost approximately every 28 days by most females once puberty is reached until the commencement of menopause. Unfertilised ovum are also lost through In Vitro Fertilisation procedures and scientific research. It would be unrealistic to place the same moral status on an unfertilised ovum as you would to a fertilised ovum because if you held that the first premise was untrue it would almost be impossible to prove. Therefore the first premise would have to be true. The second premise does not take into consideration the fertilisation of the ovum or the change
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