Why two arguments from probability fail and one argument from Thomson?s analogy of the violinist succeeds in justifying embryo destruction in some situations
Journal of Medical Ethics 2007 March; 33(3): 160-164
The scope of embryo research in the UK has been expanded by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Research Purposes) Regulations 2001. Two advisory bodies--the Chief Medical Officer's Expert Group and the House of Lords' Select Committee--presented various arguments in favour of embryo research. One of these is the view that, just as lottery tickets have relatively little value before the draw because of the low probability of their being the winning ticket, early embryos have relatively little value because of the presumed low probability that they will mature into more developed embryos. This (first) argument from probability is questioned in this paper, as well as the contention that allowing embryo destruction is incompatible with the view that embryos have full moral status. Although I challenge Savulescu's view that early embryos should be entered into a lottery in which they are subjected to the probability of being destroyed (the second argument from probability), a revised version of Thomson's analogy of the famous violinist defies the view that the position that the embryo has full moral status is incompatible with qualified support for embryo destruction.
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Why current UK legislation on embryo research is immoral. How the argument from lack of qualities and the argument from potentiality have been applied and why they should be rejected Deckers, Jan (2005-06)On 22 January 2001, the UK became the first country to approve of embryonic stem cell research by passing the Human Fertilisation (Research Purposes) Regulations 2001, which legislated new research purposes for which early ...