Reinterpreting the 'Quickening' Perspective in the Abortion Debate
Sekaleshfar, Farrokh B.
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2009; 30(2): 161-171
Personhood constitutes the pivotal point in the abortion debate. There exists a diversity of views as to when foetal personhood actually starts-from conception and implantation to viability and even birth. One perspective that has lost support for decades is that of quickening, a stance associated with Lord Ellenborough's 1803 Act. This paper attempts to put quickening back into the limelight, albeit through a new interpretation. After discussing its philosophy and underpinning rationale, I will assess a number of arguments that have been directed against quickening as a viable point of distinction. I conclude by suggesting that according to modern proponents of quickening proponents, rational soul ensoulment begins after a certain degree of cerebral cortical formation has been realized, thus marking foetal volition, which promotes foetal interests, for the first time.
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