The Beginning of Individual Human Personhood
Penner, Paul S.
Hull, Richard T.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2008 April; 33(2): 174-182
Even for persons who hold to the ethical acceptance of abortion practices in general, questions of detail often arise. If you assume the distinction between the physical human organism alone and the person that is associated with that organism, then you must face the question of whether it is permissible to abort a fetus if the corresponding person has come into being. We take the position that the abortion of a fetus that has achieved this level of development should be declared unethical except in special circumstances. Our purpose here is to identify the point in the development of the fetus that serves as the marker for this level.