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Anti-Life Equation

On the basis of this consideration, a variety of arguments have been advanced regarding the precise stage of development at which a fetus can first be called a person. The most extreme arguments consider life to begin at the moment of conception. Other arguments include "the time when the nervous system starts to function, when the heart starts beating, when the fetus begins to move inside the womb or when the fetus is viable, able to live outside the womb with modern intensive care" (Denney, 1983, p. 109). Most philosophers agree that aborting a fetus at different stages of development carries different levels of moral risk. For example, one writer has indicated that "some degree of moral risk" can be seen as arising after 40 days gestation, when the fetus first begins to exhibit brain waves, and that "after the beginning of cerebral maturation in the fetus at six or seven months, there would seem to be a strong case for arguing that only a substantial threat to the life of the woman would provide an adequate justification for an abortion" (Wennberg, 1985, p. 139). Therefore, it may be argued that an abortion is morally permissible from the view of a fetus' personhood in contrast with the established rights of the mother. However, it can also be argued that abortion is best justified when it occurs during the early stages of gestation.

Those who are opposed to abortion believe that the potential personhood of a fetus is enough to give it a right to life which may "supersede the rights of the pregnant woman" (Denney, 1983, p. 108). On the basis that the fetus is a helpless human being with a right to life, the anti-abortionists argue that it is morally wrong for a woman to decide for herself when or if it is permissible to terminate such a life. Many of the arguments of anti-abortionists center around a belief in the fetus being possessed of the "image of God." Thus, it is believed that only God has the right to cause an a...

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Anti-Life Equation. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:22, November 29, 2015, from
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