The Moral Status of the Fetus and the Concept of Personhood
Keywords:abortion, ethical dilemma, fetus, medical ethics, personhood
The purpose of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the existing approaches and concepts regarding the status of the fetus, address its importance as well as identify an approach that could possibly help in solving the dilemma on the moral status of the fetus. In general, the topic of abortion is very complex and raises a lot of different issues regardless of whether we try to analyze it from ethical, scientific, religious, legal, or political point of view. This study is focused solely on two ethical questions in the abortion debate. The first question is to define the moral status of the fetus and the second is about determining the importance of the fetal status for the abortion debate. Employing the descriptive, analytical, and comparative methods the study presents various different views and ethical approaches on the issue. The analysis demonstrates that all of the theories have their own problems and could potentially be very misleading and harmful to society. Having identified that this is something the entire society can never agree on, we should move on from the idea that is necessary to determine the status of the fetus alone in order to decide whether abortion is morally acceptable or not. We cannot exclude the woman as the main moral agent and address the fetus separately. We need to direct our attention to the relationship between the mother and the fetus. Our idea about the ethical and moral status of the fetus should be based on the nature of the relationship between the mother and the fetus.
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