TED Conversations

Feyisayo Anjorin

Freelance Director, Afro-Carribean Media Group


This conversation is closed.

Is a Fetus a Person?

The debate over whether abortion should be considered as murder often focuses on the question of whether the fetus is a person or not.
Here the issue of culture and religion comes in.
But what does it take to identify a fetus as a person? There are thinkers today with the belief that a fetus can be called a human being, but should not be called a person because it takes more to be a person than just having genetic material.

Philosopher Mary Ann Warren argues that in order to be considered a person, a being should have the following characteristics:

1. A developed capacity for reasoning.
2. Self awareness
3.Consciousness and ability to feel pain
4. Self motivated activity
5. Capacity to comminicate messages of an indefinite variety of types.

It would seem as if even new born babies may not be considered as persons according to the aforementioned school of thought.

No doubt infanticide has always got widespread condemnation, but abortion has always been a controversial issue.
So, what do you think? Is a fetus a person?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 9 2012: In questions of morality motivation is of prime importance. When we find ourselves entangled in political, religious, philosophical, and legal debates on a deeply personal and controversial issue like this, let's stop and question our purpose. Why do we spend our energies on these arguments? Do we care about these poor distressed women who face this horrible choice and, perhaps, abuse, rejection, guilt, and loneliness? Or do we care about our own ambitions, political careers, rights, entitlements, and whatever else?

    If Bible is any authority for you, read 1 Corinthians 13, read the book of Job on what to say to a person in agony. Think, why God planted the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden or why Jesus did not kill all sinners (those seem like very pro-choice decisions).

    Sorry for an emotional post...

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.