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Feyisayo Anjorin

Freelance Director, Afro-Carribean Media Group


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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?


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    Oct 8 2012: There are life threatening instances where both or one or the other could lose their lives but ultimately it's up to the woman as if she is set upon such a course then she will try it else where,maybe people need to see an abortion that way they can truly understand where they stand on the issue.
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      Oct 8 2012: Great response Ken! Maybe they should see some pregnant 8 year old girls too.

      Easy to judge from the other side of a computer screen.
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        Oct 9 2012: The first procedure i saw was 20 years ago and it wasn't from the other side of a computer screen.8 year old kids? that's sad but not unheard of,the youngest i have come across was 13 and she was so scared to tell her dad that when she did it was too late to offer her an alternative but it turned out really good for all of them, in this one case.
      • Oct 9 2012: Linda, it's good to know that you show 'caring' to some pregnant 8 year old girls. I'm not being satirical at all yet...

        But what I don't get is....How can you be sympathized with those girls while arguing that children are also don't have rights just like fetuses, thus, their lives can't be prioritized over adults'.
        According to your argument against my former comments below, children are also not persons.
        Is this caring same as the caring for animals?
        Or in this case, are you truly caring about those girl as PERSONS?

        I really want to know.
        What is the basis of your logic..?

        Abortion should be allowed for that kind of extreme cases.
        You said, "Who gets to decide what an extreme case is?"
        Now you unconscioudly give me an example.
        At least intuitively, you do know what is an extreme case judging by your reply here.
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          Oct 9 2012: No I do not know what an extreme case is. How in the world am I supposed to know what you mean? Magic? You have outlined no parameters whatsoever but obviously you have them stored in you head somewhere. You seem to think this is some common knowledge that everyone agrees on or something. It is not. I say an extreme case is what I say it is. You say it is what you say it is. There is no common agreement.

          In the US children are not persons and are not granted rights under the constitution.

          Pregnant minors are dealt with differently in each state. Each state outlines rights and procedures that the minor needs to follow. It is not a constitutional issue it is a state issue so all are a little different based on the values and moraes of each state. Or at least the state legislators.

          Pregnant minor rights are similar to emancipated minor rights but there are some differences.

          Typically a minor can be emancipated as young as 14 to 16. As minors much younger can get pregnant, there are special circumstances surrounding the pregnant minor definition.

          But unless a child falls under the pregnant minor or the emancipated minor rulings in each state, they do not have any rights due to this thing called disability of nonage.

          An emancipated minor means they have legally removed the disability of nonage. But that does not mean that the minor has all the rights an adult does. For instance, they still cannot drink alcohol until they reach legal age.

          That disability is removed once a child reaches the age of 21 and is considered a person under the US constitution. I do not know how to be any clearer. Children are not persons and have no rights. No one is going to grant a 10 year old the right to bear arms or a 9 year old the right to vote.

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