The Moral And Legal Status Of Abortion

932 Words4 Pages
The concept of infanticide is one that is largely accepted to be immoral according to western standards. Because of this viewpoint, the objection that Mary Anne Warren’s argument to support the morality of abortion should also be extended to infanticide as well poses a problem. Warren claims that in order to earn the status of personhood you must possess the five characteristics that she enumerates in her article “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion.” These characteristics include consciousness, reasoning, self- motivated activity, communication, and concept of self. In her argument, she claims that these traits are the only way one can be considered a person and until these traits are acquired, a human being is not considered a person of moral standing. Without moral standing the claim is made that ones rights do not have to be honored. Because fetuses do not have these attributes it ought to be considered moral to abort a fetus. The problem arises when one considers an infant. According to the five traits, infants are also not to be considered a person, and thus it ought to be moral to kill an infant, which is known as infanticide. This is a problem because of the wide-standing viewpoint that the killing of an infant is considered murder, and therefore immoral. This creates a gaping whole in Warren’s argument, and one could argue that it discredits it completely. In order to save her argument and clear confusion, Warren writes a postscript stating her
Open Document