In this paper, I will investigate the right to life for embryo based on Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s article “Abortion: Is it Possible to be both “Pro-life” and “Pro-Choice”?” My conclusion is an embryo is a potential person thus it has the right to life. Sagan and Druyan argue that embryo does not have human characteristics; therefore it is acceptable to abort it. I will show that embryo is at least a potential person, so it has the right to life.
First, I want to convince embryo may not be a person. If “person” here, means biologically a member of human beings, then after 14 days when primitive streak or after 16 days when gastrulation (Damschen, Gomez-Lobo and Schonecker), an embryo is certainly a person, because at this point, the process of individualization is irreversible. At this time, the embryo can be determined as an individual human being. From this I believe that an embryo is a person in biological meaning after 14 or 16 days. However, the definition of “person” given by Boethius is “natur? rationalis individua substantia” (Boethius 74). What it means is that if someone who does not have rational yet or permanently loses it, it is uncertain that is the one a person. Form Boethius’s view, I argue that embryo may not be a person. It may be a potential person. On the other hand, if “person” means a person who has personhood, the problem is another matter. Mary Anne Warren suggests the concept of personhood (Warren):
- Consciousness (of objects and events external and/or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain;
- Reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems);
- Self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct exte… middle of paper …ng, this does not exclude essential changes in some individuals, make it from something becomes something else, perhaps, more appropriate and less likely to cause misunderstanding of expression should be “has the potential to develop into a person.
”In conclusion, I have argued that an embryo has the potential to develop into a person. Hence an embryo is a potential person, but not a person yet. Therefore, an embryo has the right to life.
- Boethius. Liber Contra Eutychen et Nestorium. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010.
- Buckle, Stephen. “Arguing from potential.” Bioethics 7 1988: 227-253.
- Damschen, Gregor, Alfonso Gomez-Lobo and Dieter Schonecker. “Sixteen Days? A Reply to B. Smith and B. Brogaard on the Beginning of Human Individuals.” Journal of Medicine & Philosophy April 2006: 165-175.
- Warren, Mary Anne. On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion. 22 03 2004.