Personhood: Morality and Mary Anne Warren

Table of Content

Personhood – Ethics Homework
Abortion and Personhood.
Abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. An abortion would usually be performed during the first 28 weeks. There are a lot of questions raised when talking about abortion including is it morally right or wrong to do it? There are many different views on the subject. Some people believe that abortion should be accepted under certain circumstances. For example if the mother’s life is at risk than people believe it should be allowed. When we are discussing the argument of abortion the idea of personhood is raised. Personhood is the status of being a person; it is the quality or condition of being an individual person. Personhood might be claimed when looking at the different stages in the development of a foetus. The question of at what point is a foetus considered a person usually comes up in the debate of is abortion right. Some people believe the foetus should have human rights so then the idea of human life will also come up too. Human life may mean a member of the biological human species and having the human genetic code. A human life is believed to be a moral person and someone with human rights. Mary Anne Warren

Mary Anne Warren was an American writer and a philosophy professor. She was famous for her writings on the issue of abortion. She believed that abortion is acceptable at any stage in a pregnancy and under any circumstances as she argued that foetuses cannot have a moral standing, they do not have personhood. Warren claimed that ‘the moral community consists not of human beings but only people.’ Warren came up with a list of 5 characteristics to help define weather a human being had personhood: 1) Consciousness.

2) Reasoning.
3) Self motivated activity.
4) Capacity to communicate.
5) Presence of self-concepts and self-awareness.
Warren said that a foetus had none of these features therefore they did not have personhood and abortion should be allowed. She also said that there is no stage in the foetuses development were the foetus resembles a person enough to have a significant right to life therefore abortion should be

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