In Warren’s “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” she argues against the anti-abortionists argument. The anti-abortionist argument goes as follows:
It is wrong to kill innocent human beings.
Fetuses are innocent human beings.
Therefore, it is wrong to kill fetuses (Warren 53).
Warren specifically attacks premise 2 (Fetuses are innocent human beings.) Warren’s biggest concern regarding the anti-abortionists argument is that she is unsure of what they mean by “human beings”. She states that there is a significant difference between being genetically human and being a person who belongs to the moral community. From there, she goes on to say that being biologically human is not sufficient to be considered a person. It is only by belonging to the moral community that a human may be considered a person. After that, Warren lays out specific criteria that must be met to be a member of the moral community. The five criteria that must be met are: consciousness (and the capacity to feel pain), reasoning, self motivated activity, capacity to communicate, and ...
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...at someone is actively killing a member of the moral community. This causes a problem when a real life case, such as Dax Cowart’s, and supporters of certain cases of active voluntary euthanasia, such as Philippa Foot, go against her view. The lack of consideration of both charity and justice in these cases of active voluntary euthanasia causes a hole in Warren’s view. This can then cause those who agree with Warren’s limited view to act in ways that can infringe the justice or charity of others. This was evident in the case of active nonvoluntary euthanasia for a person in a persistent vegetative state, who through Warren’s view could be actively euthanized because of their lack of moral personhood. Overall, it is evident that Warren did not consider cases of euthanasia when coming up with her criteria for moral personhood and this ultimately leaves holes in her view.
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