How is the moral status of the fetus best determined? The necessary conditions that
determine when the living thing becomes a person, with moral status, are based
on scientific and individual beliefs.
I will defend my claim by presenting psychological criteria, biological criteria and
I will begin with an example from Judith Thompson a philosophy professor. The
Story best demonstrates that, the moral status of the fetus is based on individual belief.
The story goes like this " A terrified fourteen-year-old high-school girl whose
pregnancy has been caused by rape has already suffered one severe trauma. If she is now
required, over her protests, to carry the child to full term despite her fear, anguish, deep
depression, and fancied public mortification, the harmful ramifications may be hundred
It is the woman's individual belief that it does not matter to her what the moral
status of the fetus may be. She wants the pregnancy terminated. This would be a
useful moral exercise if all individuals could put themselves in her place.
Next, biological criteria may be based on scientific methods that were used
several hundred years ago. Our perception of the scientific methods used to determine
when a fetus become a person may differ. Such as Catholics may say the fetus
becomes a person with full moral status at the time of conception. Scientist's
may say it is 8 days after conception because of cell division. Doctor's may say
20 days because that is when the can see the heart beating.
All of these examples demonstrate differing interpretations of scientific methods
used to determine when a fetus becomes a person with moral status. The examples
also demonstrate that the moral status of a fetus is based on unsound biological