When does human life begin? This is the question that is fundamental to the issue of abortion. Whether or not an abortion should be legal needs to be based on the answer to the question of if, and at what point a foetus becomes person. Do the rights of the mother ever override the foetus's right? Does a foetus have the same right to life as an adult person? If a foetus is given this right to life then is abortion the same as killing? When, if ever, is it right to terminate a pregnancy? .
To begin to address these questions I will examine some of the main reasons for and against the view that abortion is a form of killing most notably by examining the conservative position, and the liberal position. .
I would like to present my examination of abortion by looking firstly at the Liberal Argument. This approach claims that in almost all cases the mother has the right to terminate a pregnancy, at any time and for any reason. The foetus is no more human than an appendix or liver. .
Mary Anne Warren's Argument for Abortion is that of a liberal one. In her article, On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, she writes that .
" A women's right to protect her health, happiness, freedom, and even her life, by terminating an unwanted pregnancy, will always override whatever right to life it may be appropriate to ascribe to a foetus, even a fully developed one."".
Warren believes that abortion is legitimate because the foetus has not yet fully developed into a person and doesn't yet have moral characteristics it maybe a human being but not necessarily a person. Fundamentally it doesn't satisfy five character traits. These are: .
Consciousness of objects and events around us and also within us we should have the ability to feel pain: .
Reasoning, the ability to solve new and complex problems.
Be able to Self-motivate activity.
Be able to communicate.
Be aware of self-concepts and self-awareness, .
Because a foetus doesn't hold these five characters, it is not entitled to full moral status, and can be terminated during any stage of pregnancy.