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Finn Is

Finn Is

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Published by Cody Herrmann

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Published by: Cody Herrmann on Dec 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1Finnis on Abortion1.
The Murder Argument"In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus inthe womb …To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is aman which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed."Tertullian,
9:8A definition of murder:A murder is an act that intentionally ends the life of an innocent human being.P1. No act of murder is morally acceptable.P2. All abortions are acts of murder.C. Therefore, no abortion is morally acceptable.1.2.
A response to the Murder ArgumentTwo senses of ‘human being’:(a)
A human being is a collection of living human cells.(b)
A human being is a
who has moral rights.Some people (like Donceel) claim that
There is a time during gestation when an embryo becomes a person;
Prior to this time abortion is morally acceptable;
After this time abortion is not morally acceptable.2.
Finnis’ Arguments2.1. Finnis’ Version of the Murder ArgumentGeneral idea: Abortion is always wrong, because embryos / fetuses are persons from themoment of conception.P1. It is never morally right to end the life of a human person.P2. The unborn are human persons.C1. It is never morally right to end the life of the unborn.
2P3. All abortions end the life of the unborn.C2. All abortions are morally wrong.2.2. Finnis’ Rationale for P2:“Even the youngest human embryo already has the biological capacity appropriate tosupporting specifically human operations such as self-consciousness, rationality andchoice…the active potentiality which he or she already has includes the very capacitieswhich are distinctive of persons.” (KS 18).P1. Every embryo/fetus has an active potential to become a person.P2. Anything that has the active potential to become a person has the same rightsas a (full-grown) person.C1. Every embryo/fetus has the same rights as a (full-grown) person.P3. Anything that has the same rights as a (full-grown) person is a person.C2. Therefore, an embryo/fetus is a person.3. The Implications of Finnis’ View3.1. Some different scenarios in which an abortion may be sought:
Rare cases where bringing the fetus to term will cause the death of the pregnant woman;
The pregnant woman’s health will be severely endangered if the fetus is brought to term;
Cases where the infant will (almost certainly) be born with severeimpairments, like Tay-Sachs disease;
Cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest;
The pregnant woman is unmarried, and does not want to have a child out of wedlock;
Cases where having a child will present an unbearable financial burden;
Cases where having a child will interfere with the happiness of the woman or her family.3.2.
Finnis’ view implies that abortion is morally unacceptable even when
the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or 

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