Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Does location determine personhood?
I have been reading through The Ethics of Abortion: Women’s Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice by Christopher Kaczor. It is a philosophical defense of the pro-life position and the notion that the unborn is a human person. In his discussion of partial-birth abortion, Kaczor makes the following point:
In Sternberg v. Carhart, later reversed in Gonzalez v. Carhart, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a constitutional right to… partial-birth abortion, and with it affirmed the legality of the conventional pro-choice view that abortion ought to be legally permissible through all nine months of pregnancy, until the human being has been entirely removed from the mother’s body. The court gave no justification why moving the head of the child just a few inches marks the crucial distinction between non-personhood and personhood… (52, cited below)
Frankly, I think this is something that any pro-choice individual must deal with: what is it about the location of the unborn which conveys personhood or prevents the unborn from being a person? What is it, that is, which transforms the unborn from non-person to person as the unborn is birthed?
Check out my other posts on the debate over abortion.
Christopher Kaczor, The Ethics of Abortion: Women’s Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice (New York: Routledge, 2011).