Hello! How do I respond to the claim that abortion is permissible until the embryo becomes conscious? Would it be sufficient to respond that consciousness is not essential to humanity/what makes a person a person from a scientific standpoint, but that rather the genetic code is? Thank you!
If active consciousness is an essential element of human rights then anyone who is unconscious for any length of time could be “morally” killed during the period of unconsciousness. Do we go in and out of “personhood” when we sleep and wake?
And if self-consciousness is a requirement to be considered a person, then newborn infants would not be persons. And that is where this kind of definition would lead. As pro-choice philosopher Peter Singer argues:
Self-consciousness, which could provide a basis for holding that it is wrong to kill one being and replace it with another, is not to be found in either the fetus or the newborn infant. Neither the fetus nor the newborn infant is an individual capable of regarding itself as a distinct entity with a life of its own to lead, and it is only for newborn infants, or for still earlier stages of human life, that replaceability should be considered to be an ethically acceptable option.
How many people, outside of Peter Singer, are eager to argue for the morality of infanticide?