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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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2 Responses

  1. Asia
    Asia September 24, 2013 at 1:39 am |

    I think we already know that at some-point in the later months of pregnancy the fetus’s brain crosses a threshold where it bears quite a lot of similarity to a newborn’s brain: the ability to feel pain, the ability to learn etc. These are all gained before a child is born. However, all the reasons a woman might choose to abort a fetus at that stage of pregnancy are still valid. The central premise of the pro-choice movement is that personhood is formed when a being can/does exist at least semi-independently. (In reality, a newborn doesn’t exist very independently)

    1. matlun
      matlun September 24, 2013 at 8:46 am |

      The OP made a very good and clear argument that the question when the fetus can feel pain is largely an irrelevant question anyway.

      The central premise of the pro-choice movement is that personhood is formed when a being can/does exist at least semi-independently

      I think we should not just assume that there is any clear line where “personhood is formed”. It is a gradual process and any such definition is a fairly subjective social construct.

      The emotional need to have such a clear line is what has made the pro-life position of “life starts at conception” attractive to many, but it is a fallacy.

      We can then also have a separate discussion whether abortion is moral even after the point that we think the fetus/baby has a separate right to life. As in “A Defense of Abortion”

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