Early Borders: Implications of Fetal Status
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This thesis will examine the implications of different assumptions from opposing ethical viewpoints on topics concerning embryos and fetuses. This essay seeks to clarify the assumptions ethicists and medical professionals make about the status of the fetus in debates about abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and prenatal surgery. Three different ethical viewpoints on fetal status articulated by ethicist Gene Outka will guide the analysis of implications of their ethical view on each of those topics. Adopting a methodology informed by meta-ethical discourse instead of normative ethics that uses each of the three opposing stances about fetal status adopts a neutral stance on these controversial issues. After an initial chapter defining fetal status according to the three viewpoints, subsequent chapters will reveal how each of these stances are found in debates about abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and prenatal surgery.