Is the right to an abortion the same as the right to kill human being?


If a fetus could be safely and simply removed from a woman and put in an artificial womb where it could grow normally, would a woman have a right to kill it instead?

Yurii Khalaim

Posted 2018-01-23T01:01:56.747

Reputation: 79

Question was closed 2018-01-24T16:18:35.787

Welcome to Philosophy SE,Yuri. I'm pretty sure you realise you've raised an emotionally charged subject, but I'd rather focus on the question of rights. Rights are effectively granted by your political system, not by your conscience. While a good government respects the role that a persons own morality and sense of ethics play, they are not generally required to do so. I suspect that the question you're really asking is whether it would be moral or ethical to do so, rather than whether or not it's a right. If so, please clarify your post. – Tim B II – 2018-01-23T01:14:31.160

1Unborn children have always been recognized as human beings until someone wants to kill them, so it's an abuse of words for people to claim that they somehow have a "right" to do so. Contrary to what @TimB says, political systems are not the source of our right to life; rather, it is endowed to us by our Creator as unalienable, so no government has the authority to deprive us of it without due process of law. – None – 2018-01-23T01:36:03.090

@PédeLeão; you said it yourself; 'without due process of law'. ALL governments have the right to enact whatever laws they want and can violate our basic human rights at will; they do it all the time. As for your belief that a creator has endowed us with inalienable rights, you're assuming a ubiquitous belief in that creator, which doesn't exist. The reality is that the only weapon we really have against a government that violates our rights is revolution, and history shows that costs a lot of the lives we have a right to enjoy. – Tim B II – 2018-01-23T02:39:17.117

1Based on what system of morality? At present the question can only attract personal and emotionally charged opinions which we do not need here. Under Christian style ethics no, under many secular ones yes with caveats. It all depends on the ethical status of the fetus and how it enters into weighing pros and cons. – Conifold – 2018-01-23T04:45:04.913


Maybe there is a conflict between different rights and their "owners": the (alleged) right of the fetus vs the right of the mother that "bear" the fetus.

– Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2018-01-23T09:50:14.920

1@TimB. The phrase "due process of law" does not, by any means, imply that governments have the right to enact whatever law they want. Governments are bound to act within the authority that God gives them whether you choose to acknowledge His existence or not. I don't need to assume a "ubiquitous belief" because our beliefs don't in any way alter the fact of the matter. – None – 2018-01-23T10:33:52.373

In the most literal sense, the right to kill something growing inside you (even if it could be removed + grow somewhere else) is different from the right to kill something that doesn't grow inside you. So, no, the two rights aren't exactly equal. – None – 2018-01-23T16:20:27.577

@PédeLeão, ah, yes. It DOES mean they can enact any law they want. That's the whole point and a modicum of legal training will tell you that. The only common limitation is a constitution, which can changed by plebiscite in most cases and can be suspended via declaration of emergency. Conifold has it right above; under YOUR belief structure the answer maybe no, but governments are not bound by your belief that their power comes from God, hence the need for ubiquitous belief for your model to work. The Bible (or Koran, or Torah) is not a legally binding document. – Tim B II – 2018-01-23T21:21:44.630

No one has the right to "remove" a fetus from its mother for any reason, because such practices amount to human trafficking. Human beings should never be treated like commodities or chattel -- by anyone. – Bread – 2018-10-30T01:10:43.253



Science tells us that a human fetus is a distinct human being. Abortion ends the life of that human being. Therefore, a right to abortion entails the right to end a human life.


Posted 2018-01-23T01:01:56.747

Reputation: 29

This does not answer the question. He is talking about abortion in a context where you could let the fetus grow in an artificial womb. He is asking about the ethical and moral implications of this, not your edgy opinion. – AK_is_curious – 2018-01-23T11:12:55.813

2"Science tells us that a human fetus is a distinct human being." Can you provide a source for this claim? What is a human being in this context and how is it measured emperically? If a fetus is a human being then there must be a point where an embryo crosses the line into being a human being rather than cells. It would be helpful if you can provide where this demarcation is unless you are suggesting that cells are also a human being in which case I'd like to see a source for this too. – syntonicC – 2018-01-23T12:28:43.383

AK_is_curious ... is right. This does not answer the question but it should be allowed to stand because it makes the exact question contrastively even clearer. – Geoffrey Thomas – 2018-01-23T12:35:24.377

Science does not even have an exact idea about what "a human being" exactly is (as in: there is no scientific concept that is unproblematic). There are books full of arguments against the very possibility of such a concept. And you simply claim here that science tells us a fetus is one? This is not how StackExchange works. You need sources to back up your claims. – Philip Klöcking – 2018-01-23T13:31:14.920

@PhilipKlöcking. Do you have any reason to believe that you're a human being? – None – 2018-01-23T14:31:42.603

@PédeLeão: That is off-topic for both the post and my comment. For a philosophical overview, including scientifical texts, see Kronfeldner, Maria, Roughley, Neil & Toepfer, Georg (2014): 'Recent Work on Human Nature: Beyond Traditional Essences', Philosophy Compass 9:9, pp. 642–652. Quote: "essentialism in scientific contexts has been challenged as being incompatible with contemporary knowledge in biology" (p. 642) – Philip Klöcking – 2018-01-23T14:38:29.087

@PhilipKlöcking. It is not off-topic because if you believe you're a human being without an exact scientific definition, then you have little justification for demanding references for something that is obvious to you as much as anyone else, especially when you don't usually demonstrate such strictness with respect to references in other questions. – None – 2018-01-23T16:30:49.280

@PédeLeão: This is not about full-grown adults capable of self-reference as something. This is about limiting cases where there, in fact, are a lot of people questioning too inclusive a concept as unjustifiable with good reasons. You may argue against them, but one shouldn't ignore them (esp. when referring to the very same group, i.e. scientists). Second, there have been flags focusing attention. I would very much like to demand the same level of reference for every post, but it doesn't seem to be what the community wants in every case. But this case is particularly controversial. – Philip Klöcking – 2018-01-23T16:44:50.820

@PhilipKlöcking. Given than people tend become more inhuman as they grow older, it seems that adults should clearly be considered more among the limiting cases than an unborn child. And for that very reason, there should be absolutely nothing controversial about protecting their lives. Besides that, don't you think it would be gross negligence to kill something, knowing that it might be another human being? Although I agree with you that questions should have more references, your attempts to justify yourself don't appear to be based on well-reasoned arguments. – None – 2018-01-23T17:54:47.577

@PédeLeão this response claims science as its authority to be accepted as an answer. The entire point of science is that when someone makes a claim other people can investigate the material by which that claim is made. Attempting to deny that request for material because someone can't answer a philosophical debate to your satisfaction is absurd. – StarWeaver – 2018-01-24T12:17:18.157

@StarWeaver. You're missing the point because I'm all in favor of references. However, he was demonstrating a bias which he doesn't normally show with other questions and justifying his behavior by questioning the humanity of unborn children. That, of course, doesn't make sense given that unborn children are, if there could be said to exists a difference, more human than adults. – None – 2018-01-24T12:56:47.563

@PédeLeão: Being a human being is meant to be a descriptive category. Either you are in it or not. Speaking of something being "more human" brings in a totally different thing: normative considerations of morality, innocence, etc. Mixing these aspects does not provide an argument for them being in the category, it just says that given they are human beings [descriptive], they are more human [normative]. Apart from that, I do not know of a single system of morality except those that explicitly work in terms of religious dogma that states that a fetus is [normatively] more human than grown-ups. – Philip Klöcking – 2018-01-24T15:20:15.153

@PhilipKlöcking. There's no need to debate about various systems of morality, because there is only one by which we'll be judged. It's up to each of us to figure out which one that is. And while you're trying to figure it out, I'm going to keep on speaking up in defense of unborn children. – None – 2018-01-24T15:45:15.137