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Abortion & Inconsistencies in U.S. Law

The purpose of this research is to examine the issue of abortion and the apparent inconsistency in U.S. law that asserts fetal viability after six months of in utero development yet also asserts the issuance of death certificates for fetuses of 500 grams or more, in the context of the American debate over when life begins. The plan of the research will be to set forth a description of the inconsistency and then to discuss how it informs the debate over when life begins, with reference to Morgan's analytic distinction between the concepts human and person and to views of these concepts held by a variety of societies.

American law is inconsistent in its assertion of fetal viability after six months of development while also mandating treatment of morbid 1 lb 3 oz (500-gram) fetuses as human beings requiring death certificates partly for biological reasons. The biological fact is that if the fetus becomes ex utero after reaching this weight, it will not survive; indeed, although by the sixth month of pregnancy the typical fetus reaches a weight of 1 lb 6 oz, it is the case that internal organs do not sufficiently develop until during (not as of!) the seventh month to survive ex utero (Roche, 1975, p. 435). Accordingly, the need to issue a death certificate based on fetus weight can be viewed as assigning morphological significance in the form of personhood when personhood development is still a medical impossibility. At the same time, an arbitrary third-trimester abortion cutoff date for fetal ex utero viability overlooks the fetal-weight convention embedded into law, but that view of viability is based on moral concerns and legal argument, not on morphological development--any more than the 500-gram convention is. Meanwhile, no less a moral authority than the Catholic Church, which holds that life begins at conception, does not make a project of funerals for every miscarriage on the planet. These facts are in the background ...

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Abortion & Inconsistencies in U.S. Law. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 21:40, July 01, 2022, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1712028.html