Reinterpreting the 'quickening' perspective in the abortion debate

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (2):161-171 (2009)
Personhood constitutes the pivotal point in the abortion debate. There exists a diversity of views as to when foetal personhood actually starts—from conception and implantation to viability and even birth. One perspective that has lost support for decades is that of quickening, a stance associated with Lord Ellenborough’s 1803 Act. This paper attempts to put quickening back into the limelight, albeit through a new interpretation. After discussing its philosophy and underpinning rationale, I will assess a number of arguments that have been directed against quickening as a viable point of distinction. I conclude by suggesting that according to modern proponents of quickening proponents, rational soul ensoulment begins after a certain degree of cerebral cortical formation has been realized, thus marking foetal volition, which promotes foetal interests, for the first time.
Keywords Abortion  Personhood  Quickening
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11017-009-9102-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,201
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Judith Jarvis Thomson (1971). A Defense of Abortion. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

63 ( #75,682 of 1,940,948 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

16 ( #46,398 of 1,940,948 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.