American Journal of Bioethics 8 (7):34 – 39 (2008)
AbstractDespite its prominence in the abortion debate and in public policy, the discourse of 'unborn patient' has not been subjected to critical scrutiny. We provide a critical analysis in three steps. First, we distinguish between the descriptive and normative meanings of 'unborn child.' There is a long history of the descriptive use of 'unborn child.' Second, we argue that the concept of an unborn child has normative content but that this content does not do the work that opponents of abortion want it to do, namely, to establish the independent moral status of fetuses and their rights, the right to life in particular. Third, we argue that the normative content of 'unborn child' should be dependent moral status, not independent moral status. We conclude that the ethical concept of the fetus as a patient should replace the discourse of “unborn child” when that phrase is used normatively
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Citations of this work
An Ethically Justified Framework for Clinical Investigation to Benefit Pregnant and Fetal Patients.Laurence B. McCullough & Frank A. Chervenak - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics 11 (5):39-49.
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The Moral Status of the Human Embryo.Mark T. Brown - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (2):132-158.
Ethnographic Insights Regarding the “Social Role” and “Moral Status” of the Fetus as “Patient”: Comparing Developed (United States & Sweden) and Developing (India) Countries.Catherine Myser - 2008 - American Journal of Bioethics 8 (7):50-52.
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References found in this work
John Gregory and the Invention of Professional Medical Ethics and Profession of Medicine.Laurence B. McCullough - 1998 - Springer Verlag.
Ethics in Obstetrics and Gynecology.Laurence B. McCullough, Frank A. Chervenak & Susan M. Scott - 1995 - HEC Forum 7 (6):379-380.