DNA, Masterpieces, and Abortion: Shifting the Grounds of the Debate

Writers, philosophers, and theologians have oft made the comparison between being a mature human being and a masterpiece work of art or design. Employing the analogy between the creation of artistic value and the creation of full-fledged human value, this paper stakes out a middle ground between pro-choice and pro-life by considering a more general account of value and the relationship between being a potential X and a mature implementation of X's potential. I argue that the value of a potential X is a function of a number of factors, most importantly, what I call the "accessibility relation" between a potential X and a full-fledged instantiation of this potential. The value is as much intrinsic to the “seed” as to some future implementation of the seed’s potential. This approach inclines even a secular humanist to reasonably confer a significant degree of moral value to a human conceptus, and even more to an early term fetus.
Keywords abortion  potential person  potential value  abortion value  potential personhood  abortion DNA  value of a human being  potential future value  potentiality  personhood
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