Preembryo personhood: An assessment of the president's council arguments [Book Review]

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (5):433-453 (2006)
The President’s Council on Bioethics has addressed the moral status of human preembryos in its reports on stem cell research and human therapeutic cloning. Although the Council has been criticized for being hand-picked to favor the right-to-life viewpoint concerning human preembryos, it has embraced the idea that the right-to-life position should be defended in secular terms. This is an important feature of the Council’s work, and it demonstrates a recognition of the need for genuine engagement between opposing sides in the debate over stem cell research. To promote this engagement, the Council has stated in secular terms several arguments for the personhood of human preembryos. This essay presents and critiques those arguments, and it concludes that they are unsuccessful. If the best arguments in support of the personhood of human preembryos have been presented by the Council, then there are no reasonable secular arguments in support of that view.
Keywords embryo  essential property  moral standing  personhood  preembryo   President’s Council on Bioethics  stem cell  substantial identity  therapeutic cloning
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-006-9016-7
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Peter Singer (1993). Practical Ethics. Cambridge University Press.

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