What are the similarities and differences between the questions of abortion and animal ethics?What is the connection between personhood and rights?
What are our Moral Obligations Toward Animals?
In the previous unit (Unit 7) we have discussed the morality of abortion. Two of the main moral considerations were the status of the fetus and the right of the pregnant woman to make decisions that affect her own body. Regarding the status of the fetus, the question is whether a fetus is a person. For many this is an important question because if the fetus is a person, then it is immoral to kill it; if it isn’t, then abortion is morally permissible. Regarding the rights of the pregnant woman, it is argued that the morality of abortion stems from whether a woman can make any decision she wishes about her own body, including whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.
Having considered these points, what are the similarities and differences between the questions of abortion and animal ethics? What is the connection between personhood and rights? Do you think some animals are moral persons? If not, do you agree that some animals have at least the right to life. On what principle can that right be based?