Whether abortion and infanticide are permissible has been debated for a long time in philosophical literature and continues to this day. In this paper, I will assume without argument that one’s view about the moral status of the fetus and newborn will determine what side he/she comes down on in this debate. I am also proceeding with the assumption that personhood is not a conventional or linguistically effective device that has little or no connection to reality. Persons exist and personhood itself is real. With that being said, I will defend a more controversial claim that will undoubtedly stir a hornet’s nest. This will be stated succinctly but will be defended in greater detail throughout the paper: If the fetus and newborn are not persons, then abortion and infanticide are permissible. If a 3-year-old child is a person but to a lesser degree than a 14-year-old, then the 3-year-old child’s moral status is lower than the 14-year old’s. If no adequate threshold exists conjoined with the fact of metaphysical disparity among human beings that are persons, then no two human persons are moral equals.
Williamson, Benjamin Leon
"Personhood, Threshold and Equality,"
Quaerens Deum: The Liberty Undergraduate Journal for Philosophy of Religion: Vol. 6
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lujpr/vol6/iss1/6