By Hilary White
August 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) “Membership of the species Homo sapiens is not enough to confer a right to life.”
Philosopher and Bioethicist Peter Singer defended abortion in an op-ed in the Scotsman today.
“Opponents will respond that abortion is, by its very nature, unsafe – for the fetus,” he wrote. “They point out that abortion kills a unique, living human individual. That claim is difficult to deny, at least if by ‘human’ we mean ‘member of the species Homo sapiens.”
Singer is among the cadre of leading thinkers who maintain that being a human being isn’t enough to confer any legal rights. To be a “person,” one must fulfill a particular set of criteria.
“It is also true that we cannot simply invoke a woman’s ‘right to choose’ in order to avoid the ethical issue of the moral status of the fetus,” Singer continued. “If the fetus really did have the moral status of any other human being, it would be difficult to argue that a pregnant woman’s right to choose includes the right to bring about the death of the fetus, except perhaps when the woman’s life is at stake.
“The fallacy in the anti-abortion argument lies in the shift from the scientifically accurate claim that the fetus is a living individual of the species Homo sapiens to the ethical claim that the fetus therefore has the same right to life as any other human being.”
Contrary to how he sounds, Peter Singer is not some obscure crank, writing for a tiny audience of like-minded nutters. Probably most famous for being the “father” of the modern animal rights movement, he is also widely regarded as the most influential bioethicist in the world. Continues…