Are those who subscribe to the view that early embryos are persons irrational and inconsistent? A reply to Brock

J Med Ethics. 2007 Feb;33(2):102-6. doi: 10.1136/jme.2006.016311.


Dan Brock has asserted that those who claim that the early embryo has full moral status are not consistent, and that the rationality of such a position is dubious when it is adopted from a religious perspective. I argue that both claims are flawed. Starting with the second claim, which is grounded in Brock's moral abstolutist position, I argue that Brock has provided no argument on why the religious position should be less rational than the secular position. With regard to the first claim, I argue that those who hold the view that the early embryo has full moral status can be consistent even if they do not oppose sexual reproduction, even if they do not grieve as much over the loss of embryos as over the loss of other humans, even if they prefer to save one child instead of 100 embryos in the event of fire, and even if they do not accept racism and sexism.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Embryo, Mammalian*
  • Ethics, Clinical
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Personhood*
  • Religion