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fetus as person

Ron Apland apland at mala.bc.ca
Wed Feb 19 11:28:37 EST 1997

> I initially thought this a rather far-fetched and strained argument until 
> I read his next point, which was:
> "The trophoblastic parts of the conceptus are alive, are human, and the 
> cells have the same genetic composition as the zygote, fetus, and baby. 
> If any or all of these criteria were used to define personhood in 
> constructing the argument for a legislated assertion that the zygote and 
> its derivates are a person, then the practice of cutting the cord, 
> interrupting blood supply to the placenta, and letting the expelled 
> placenta die would become murder in the eyes of the law".

I think I'm still with your initial thought although I must admit the
arugument is interesting.  The placenta and other supporting tissues 
are no different than any other tissue system whether it be a tooth,
a membrane, an organ, or a limb.  The loss of any of these is not considered
the death of a person because they are not what we define as a person
in law or in common sense.  While I admire the effort to find some
biological definition of "person" I don't think one will be found.  Its
a legal definition based on the values of the society responsible for
the legal system.  As such it will always be open to criticism by others
with a different value system.


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