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Published On: Mon, Aug 14th, 2017

Princeton Professor Elizabeth Harman defends abortion, not immoral because fetus has no future

A video involving a discussion of abortion between actor James Franco and two professors is causing quite a bit of controversy as the topic of morality is totally dismissed.

Franco and Professor Eliot Michaelson hosted the video which is part of Franco’s series of YouTube videos discussing philosophical issues. Franco and Michaelson interview Princeton Professor Elizabeth Harman who is a defender of abortion and argues that it is morally neutral.

“I think if a fetus hasn’t ever been conscious, it hasn’t ever had any experiences, and we aborted it at that stage actually nothing morally bad happens,” she said.

She admitted that this view may seem very “unattractive” or “cold,” but, she continues, “what I think is actually among early fetuses there are two very different kinds of beings. So, James, when you were an early fetus, and Eliot, when you were an early fetus, all of us I think we already did have moral status then. But we had moral status in virtue of our futures. And future of fact that we were beginnings stages of persons. But some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. That’s something that doesn’t have a future as a person and it doesn’t have moral status.”

Check out the clip and transcript of selected section below.

photo: 14 week fetus photo/ Your Pregnancy week by week

 

Harman: In some of my work I defend a liberal position about early abortion. I defend the view that there is nothing morally bad about early abortion. So, a lot of people think, ‘Well it’s permissible to have an abortion, but something bad happens when the fetus dies.’ And I think if a fetus hasn’t ever been conscious, it hasn’t ever had any experiences, and we aborted it at that stage actually nothing morally bad happens. And this view might seem unattractive because it might seem that it dictates a cold attitude towards all early fetuses. But, what I think is actually among early fetuses there are two very different kinds of beings. So, James, when you were an early fetus, and Eliot, when you were an early fetus, all of us I think we already did have moral status then. But we had moral status in virtue of our futures. And future of fact that we were beginnings stages of persons. But some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. That’s something that doesn’t have a future as a person and it doesn’t have moral status.

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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