Know thy foetus


If the philosophical question of when consciousness begins and ends is so contentious, then perhaps this article in New Scientist, about the sensory abilities of a growing foetus, will help to demystify the issue through scientific data. To frame Linda Geddes‘ piece in a more prosaic context, this information could certainly help many women come to a decision about terminating a pregnancy. Whether or not she believes abortion is morally acceptable (and I’d like to state that I am absolutely pro-choice), the emotional trauma experienced by a woman making the decision to abort a foetus or continue with her pregnancy cannot be denied – especially if she is ill-informed about the physiological characteristics and sensory-motor abilities of the foetus.

I hope this kind of information is available in schools, doctors’ surgeries and sexual health centres.


One Response to “Know thy foetus”

  1. Nick Says:

    Yep, a worthwhile article, though I think terms like “consciousness” only play into the hands of mystics and pro-lifers, and should be avoided.

    I’m no fan of Richard Rorty, but he was definitely on to something when suggesting that philosophers invent and maintain pseudo-problems so they can spend tidy careers arguing about them.

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