chapter  6
Does the Human Embryo Have Rights?
Pages 24

Although the idea that all human beings are fundamentally equal has certainly been criticized, since we have already examined many such critiques (e.g., Tooley, Singer, Warren, Engelhardt, Boonin), here the focus will be on several major objections to the view that the human embryo is a person, a being due fundamental respect. Although most abortions take place eight weeks or more after conception, after the human fetus has a beating heart, an individual blood type, and the ability to suck his or her thumb, the issue of the personhood of the early embryo has particular relevance for certain forms of chemical abortion, the most famous of which is RU-486, a method now used for approximately 6% of all abortions. Even aside from debates about abortion, the human embryo’s moral status has tremendous import for discussions about embryonic stem cell research.