Ultrasound Viewers’ Attribution of Moral Status to Fetal Humans: A Case for Presumptive Rationality

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Heidi M. Giebel
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8040-2119

Abstract

As several studies, along with a book and movie depicting the true story of a former clinic director, have recently brought to the public’s attention, fetal ultrasound images dramatically impact some viewers’ normative judgments: a small but non-negligible proportion of viewers attribute increased moral status to fetal humans and even form the belief that abortion is impermissible. I consider three types of psychological explanation for a viewer’s shift in beliefs: (1) increased bonding or empathy, (2) various forms of cognitive bias, and (3) type of cognitive processing involved. I consider the normative implications of each explanation, arguing that in each case the viewer’s judgment is presumptively rational.

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How to Cite
GIEBEL, H. M. Ultrasound Viewers’ Attribution of Moral Status to Fetal Humans: A Case for Presumptive Rationality. Diametros, v. 17, n. 64, p. 22-35, 19 Jun. 2020.
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