To what extent, if any, does neuroscience apply to the abortion debate?
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In this paper I aim to show that the findings of neuroscience are applicable to the abortion debate. I advance the thesis that there is empirical warrant for a morally significant point of discontinuity in the process of pregnancy. As evidence for this I present: The case for thalamo-cortical-thalamic connections (TCT’s) as necessary for any consciousness in the human subject. Further, that the necessary substrates for these TCT’s are not present until the 22nd week of gestation. I believe this provides an important discontinuity which has a significant impact on the abortion debate. Under this thesis abortions prior to 22 weeks are unproblematic, given that there are not grounds for considering the prenate as a morally significant entity. Whereas, after this point, abortions may require overriding considerations in favour of the mother in order to be permissible. From this point I believe there are grounds for considering the prenate as a morally significant entity in virtue of its possession of a mind-like-ours. I present this standpoint by way of comparison with the positions of Oderberg, Marquis, Thomson and the current legal criterion of viability, and believe it is capable of addressing their largest issues and their possible responses against my own theory.