Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ultrasound and the Future of Confused Wannabe Paternalists

My biggest problem with William Saletan's support for requiring women to view fetal ultrasounds before having an abortion (see Amanda, Scott, and Jessica for attacks from other angles) is that it gives women actively misleading information.  What are you going to learn from an ultrasound that you didn't know already?  Well, obviously you already knew you were pregnant, so all ultrasound adds is the visual experience of your fetus squirming inside you.  This visual experience is apparently of great moral significance to Saletan -- "Ultrasound has exposed the life in the womb to those of us who didn't want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.

Of course, nothing is morally significant about squirming -- ours or the fetus'.  What is significant is whether the fetus has a mind like ours.  If it has no mind, or a mind of such a primitive level that it can't even feel pain, there's no reason to have attitudes of moral concern for it.  The neural hardware for pain perception only starts to show up around week 23, and isn't in place until week 30 of the pregnancy.  So having moral concern for a first-trimester fetus on the basis of the squirming you see in an ultrasound is a mistake.

It's a mistake that lots of people will easily make, though.  People are quick to attribute mental qualities like beliefs, desires, and the ability to feel pain to things that don't have them.  I imagine that lots of anti-abortion activists will be happy enough to let ultrasounds drive home the thought that women are murdering a real person inside them when they have an abortion -- when it turns out that women are doing nothing of the sort.  (As Amanda points out, ultrasounds also cost money, and another part of the anti-abortion strategy is to reduce access to abortion simply by making it more expensive.)

It's hard to see a plausible moral outlook on which ultrasound would be genuinely enlightening as to the morality of abortion.  It's not like an ultrasound is going to show you that the fetus has desires or a soul or a future capacity for having a mind like ours.  There are non-rational processes that all of us are subject to, however, that cause us to see minds in places where no minds exist.  By triggering these processes, ultrasounds promise to sow moral confusion, bad decisions, and unwarranted guilt.

Feminist commentators on Saletan's piece have played up its paternalistic elements.  To quote Jessica:
He claims to “trust women” while simultaneously making the case that women don’t understand what they’re doing when they get abortions; that we’re incapable of making an informed decision without a helping hand from the state.
For my part, I think there's room in the world for paternalism, but if you're going to be a paternalist you need to be better-informed and more rational than the people you're trying to impose your paternalistic requirements on.  By letting his own squirming get the better of him and push him to support a useless and expensive procedure, Saletan fails this test.  Instead of requiring ultrasounds before abortions, perhaps we should require him to reread the medical research on fetal pain before he does any more punditry. 

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Neil,
You say:

>>What is significant is whether the fetus has a mind like ours. If it has no mind, or a mind of such a primitive level that it can't even feel pain, there's no reason to have attitudes of moral concern for it.>>

Why think that if something can't feel pain, or is unconscious, that there's no reason to have attitudes of moral concern for it? Counterexamples: (1) that (perhaps mythical but possible) kid who grew up without the ability to feel pain, (2) people in comas, (3) anesthetized people, (4) sleeping people, etc.

If you say "Well in these cases, there is still a mind, even though the mind can't feel pain (they have a second-order capacity to feel pain, but not a first-order capacity)," your opponent will claim the same for the fetus.

So your quote up there is false.



>>It's a mistake that lots of people will easily make, though. People are quick to attribute mental qualities like beliefs, desires, and the ability to feel pain to things that don't have them.>>

Yeah, but we're also quick to attribute minds to things that DO have them. We seem to have a Reidian faculty of 'sympathy': we just find ourselves believing that there are other minds, in certain situations (e.g. when I see you behaving in a certain way, or when I see fetuses behaving in a certain way).

This faculty delivers beliefs. Perhaps it reliably delivers true beliefs. You seem to just assume that it doesn't.



>>I imagine that lots of anti-abortion activists will be happy enough to let ultrasounds drive home the thought that women are murdering a real person inside them when they have an abortion -- when it turns out that women are doing nothing of the sort.>>

This seems to be a bald assertion. Do you have any arguments or evidence for this claim?



>>It's hard to see a plausible moral outlook on which ultrasound would be genuinely enlightening as to the morality of abortion.>>

Look harder, Neil:
Say we have this Reidian faculty of sympathy. Say it was designed (by evolution, or God, or whatever) to reliably deliver true beliefs about other minds; it is successfully aimed at truth (its deliverances have a high objective probability of being true, in congenial epistemic environments). Say that these ultrasound situations are congenial epistemic environments for this faculty, and say the faculty consistently delivers the belief "this fetus is a person."

Well, then it seems like one would be warranted in believing that the fetus is a person (and are the proper objects of moral concern). In fact, the stronger that one believes this (when the conditions mentioned above are met), the more warrant one enjoys. The stronger one believes this, the better off one is, epistemically.



>>There are non-rational processes that all of us are subject to, however, that cause us to see minds in places where no minds exist. By triggering these processes, ultrasounds promise to sow moral confusion, bad decisions, and unwarranted guilt.>>

Neil, there are also RATIONAL processes that cause us to see minds in places where minds DO exist. You're simply assuming that this ultrasound situation is a case in which no mind exists, without any sort of argument! This is the sloppiest work I've ever seen you produce.


>>Instead of requiring ultrasounds before abortions, perhaps we should require [Saletan] to reread the medical research on fetal pain before he does any more punditry.>>

And perhaps we should require the Ethical Werewolf to reread some externalist epistemology before he does any more punditry.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Responses to some of your questions can be found in my review of Ramesh Ponnuru's Party of Death.

The fetal pain stuff is important not only because it shows that fetuses don't have the capacity for pain, but because it testifies to their general lack of mental complexity, unlike the people in all four of your cases. (Remember that we attribute beliefs and desires to sleeping people.) Do you really think a first-trimester fetus has all the mental capacities of an adult, apart from the ability to feel pain? If it doesn't have as rudimentary a mental capacity as pain sensitivity, probably not.

It's cool to rely on sympathy to tell us what has a mind, until we get good scientific data that tells us otherwise. And that's what we've got here. You're acting as if we don't have any science, when we do.

Anonymous said...

>>Responses to some of your questions can be found in my review of Ramesh Ponnuru's Party of Death.>>

Which questions of mine are answered there?



>>The fetal pain stuff is important not only because it shows that fetuses don't have the capacity for pain, but because it testifies to their general lack of mental complexity, unlike the people in all four of your cases.>>

I'm sure that, before a certain stage, fetuses lack a first-order capacity to feel pain. But anesthetized people lack that capacity. Anesthetized people (usually) have a second-order capacity to feel pain: they are able to be able to feel pain. But fetuses have that exact same second-order capacity: fetuses are able to be able to feel pain (just give them a bit of time!). So lack of a first-order capacity to feel pain doesn't entail lack of personhood. So this fetal pain stuff isn't relevant to the abortion debate.

I don't know what you mean by "mental complexity" here. Fetuses aren't conscious (before a certain stage), alright. But how does that show they aren't persons? If a lack of consciousness entails a lack of personhood, then we all cease to be people for several hours every day. But that's absurd. So it's possible to lack consciousness and still be a person. So you haven't given any reason to suppose that fetuses aren't persons, that they aren't minds.


>>(Remember that we attribute beliefs and desires to sleeping people.)>>

Maybe. I'm not totally sure about that. I may attribute DISPOSITIONS to have beliefs/desires to sleeping people; but dispositions themselves are neither beliefs nor desires.


>>Do you really think a first-trimester fetus has all the mental capacities of an adult, apart from the ability to feel pain?>>

If you mean first-order capacities, of course not. But those aren't relevant to the debate, since adults frequently lack those. Infants lack those. Mentally disabled people lack those. Yet we don't consider these to be cases of non-personhood.

If you mean second-order capacities, then yes, I do think fetuses have enough of the relevant mental capacities of adults. While fetuses can't feel pain (before a certain stage in pregnancy) and I can't feel pain (when given a two-month anesthetic), we are both able to be able to feel pain (just wait two months in each case). Fetuses and infants and (certain) comatose adults can't do arithmetic; but they are all able to be able to do arithmetic (just wait a while).


So the (first-order) capacities that fetuses lack aren't relevant to the debate. And the (second-order) capacities that are (perhaps) relevant to the debate are had by fetuses.



>>It's cool to rely on sympathy to tell us what has a mind, until we get good scientific data that tells us otherwise. And that's what we've got here. You're acting as if we don't have any science, when we do.>>

I'm acting as if the science isn't relevant, since it isn't. How is science even remotely relevant to this question? Dualism and materialism are consistent with all the scientific data. Neither one is made more probable by the data.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I recall reading your exchange with Ponnuru. I left you a comment about it HERE, but you never got back to me. I think I made a good point in that comment about the JAMA article you reference; you should consider the point before you continue to refer to this article as somehow bolstering your position (it doesn't).

Neil Sinhababu said...

Just to repeat a point I made above, we attribute beliefs and desires to sleeping people, but not to fetuses. And that's why the fact that we lose consciousness for several hours a day doesn't do anything here. Sleeping humans have mental dispositions, while there is no reason to think that fetuses do.

Anonymous said...

>>Just to repeat a point I made above, we attribute beliefs and desires to sleeping people, but not to fetuses.>>

Just to repeat my response to your point (which I guess you missed):

(1) Again, I'm not sure that we attribute beliefs and desires to sleeping people. Perhaps we attribute dispositions to have beliefs and desires, but dispositions are not mental states. Dispositions look like this "If x is in circumstance C, x will ______." These conditionals are not mental states.

And another point:

(2) If we don't attribute mental states to fetuses, why are you concerned about mandating ultrasounds? I thought the concern was that these poor ignorant women would find themselves believing that their fetuses were persons. You assume this belief is false without argument.


>>And that's why the fact that we lose consciousness for several hours a day doesn't do anything here.>>

Sure it does. It shows that the following conditional is false:

(A) If a thing is unconscious or can't feel pain, then "there's no reason to have attitudes of moral concern for it."

Say I take a two-month anesthetic. I can't feel pain for two months, but I am such that I will be able to feel pain in two months. Is there any reason to have "attitudes of moral concern" for me? Clearly yes. But this is exactly the position of the developing embryo with respect to pain. So any capacities that are relevant to personhood are ones that the embryo or fetus has.


>>Sleeping humans have mental dispositions, while there is no reason to think that fetuses do.>>

Sure they do. Fetuses satisfy conditionals like this:

(B) If x is in circumstance C, x will have mental state M.

You just have to specify times in your characterization of circumstance C. But we have to do exactly that with sleeping people (or better, people who have taken a pill that renders them comatose for several months). So yes, fetuses do have mental dispositions. If that's relevant to personhood, then fetuses are in the clear.

Neil Sinhababu said...

dispositions are not mental states

Most of the mental states that we credit you with right now, you have in dispositional form. You probably don't occurrently love your mother or desire not to get cancer right now -- you're in these states dispositionally, and that's why one could attribute them to you at this moment. Mental states usually live within our minds in dispositional form, and that the fetus is not in position to have states even in this form is a fact of great significance about it.

We say of sleepers -- "He likes ice cream" or "He wishes for Ireland to be free from the British." Nothing of this kind can be truly stated of a first-trimester fetus.

Anonymous said...

>>Most of the mental states that we credit you with right now, you have in dispositional form.>>

What I've been questioning clearly and consistently for the last few posts is whether this is true, whether dispositions to have mental states are really mental states. I think it's clear that they aren't. The account I gave of dispositions as conditionals or counterfactuals is standard. But conditionals and counterfactuals aren't mental states. So dispositions aren't mental states.


>>You probably don't occurrently love your mother or desire not to get cancer right now -- you're in these states dispositionally, and that's why one could attribute them to you at this moment.>>

I have no idea what it means to say "I'm in these states dispositionally." I'm not in these states at all. What's true is that I am disposed to be in these states. If condition C were to obtain, I would be in these states. But as it stands, I'm not in these states. The fact that I'm disposed to be in these states doesn't mean that I'm in these states (in some obscure mode you call "dispositionally").

My wine glass is disposed to fracture; it is fragile. That doesn't mean that it is in the state of fracture, dispositionally. It means that there are very many circumstances in nearby possible worlds such that if they were to obtain, the glass would fracture. But the fact that this counterfactual is true of my wine glass doesn't mean that my wine glass is in a state of fracture!


>>We say of sleepers -- "He likes ice cream" or "He wishes for Ireland to be free from the British.">>

Right. And what we mean, speaking strictly and philosophically, is that this sleeping person is disposed to have these mental states. But to quote myself:

Fetuses satisfy conditionals like this:

(B) If x is in circumstance C, x will have mental state M.

You just have to specify times in your characterization of circumstance C. But we have to do exactly that with sleeping people (or better, people who have taken a pill that renders them comatose for several months). So yes, fetuses do have mental dispositions. If that's relevant to personhood, then fetuses are in the clear.

Neil Sinhababu said...

But as it stands, I'm not in these states.

The line you're taking on mental dispositions is going to make a mess of a whole bunch of our talk about belief. The vast majority of the time when someone asks, "Does anonymous believe that it's wrong to kill a fetus?" the right answer is going to be, "No, he doesn't have any beliefs on the matter" because you're occupied in some other way. That's clearly the wrong answer.

This stuff about having mental states dispositionally is pretty standard in the philosophy of mind. Ain't nothing obscure about it.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Actually, there's a much better link at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Anonymous said...

>>The line you're taking on mental dispositions is going to make a mess of a whole bunch of our talk about belief.>>

No, it won't. I can make sense of this loose and popular way of speaking, and can give paraphrases. Just like Copernicus could make sense of the loose and popular way of saying "The sun is rising," and just like Van Inwagen can make sense of the loose and popular way of saying "There is a chair here," this view I'm suggesting can make sense of the loose and popular way of saying "This sleeping guy believes that 2+2=4." Just as those sentences come out true on Copernicus' theory and Van Inwagen's theory, the last sentence comes out true on my theory. Paraphrase: "This sleeping person is disposed to believe that 2+2=4."


>>This stuff about having mental states dispositionally is pretty standard in the philosophy of mind. Ain't nothing obscure about it.>>

There are lots of standard things in philosophy that are obscure. Tons. I daresay most things are, when you scratch the surface a bit.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter for our discussion. Even if sleeping people do have mental states in some dispositional way, so do fetuses. The analysis of having a mental state in a dispositional way is something like this:

X has mental state M in a dispositional way iff X satisfies a list of relevant counterfactuals with respect to M.

The list looks something like this: If in circumstance C, X would have M. If in circumstance C', X would have M. Et cetera. It's just like an analysis of fragility, which is typically seen as a disposition to fracture.

And as I've said before, fetuses do satisfy a list of counterfactuals like this. We just have to include time points in our specifications of circumstances, which we do in the non-fetus case anyway.

So yes, fetuses do have mental dispositions. If that's relevant to personhood, then fetuses are in the clear.

And it's hard to see if dispositional beliefs/desires are even relevant to this debate. I thought your main point was about pain. And here's the argument I've been giving: a first-order capacity to feel pain is not necessary for personhood, since there are persons who lack the first-order capacity (anesthetized people, comatose people, etc.). If it's rather the second-order capacity to feel pain that's necessary for personhood, well, fetuses do have that capacity. They are able to be able to feel pain; just give them a few months.

So any capacity to feel pain that is relevant to personhood is had by fetuses. So what's your argument again?

Neil Sinhababu said...

So yes, fetuses do have mental dispositions. If that's relevant to personhood, then fetuses are in the clear.

If you're going to count those as mental dispositions, any old pile of organic matter has them. Just as the fetus can be developed into an occurrent-belief-having thing, I can, with suitable technology, rearrange a pile of organic matter into something that has beliefs. Your principle will have you caring about all sorts of things, because they're potential believers.

Here's another difference between the supposed fetal dispositions to believe and the ones sleeping adult humans have. Fetuses, on your account, have dispositions to form all sorts of beliefs as well as beliefs in their negations. A fetus could become a theist or an atheist. This is completely different from the case of the sleeper, to whom we can attribute no more than one of these beliefs.

Your version of the dispositional account is now making a mess of our belief-talk because it's allowing you to go way too far from actuality to find the counterfactual situation where occurrent beliefs are present. That's what you need to do to attribute any kind of beliefs to fetuses. But when you go that far, all sorts of inanimate things have beliefs, and it's impossible to say exactly what they believe, because they could believe anything or its negation.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to count those as mental dispositions, any old pile of organic matter has them. Just as the fetus can be developed into an occurrent-belief-having thing, I can, with suitable technology, rearrange a pile of organic matter into something that has beliefs.


Mr Sinhababu,
I think you’re missing an essential way in which your pile of organic matter differs from the fetus and sleeping man.

The fetus develops itself into an occurrent-belief-having thing. The sleeping man also develops himself (on waking) into an occurrent-belief-having thing. Neither you, nor your technology, are required to rearrange the fetus or the sleeping man into an occurrent-belief-having thing. The same isn’t true of any old pile of organic matter. You (or some other external agent) must make that pile of organic matter into an occurrent-belief-having thing. As your correspondent above mentions, the fetus has the same second order capacity for feeling pain (or having beliefs) as the sleeping/comatose/anaesthetized man.


Here's another difference between the supposed fetal dispositions to believe and the ones sleeping adult humans have. Fetuses, on your account, have dispositions to form all sorts of beliefs as well as beliefs in their negations. A fetus could become a theist or an atheist. This is completely different from the case of the sleeper, to whom we can attribute no more than one of these beliefs.


In this case you’re seeing a complete difference where there is none. Let me ask you: do you believe Michael Jones was a better openside flanker or blindside flanker? It is possible you don’t know who Michael Jones is, or what a flanker is, so it is possible for you to form a belief or its negation (openside or blindside) on this matter. You are not a fetus, and you have been to sleep many times (I hope!) and yet it’s still possible for you to form all sorts of beliefs as well as beliefs in their negations (in this example a rugby player’s best position).

Best,
David.

Neil Sinhababu said...

The fetus develops itself into an occurrent-belief-having thing.

Really, it seems to me that the mother's internal processes develop the fetus into an occurrent-belief-having thing.

On the second issue, there definitely are a number of propositions that I neither believe nor reject, and you suggest one of them. The problem with the fetus isn't that it lacks belief on some propositions. It's that it can't be attributed any beliefs at all. Try any belief-attribution you'd like with the fetus, and you'll have no greater reason to say the fetus accepts the belief than its negation. Not so with me, and that's because I have a mind.

Anonymous said...

Not in relation precisely to this post, but I have long been curious as to what the name "The Ethical Werewolf" is supposed to mean.

In reference to this post, I find it hard to understand how an ultrasound can give someone "misleading information." I am not sure how accurate information can be misleading in and of itself, although I see how faulty interpretations of accurate information can be.

But in short, you seem to be arguing to give women less information, not misleading information.

I don't find advocating for less information to be a particularly ethical stance.

If you think the information is redundant, irrelevant, or liable to be badly misinterpreted you should argue that.

In general I find that it is people oddly referred to as conservatives that argue for less information and not for more information. I do find that on occasion it is people that are oddly identified as liberals or that claim to be able to speak for an entire gender in terms of what is good or bad that argue for less information.

I tend to call all of those people authoritarians. I usually find authoritarians to be highly unethical in their actual lives, and recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Really, it seems to me that the mother's internal processes develop the fetus into an occurrent-belief-having thing.

Hmm, you may need a better understanding of science and biology.

Many of the mother's internal processes actually try to kill the fetus.

The fetus develops on its own. DNA, it's a wonderful thing.

Neil Sinhababu said...

This attempt to cast my position as authoritarian is laughable. I'm not arguing for any additional restrictions on abortion. You are.

I don't have any problem with women seeing ultrasounds by choice. They should feel free to do that. But they shouldn't be required to.

If you're going to require that people engage with some source of information, you'd better make sure that the information is clearly presented and not misleading. It's an entirely legitimate criticism of an information requirement that it gives misleading information.

Anonymous said...

On May 10th, I said:
>>So yes, fetuses do have mental dispositions. If that's relevant to personhood, then fetuses are in the clear.>>

You replied:
>>If you're going to count those as mental dispositions, any old pile of organic matter has them. Just as the fetus can be developed into an occurrent-belief-having thing, I can, with suitable technology, rearrange a pile of organic matter into something that has beliefs. Your principle will have you caring about all sorts of things, because they're potential believers.>>

I’ve never advocated anything like this:

(1) If X has dispositions to believe, then X has moral status (or is a person, or is the proper object of moral attitudes, or whatever).

I think that these kinds of capacity-based accounts of personhood are doomed; every one I’ve seen is subject to counterexample.

So this point about organic matter is not relevant to my view. My point was simply this: your account of persons (or moral status, or whatever) seems to be a capacity based account, and you seem to think that dispositions to have mental states are relevant; such an account, depending on what you mean by dispositions, either is subject to counterexample (and therefore false) or includes fetuses (and therefore doesn’t support your position on abortion). So you have a sort of dilemma.

You suggest that my account of dispositions to have mental states will mean that almost any pile of matter is disposed to have a mental state. My response: First, I don’t think that it even makes sense to say that matter has mental states, but that’a a long discussion. So the claim would have to be “IF certain arrangements of matter can have mental states, and if we accept this account of dispositions to have mental states, then certain weird chunks of matter have dispositions to have mental states.” So you can see my response: If this is bad, so much the worse for materialism. Plus, you haven’t given any other account of what it means to have a disposition to have a mental state, so you haven’t demonstrated that it IS crazy to say that e.g. my compost heap in my backyard has “dispositions to have mental states” (assuming materialism). Given the standard account of dispositions, and given materialism, it just follows that my compost heap has dispositions to have mental states. If you think that’s crazy, you haven’t given any reason why. I think it's crazy because I think materialism is crazy.


You said:
>>Fetuses, on your account, have dispositions to form all sorts of beliefs as well as beliefs in their negations. A fetus could become a theist or an atheist. This is completely different from the case of the sleeper, to whom we can attribute no more than one of these beliefs.>>

First, it’s hard to see if this is even relevant. Suppose that for any p, any given fetus is equally disposed to believe p as it is to believe not p. And suppose that we aren’t. So what? They still have dispositions to have mental states, so if that’s relevant to personhood (notice the “if”!), then fetuses are in the clear (even if you’re right about them being equally disposed to have each). So this is irrelevant.

But why suppose that you are right about this? Why suppose that for any p any given fetus is as equally disposed to believe p as it is to believe not p? Given materialism, fetuses do have their origins essentially. So they are necessarily the children of their parents, contingently raised in a certain environment, etc. So take a fetus in middle class America, in the Northeast. That fetus seems more disposed to have certain liberal, secular beliefs than it is to have conservative, religious beliefs. So it’s false that for any p, fetuses are equally disposed to believe p as they are to believe not p.

Further, why suppose that it’s not the case that for any p, you are disposed to believe p and disposed to believe not p? (You say that in the case of the sleeper, “we can attribute no more than one of these beliefs”.) While it’s true that you may be MORE disposed to have the occurrent belief “There is no God” than to have the occurrent belief “There is a God,” the fact is that, if you actually read some contemporary philosophy of religion, or hung out with Plantinga, Van Inwagen, and Rea at Notre Dame, or had a certain religious experience, or had some (corrective) neurosurgery ;-), you might come to have the occurrent belief “There is a God.” There are circumstances in which you would have that belief. So, on the standard account of dispositions, you are disposed to believe that. So it does seem to be the case that for any p, you are disposed to believe p and disposed to believe not p. Why think otherwise?


>>Your version of the dispositional account is now making a mess of our belief-talk because it's allowing you to go way too far from actuality to find the counterfactual situation where occurrent beliefs are present.>>

If you could give me a rigorous account of “way too far” from actuality, I’ll take this point seriously. As it stands, this is a hand-wavy, metaphorical, obscure expression of disagreement, not a serious defense of your view.


>>That's what you need to do to attribute any kind of beliefs to fetuses. But when you go that far, all sorts of inanimate things have beliefs, and it's impossible to say exactly what they believe, because they could believe anything or its negation.>>

I never said anything that would imply that these inanimate things actually have beliefs; I’ve only said that (given materialism) they are disposed to believe certain things. And that seems a perfectly sensible thing to say (given materialism). If you think it’s crazy, your beef is with materialism, not me. Also, even if it’s impossible to say what fetuses are disposed to believe (though this seems perfectly possible), that’s sort of irrelevant to the question of whether or not they ARE disposed to believe things (which is what this discussion is about).

Here’s something else I said, that you haven't replied to:

And it's hard to see if dispositional beliefs/desires are even relevant to this debate. I thought your main point was about pain. And here's the argument I've been giving: a first-order capacity to feel pain is not necessary for personhood, since there are persons who lack the first-order capacity (anesthetized people, comatose people, etc.). If it's rather the second-order capacity to feel pain that's necessary for personhood, well, fetuses do have that capacity. They are able to be able to feel pain; just give them a few months.

So any capacity to feel pain that is relevant to personhood is had by fetuses. So what's your argument again?