The Ethics of Respect for Life (IN: Ethical Principles for Social Policy, edited by J Howie)
Frankena W K
The sanctity of bodily human life should be distinguished from that of individuality or personality, even if there is a connection. Life has moral sanctity, but only where it is a condition of something more, as it is in humans, fetuses, & some animals. This something must be inherent- consciousness, feeling, reason- in such living beings, not something wholly extrinsic, such as being immortal. Even then the moral sanctity of bodily human life is not absolute; it is considerable, at least from the moral point of view, but it is only prima facie or presumptive. The only tenable view, then, is a derivative, qualified, & noncomprehensive ethic of respect for life.