A Critical Examination of Judith Thomsons Argument for Abortion

2736 Words11 Pages
Judith Thomson’s argument through her article, “A Defence of Abortion” is one that adopts the premise that the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. By doing this, Thomson is distancing her argument from the various theorists who maintain the moral view that it is wrong to kill another human being, such as (Marquis, 1989). This ultimately allows her to assume various hypothetical situations in which the cognitive status of the fetus is otherwise not considered. This is important. It helps the case she develops to detach itself from the focal points considered in the 'common argument', which illustrates that the development of a human being from conception through birth into childhood and then adulthood is continuous, and to…show more content…
Thompson therefore, simply rejects the concept altogether where she possibly should have provided valid reasons for refusing responsibilities for a child. Finnis however, maintains that the general demand of our sense of responsibility, duty, or obligation, "is that we remain adequately open to, attentive to, respectful of, and willing to pursue human good insofar as it can be realised and respected in our choices and dispositions.", (Finnis, 1973). Therefore, in this instance, the couple should be cognisant of their actions and take full responsibility for them.
On the other hand, this analogy does force the reader into drawing conclusions regarding the various ways that responsibility can be assigned to women at the time of conception. Even with the use of contraception, or 'the very best fine mesh screens money can buy', there are cases when these methods fail. In the small percentage of times when this occurs, what responsibility does the mother have for the unplanned fetus growing inside her? It seems that if abortion is not a possible option in some of these cases, then a redefinition of safe sex needs to be procured. That being, the only safe sex, is no sex, or through serious contraception methods such as a hysterectomy or vasectomy. Thomson alludes to this somewhat sarcastically in the final part of this particular thought experiment, in a way furthering her defence of abortion by stating, "anyone

More about A Critical Examination of Judith Thomsons Argument for Abortion

Get Access