In “A Defense of Abortion” by Judith Jarvis Thompson, Thompson works to argue that even if a human fetus is considered a person, abortion is still often morally permissible. This paper will work to explain Thompson’s positions on the different accounts of the right to life, and to provide an evaluation of them and explain why they are not plausible, specifically regarding three of the analogies on-which she based her entire argument: the violinist, the coat, and the case of Kitty Genovese, as well as to explore a logical counterargument and explain why it’s stance is impermissible.
Thomson’s article “A Defense Against Abortion” does raise several interesting, if abstract, moral questions. Thomson believes that even if a fetus is fully human and in possession of certain rights, the rights of the child should not be imposed on a woman’s liberty. This question of freedom and basic human rights pervades every side of Thomson’s argument and creates another set of ethical considerations for us to consider. These considerations raise many interesting questions. Is there a different moral obligation to your child than to a stranger? Is allowing someone to die different from purposefully causing them to die? Is liberty limitless or should we be morally obligated to give up that liberty when others are in danger? These questions
In her article, “The Defense of Abortion”, Judith Jarvis Thomson states an analogy involving a violinist. She first states that you are allowed to unplug yourself in the violinist scenario, second abortion after rape is analogous to the violinist scenario, therefore, you should be allowed to unplug yourself and be allowed to abort after rape (Chwang, Abortion slide 12). In this paper, I will argue that abortion is morally acceptable even if the fetus is considered a person. This paper will criticize premise two from the traditional argument against abortion string that killing innocent persons is wrong (Chwang, Abortion slide 9). Following the violinist analogy will be an objection to this analogy and my respons to them. One of the
Judith Jarvis Thomson argued that the “the impermissibility of abortion does not follow from the premises that every fetus is a person and that every person has a right to life” (Thomson) Thomson distinguishes between what we ought to do versus what we are morally required to. This essay will show how abortions are permissible and not permissible according to Thomson.
In Judith Jarvis Thomson’s essay “A Defense of Abortion” (1971), she defends the thesis that abortion is morally permissible. She argues that even if a fetus is a person, and possesses every right to life, that that in itself does not constitute the impermissibility of abortion. In this essay, I will defend and critique Thomson’s defense of abortion’s moral permissibility in light of apparent weaknesses that critics have pointed out.
Judith Jarvis Thomson is an American moral philosopher that is well known for her defense of moral justice and description of moral rights. She has published in prestigious papers in ethics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of law. Including the most widely written essay “A Defense of Abortion” , that was published in 1971 in the journal of philosophy and public affairs. This essay constructs abortion rights with pregnant woman’s rights to control her own body and it’s life support purpose, as opposed to denying the quality or condition of the unborn child.
Abortion is a major issue that has lead to many different opinions, ideas, and various debates. Proponents for abortion often use the fact that a fetus is not a moral person to justify their position, whereas those who are against the issue often claim that a fetus is a moral person and should deserve every right a moral person has, including the right to live. Judith Jarvis Thomson, however, takes an entirely different approach. In her article “A Defense of Abortion” Thomson argues that even if a fetus is considered to be a human being does not automatically ensure it the right to live. Thomson’s position leads to many oppositions and critiques. Foot’s article, for example, “ Killing versus Letting Die” attempts to point out the flaws in Thomson’s argument. Foot claims that a fetus’ status must be considered when addressing the issue of abortion and that Thomson’s argument is invalid. Although Thomson’s argument may seem valid at first, Foot does offer considerable evidence critiquing the validity of Thomson’s argument.
In her article “A Defense Against Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thomson explores the permissibility of abortion through both the rights of a fetus and of a woman, and further argues that abortion is sometimes permissible under circumstantial situations. Thomson offers multiple thought-experiments, but the one I am focusing on in my paper is her burglar-based argument. In short, this situation involves you leaving your window open, knowingly increasing the risk of a burglar entering your home. She further adds that you have implemented bars on the windows with the specific intent to keep burglars out, but the bars are defective and allow the burglar to make his way in. This situation is analogous to a woman intentionally having sexual
Ellen Willis’s “Putting Women Back into the Abortion Debate” (2005) is an argument that supports women’s rights and feminism in terms of allowing all abortions to occur. She discusses abortion with the perspective that women’s rights are the issue, not human life. This argument is not accurate. Abortion is almost completely about the rights of every human being. People who are for abortion need to know a fertilized egg is just as important as someone already living, that an unborn child cannot control its need for someone to rely on for survival, and that they must accept the gender they were given without thinking it eliminates rights. Excluding rape and incest, abortion should not be allowed.
For the second half of the semester the topic that impressed me the most has to be abortion. There are those who agree that abortion should be allowed since it is the right of the woman’s body, which would be the pro-choice supporters. Then there are those people who believe it is morally wrong to kill an innocent life regardless of how far into the pregnancy the woman is; the pro-life supporters. Like any other debate or moral issue problem there is always a middle ground, which is where I stand. It is not a surprise that there is continuous debate for this given that religion intersects at some point in defense of pro-life. Generally speaking, the issue begins when people define abortion differently than others as well as when the fetus
Thomson in her essay titled “A Defense of Abortion,” points out her view that abortion can be permissible when a woman is not in control of her own body. One of Thomson’s analogies that ambiguously connects with her general position of this case of abortion is the famous violinist analogy. This analogy consists on that you were kidnapped or just wake up plugged into the violinist and it needed your kidneys for nine months to live, and if you unplug yourself from the violinist, he will die. Thomson steaks with the right to life and control of one's body in her essay which her point starts to fail because, with this analogy as she spoke, you may help the violinist by keeping connected the 9 months. So the right to life is given and the right
Abortion has been one of the hottest political issues over a number of years. The issue of abortion is a huge debate between pro-lifers, people against abortion, and pro-choicers, people who support abortion. Since the Roe v. Wade court case in 1973, which legalized abortion, laws dealing with abortion have been altered in each individual state. Due to these laws, organizations such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Feminists for Life of America (FFL), have been created to debate the issues of abortion and stand up for what they believe. The laws in Pennsylvania and the Christian Bible have their own perspective on this “hot button” topic of abortion. These sources have similar
What takes precedence; an unborn fetus’ life or its mother’s right to her body? Anti-abortionist argue that the life of an unborn fetus has priority, and thus abortion is morally impermissible as it violates the fetus’ right to life. In her article “A Defense of Abortion”, Judith Thomson argues that abortion is morally permissible under the certain conditions where the rights of the fetus fail to surpass a mother’s right of choice. For the sake of her argument, Thomson allows the assumption that a fetus is a person, and instead attacks the premise that the fetus’ right to life is stronger than that of a mother’s body integrity. The main argument that Thomson makes is that right to life, defined by some as the right to “be given the bare minimum a man needs for continued life”, is not an absolute right (Thomson 55). This means that the right to life is not unconditionally above all other rights, such as the right of bodily integrity. For Thomson, this allows a mother to make the morally permissible decision to have an abortion for limited reasons: in the case of rape, pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, and the mother took measures to prevent the contraception. Thomson undertakes a Deontological when making her argument, which I will dispute using a Utilitarian approach. While I agree with Thomson that the fetus’ right to life does not allow the use of the mother’s body in cases of rape and threat to life, I will argue against the premise that an abortion is morally
What we have grown to believe, or as Levitt would put it, conventional wisdom, is not always right. For example, society has been led to believe that if a student goes to a better school, they will gain intellectually from it. However, there isn’t much evidence to back that claim up. In Chicago, students were entered in a raffle of some sort, and some went on to go to a “better” school that performed better academically. The results were surprising. The students that did not go to the good school did equally as good or bad as the students in the not so good school. Another conventional belief would be our views on abortion. It is not very hard to tell that society sees abortion, for the most part, as nothing good. Most people wouldn’t think anything positive could come of abortion, even those in support of it.
A report on behalf of Abortion Rights has been filed against the country of Northern Ireland regarding their current laws on abortion. Abortion Rights is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) as well as a national pro-choice campaign to defend the rights of women and their access to safe, legal abortions. Abortion laws in Northern Ireland have long been considered draconian and thus creating dangerous situations for women. Currently in Northern Ireland, it is illegal to receive an abortion unless the woman faces serious health risks. This is a situation which rarely ever occurs, as the majority of women who fit the criteria are turned down. Each year, more than 1000 women travel from Northern Ireland to other parts of the United Kingdom to receive abortions and pay anywhere from $2000-4000. This means that women who are impregnated due to situations of rape and incest, women with serious fetal abnormalities or even fetal death as well as women who face health risks by carrying out a pregnancy can’t receive an abortion anywhere in their country. The selected central question for this investigation was, “when one set of rights infringes upon another, how should we decide whose rights and which should take priority? Should freedom of expression be limited in certain cases?” And the modification of that question to further specify in this case was, “should the rights of an unborn fetus be prioritized over the rights of the woman carrying it?” The long standing ban on