Abortion is the action of deliberately terminating a pregnancy, resulting in the death of the fetus. For years, people around the world have been divided on this issue. Bioethicists have been debating on the morality and permissibility of such act as it raises many questions concerning the parties involved in it. Even though finding clear answers to these questions raised could be difficult and might need hours of reflection, comparing and contrasting the views and principles of philosophers John Finnis and Judith Jarvis Thomson on specific cases might lead to a better understanding of the issue. Finnis believes that all humans are persons and that every innocent person has the right not to be directly killed. He thinks that the one …show more content…
Thus, imposing death to the fetus is unfair (22). In contrast, Thomson wants to give another angle of vision to the debate on abortion. She believes that opponents of abortion commonly spend their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly any time explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion (40). She thinks that the assumption that killing the fetus inside the mother would not be consider murder if it is to save her life (42). She takes the example of a violinist plugged to you, using you, and the doctor telling you that because of that you would be dead. She considers that unplugging yourself to save your life would not be impermissible or considered murder. In cases of rape she believes that the unborn person whose existence is due to rape have no right to the use of their mother’s bodies (45). Also she takes the example of plant seeds to show that even for failed contraception, the fetus does not have the right to the mother body. Thomson is more persuasive because she makes the readers think and imagine the different conflicts independently of the gender. She provides her readers with a better incorporation of the issues by the use of multiple examples. Finnis’ arguments are based on a quite fragile concept of personhood. This concept caused people in Mississippi to push for a “personhood amendment”
(Eckholm). While some
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In Judith Jarvis Thomson’s philosophy paper, A Defense of Abortion, she argues that abortion is permissible because an individual’s right over their own body outweighs a fetus’s right to life. In this paper I will focus on whether or not abortion is always permissible. First, I will present Thomson’s argument which says that abortion is sometimes permissible. I will do so by describing her “famous violinist” thought experiment. Next, I will object to Thomson’s claim and expand the scope of her argument by arguing that abortion is in fact, always permissible. I will do so by presenting a new thought experiment. Finally, I will conclude in saying that Thomson is correct and abortion is in fact only sometimes permissible.
The next issue is, in Thomson’s opinion, the most important question in the abortion debate; that is, what exactly does a right to life bring about? The premise that “everyone has a right to life, so the unborn person has a right to life” suggests that the right to life is “unproblematic,” or straight-forward. We know that isn’t true. Thomson gives an analogy involving Henry Fonda. You are sick and dying and the touch of Henry Fonda’s hand will heal you. Even if his touch with save your life, you have no right to be “given the touch of Henry Fonda’s cool hand.” A stricter view sees the right to life as more of a right to not be killed by anybody. Here too troubles arise. In the case of the violinist, if we are to “refrain from killing the violinist,” then we must basically allow him to kill you. This contradicts the stricter view. The conclusion Thomson draws from this analogy is “that having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person’s body—even if one needs it for life itself.” This argument again proves the basic argument wrong. The right to life isn’t as clear of an argument as I’m sure opponents of abortion would like it to be or believe it is.
In the article "A Defense of Abortion" Judith Jarvis Thomson argues that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus is considered a person. In this paper I will give a fairly detailed description of Thomson main arguments for abortion. In particular I will take a close look at her famous "violinist" argument. Following will be objections to the argumentative story focused on the reasoning that one person's right to life outweighs another person's right to autonomy. Then appropriate responses to these objections. Concluding the paper I will argue that Thomson's "violinist" argument supporting the idea of a mother's right to autonomy outweighing a fetus' right to life does not make abortion permissible.
Abortion has been an issue of heated debate in the United States for numerous years. Legislation has ruled it legal to perform an abortion on any gestational age of an embryo or fetus. Some people agree with the law and consider themselves pro-choice. Others are completely against abortion and are pro-life. In addition to these two groups is another group who support abortion in the first half of pregnancy, but believe abortion should be banned for the second half.
In Judith A. Thomson’s article, ‘A defense of abortion’ Thomson defends her view that in some cases abortion is morally permissible. She takes this stance even with the premise that fetuses upon the moment of conception are in fact regarded as persons. However one criticism of her argument would be that there is a biological relationship between mother and fetus however there is no biological relationship between you and the violinist. Having this biological relationship therefore entails special responsibility upon the mother however there is no responsibility in the case of the violinist. Thomson argues against those who are opposed to abortion with her violinist thought experiment.
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
In Thomson’s defence of abortion she argues that abortion is permissible when a mother’s life is not at risk. Working on her interpretation of the secular conservative argument, she first assumes that the premise of a foetus being a person is true, then moves onto the second premise, that a person has the right to life. Analysing what the right to life means, she first looks at the idea that the right to life is the right to have the bare minimum a person needs in order to survive. She quickly rebuts this by providing the Henry Fonda analogy and the violinist analogy. Both of these show that just because a person needs something to survive, like Henry Fonda’s cool hand or another person’s kidneys, a person doesn’t have the right to take it. With this in mind she modifies the argument so that the right to life is the right not to be killed. This she rebuffs with the violin analogy, noting that by pulling the plugs you would in effect be killing the violinist. While the violinist didn’t have the right to your kidneys, it could be argued that he does have the right for you not to intervene. However these are your kidneys, and you should not be forced to allow him continued use. Having ascertained that the right to life is not the right to the bare minimum needed to survive, nor the right not to be killed, she concludes that the right to life is the right not to be killed unjustly, or the
Thomson’s argument, “A Defense on Abortion,” is a piece written to point out the issues in many arguments made against abortion. She points out specific issues in arguments made, for example, about life beginning at conception and if that truly matters as an argument against abortion. Thomson uses multiple analogies when making her points against the arguments made against abortion. These analogies are used to show that the arguments made do not really make sense in saying it is immoral to have an abortion. These analogies do not work in all cases, and sometimes they only work in very atypical cases, but still make a strong argument. There are also objections made to Thomson’s argument, which she then replies to, which makes her argument even stronger. Her replies to these arguments are very strong, saying biology does not always equate responsibility, and that reasonable precaution is an important factor in the morality of abortion. There are some major issues in her responses to these objections.
Now on a different note, Thomson's main argument is set out to undermine the anti-abortionist argument. The anti-abortionist argument states: Every person has a right to life, the fetus is a person and hence has a right to life. The mother has the right to control her own body, but the fetuses' right to life is stronger than her right to control her body. Therefore, abortion is wrong. How Thomson goes about this is through analogies, and her main argument is through her violinist argument. Thomson asks you imagine that you find yourself hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist. If he can't use your kidneys for nine months, he'll die.
In the article 'A Defense of Abortion' Judith Jarvis Thomson argues that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus is considered a person. In this paper I will give a fairly detailed description of Thomson main arguments for abortion. In particular I will take a close look at her famous 'violinist' argument. Following will be objections to the argumentative story focused on the reasoning that one person's right to life outweighs another person's right to autonomy. Then appropriate responses to these objections. Concluding the paper I will argue that Thomson's 'violinist' argument supporting the idea of a mother's right to autonomy outweighing a fetus' right to life does not
Abortion is the ending of pregnancy before birth and is morally wrong. An abortion results in the death of an embryo or a fetus. Abortion destroys the lives of helpless, innocent children and is illegal in many countries. By aborting these unborn infants, humans are hurting themselves; they are not allowing themselves to meet these new identities and unique personalities. Abortion is very simply wrong. Everyone is raised knowing the difference between right and wrong. Murder is wrong so why isn’t abortion? People argue that it is not murder since the fetus being destroyed is not living, breathing and moving. Why is it that if an infant is destroyed a month before the birth, there is no problem, but if
Thomson’s main idea is to show why Pro-Life Activists are wrong in their beliefs. She also wants to show that even if the fetus inside a women’s body had the right to life (as
“Abortion is the spontaneous or artificially induced expulsion of an embryo or fetus” (Abortion, 2002). An artificially induced abortion is the type referred to in the legal context. Abortions happen in different situations. The question comes when is it the right or wrong choice. The root question becomes the moment a fetus becomes a person and entitled to rights. The fetus could be a person at conception, during the pregnancy, or at birth. The deciding moment differs from the Pro-life group and Pro-choice group. After critically analyzing four different arguments about the pros and cons of abortion, one will be able to understand the ethical, moral, and
The morality of induced abortion is one of the most controversial moral issues of our time. Abortion has grown to be one, if no the most, debated argument of modern times. In the following web-page, we will be discussing abortion in three of its major aspects: Public Opinion, Congress and Courts, and Interest groups.
When faced with the choice of life or death, most people would choose to live. In fact, most would not want someone else making that decision for them. They would claim that as a living and independent entity it is solely their choice as to whether they continue to live or not. While this concept may seem fairly straightforward, there seems to be some great debate when it is applied to abortion. For many, they will maintain that the fetus has the right to life no matter the situation. There are some who will argue that abortion is morally permissible in specific circumstances and there are even those that will claim that abortion is always permissible. Why is there such a great divide? A major factor that plays a part in this is whether abortion involves more than one life. Because determining the beginning point of life is such a complex and emotional debate, there will be the same allowance in this paper as there was in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion”. As she eloquently put it “I propose then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception” (p. 721). This will allow for a look into the moral debate of abortion from a more grounded stage. As discussed early in Thomson’s paper, most of the debate on abortion rests on whether the fetus is alive or not. Whereas the focus should be on the many other aspects of pregnancies that may lead to a mother wanting an abortion.