A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Essay example

A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Essay example

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Is a pregnant woman always responsible for the fetus that lives inside her? In “A Defense of Abortion”, Judith Jarvis Thomson adopts the position that “the fetus is a person from the moment of conception” (212) for her argument. A person has the right to life, which leads some to believe that abortion can never be a morally permissible act. However, a woman, even in pregnancy, reserves a considerable amount of liberty over her body. Thomson uses the analogy of comparing sperm to seeds as a way to examine the ethics of abortion and the responsibility of a pregnant woman to the fetus inside of her. The seeds in Thomson’s analogy have the ability to grow into person-plants if they germinate in carpets or upholstery–a woman’s reproductive organs–in a house, the woman’s body. Situations that this metaphor apply to are pregnancy in the cases of rape, willful sex with contraceptive measures, and willful sex without contraceptive measures. In these incidents, Thomson believes that women have different duties to the unborn human. Although I am able to see the majority of Thomson’s points, I believe that her argument would be stronger and would apply more fully to the reality of pregnancy and abortion if she had filled the holes in her analogy. Nonetheless, Thomson and I can both agree on this: a woman must have accepted, outright or not, the special responsibility that comes with taking a pregnancy to full term to obligate her to carry a fetus.
Thomson argues that a woman is not responsible to carry a fetus that is a result of rape. As a woman cannot consent to the act of rape, she could not assume the responsibility of getting pregnant. Surely the woman cannot be responsible just because she has the ability to get pregnant. The fetus doe...


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In certain pregnancies, a woman can be absolved of the responsibility of the fetus. Thomson asserts that women do not assume the duty to carry the unborn people that live inside of their body in cases of rape or consensual sex with use contraceptives. The logic used by Thomson in her person-seed analogy leads to the assumption of responsibility on female people if they participate in unprotected, willful sex. Women surely do not have the duty to protect an uninvited person inside of them if the fetus was created as a result of rape or if measures were taken to prevent the formation of that fetus. However, Thomson’s metaphor is lacking in including a wider variety of moral dilemmas when determining the responsibility of a pregnant woman or girl. A pregnant woman does not automatically have the duty to carry the fetus growing inside of her.













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A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Essay example

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