Essay on Abortion Rights and the Acorn Analogy

Essay on Abortion Rights and the Acorn Analogy

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This essay will examine an often discussed pro-choice analogy. It will consider to what extent the abortion issue is still controversial if the terms of this analogy are accepted as true. This essay will first discuss the premises of the analogy in question. Then it will consider counter-arguments to the analogy. The objective of this paper is to make a determination on whether the controversial nature of the issue of abortion still pertains in light of the acorn analogy. It will be the argument of this paper that this controversy is not subdued by the acorn-fetus comparison.

Acorn Analogy and Related Issues

The acorn analogy means that oak trees are grown from acorns as human beings are grown from fetuses. Thus every acorn is a potential oak tree as every fetus is a potential human being. However, the fetus is not a human being from the point of conception any more than the acorn is an oak tree. Therefore, terminating the existence of one or the other is not tantamount to murdering a full developed living being. This is the argument that Thomson (47-48) presents in her oft-cited work on the permissibility of abortion.
The argument that an acorn is not an oak tree delineates where the determination should be made concerning whether a person exists. Indeed, one of the main controversies in the debate over abortion rights, hinges on the question of whether a person exists at the point of conception, during its development in the womb, or after birth. Thomson (47-48) allows that the fetus clearly develops into a human being prior to birth. She points out that, by the tenth week of pregnancy, the fetus has quickly evolved into a living being with discernible human physical characteristics. That is to...

... middle of paper ...

... for the outcome. Pro-life advocates argue that the pregnancy must be carried to term regardless. This is based on pro-life notions of natural duty and obligation to take care of one's relatives (Hershenov 129-130). Thus part of the pro-life argument appears to involve regulating human sexual behavior. With these counter-arguments in mind, it is likely that the acorn analogy does not make the abortion issue any less controversial.

Works Cited
Hershenov, D. B. Abortions and distortions: An analysis of morally irrelevant factors in Thomson’s violinist thought experiment. Social Theory and Practice, 27.1 (2008): 129-148.
Thomson, Judith Jarvis. A defense of abortion. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1.1 (Fall 1971): 47-66.
Pacholczyk, Tad. "Making Sense Out of Bioethics." N.d. Web. December 3, 2013.

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