The standard argument against abortion claims that the fetus is a person and therefore has a right to life. Thomson shows why this standard argument against abortion is a somewhat inadequate account of the morality of abortion.
(1) The fetus is a person (or moral equivalent) (2) It is wrong to kill persons (C) It is wrong to have an abortion. But there is a suppressed premise needed to make the argument work because the mother also has a right to her own body (bodily integrity). As it stands the argument is invalid i.e. the conclusion does not actually follow from the premises.
Her new argument against abortion is as followed- (1) Every person has a right to life. (2) The fetus is a person. (3) So, the fetus has a right to life. (4) The fetus’ right to life is stronger than the mother right to bodily integrity. (C) So, abortion is impermissible.
Judith Jarvis’s main argument is the right to life is not an absolute right, therefore in some cases abortion is permissible. But in another one of her arguments, Jarvis says that it seems like it is not morally permissible to kill a child. Take one of her thought experiments, called the violinist case; You wake up in a hospital with a famous violinist attached to your kidneys, and he needs use of your kidneys for nine months. (1) Every person has a right to life. (2) The violinist is a person. (3) Therefore the violinist has a right to life. (C) It is impermissible to unplug the violinist. This is an analogy towards rape. The vio...
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...ception is preventing a sperm and ovum from coupling, but Marquis says “There is no unique individual human future until conception.” On page 8 of Don Marquis’s paper he seems to be making a kind of utilitarian claim about already existing beings i.e. that we have an obligation to maximize the happiness of already existing beings, but that is not how utilitarianism works. If we have some duty to maximize consequences, then it applies to all the beings that will exist in the future. A utilitarian wants to maximize the amount of happiness and the least amount of suffering.
Marquis just like Thomson is going around the abortion discussion by finding a way around the argument regarding the personhood of the fetus. He relies on the fact that the fetuses have a future of value and the claim that just like it is wrong to deprive an adult human of their future of value.
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