Analysis of Thompson's Article, A Defense of Abortion

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Pro-Choice: Analysis of Thompson's Article, A Defense of Abortion

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In Judith Jarvis Thompson’s article “A Defense of Abortion” she explores the different arguments against abortion presented by Pro –Life activists, and then attempts to refute these notions using different analogies or made up “for instances” to help argue her point that women do have the right to get an abortion. She explains why abortion is morally permissible using different circumstances of becoming pregnant, such as rape or unplanned pregnancy.

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 argued by Pro – Lifers), this right does not entail the fetus to have whatever it needs to survive – including usage of the woman’s body to stay alive.

To help argue her point, Thomson first begins with an analogy comparing an acorn of an oak tree to the fetus in a woman’s body. She begins by giving the view of the Pro – Lifers; “It is concluded that the fetus is…a person from the moment of conception” (page 113). She then goes on to say, “similar things might be said about the development of an acorn into an oak tree, and it does not follow that acorns are Oak trees…” (Page 113). This analogy helps illustrate how much she disagrees with this Pro –life argument. She calls it a “slippery- slope argument” and goes to say, “…it is dismaying that opponents of abortion rely on them so heavily and uncritically” (page 113). Although Thomson makes it clear that she disagrees with the notion that a fetus is a person (…I think the premise is false, that the fetus is not a person from th...

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...main for that hour – that it would be indecent in her to refuse” (page 119). My problem with this scenario is that she leaves it unfinished. What happens to the child that is then born? If pregnancy only lasted an hour, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. It’s the part after that (which is taking care of a child) that lasts the rest of your life and is most important. I also feel that Thompson makes assumptions, which make it easier for her to argue her points. In her first argument about the violinist, she says “I would imagine you would regard this as outrageous…” (Page 114). How does she know what people would “imagine?” It seems very arrogant of her to assume that people reading her article would automatically agree with her opinions. I think that the article focuses too much on why the Pro-Life ideas are wrong, instead of why Pro –Choice is right.

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