In her essay, “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thompson outlines the most common arguments that people defend, and explains her views regarding each of these. She shares numerous examples and situations that she believes will support her views. One of her most prominent arguments is that of whether or not a fetus has moral standing as a “person.” She highlights the so called “battle” between an innocent life, the fetus, and the bodily rights of the mother. Within this argument, Judith outlines for us several situations which can provide people with a different outlook regarding abortion. Throughout Judith’s essay, she does not truly give a clear stance, but rather allows her readers to choose for themselves. Right away Thompson identifies the main argument used by “anti-abortionists,” which is that a fetus is a person and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to be aborted. She states that this stance, is poorly argued. Judith believes that one simply cannot discern at what point a fertilized egg truly becomes a person (p. 47). Where does one draw the line? In one example, Thompson compares an acorn to a fetus. She notes that an acorn certainly will become an oak tree, however at what point does one define an acorn as having become an oak tree in full? This point of transition is essentially impossible to identify. This examples stands as one of her most prominent defenses. Thompson believes that the fact of whether of not a fetus is a person is completely irrelevant towards the issue of abortion. This is mainly because she has found the point of becoming a person cannot be proved with complete confidence. Judith does not seem to understand why people think that just because a fetus may actually be a person that it ... ... middle of paper ... ...t it is immoral. I also see that it may not be immoral for a woman to abort if she has made the most effort to avoid pregnancy using contraceptives. However, as Thompson states, I think in this situation a mother “ought” not to have an abortion. A fetus should have the right to life, however the mother should also have the right to determine how to use her own body. So I too find it difficult to determine a solid stance on this issue. I’ve always believe that a fetus is a person, but I’ve also always struggled to discern when it is that the fetus becomes a person. Regardless of whatever science can prove or not regarding when a fetus is a person or however much argumentation is done regarding the permissibility of abortion, this topic will forever be surrounded by debate. I don’t believe there will ever a unanimous opinion on whether or not abortion is moral.
The typical anti-abortion argument is as follows: 1. Every fetus is a person, 2. Every person has the right to life, 3. Every fetus has the right to life [1,2], 4. Everything that has the right to life may not be killed, 5. Every fetus may not be killed [3,4]. Premise 1 is taken from page 297 in our book when Thompson states, “Most opposition to abortion relies on the premise that the fetus is a human being, a person…” Premise 2 and conclusion 3 are taken from page 298 when Thomson says “Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life.” Premise 4 is taken from page 298 when Thomson states “So the fetus may not be killed.” She does not explicitly state the premise, "Everything that has the right to life may not be killed," but we can infer this since in the previous premises she stated that every fetus is a person and every person has the right to life. So since that is true then we can substitute fetus for everything that has the right to life, therefore stating everything that has the right to life may not be killed. Conclusion 5 is also not stated directly in Thomson’s paper, but follows directly from the premises that are stated in her paper.
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...
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...
In her article Thomson starts off by giving antiabortionists the benefit of the doubt that fetuses are human persons. She adds that all persons have the right to life and that it is wrong to kill any person. Also she states that someone?s right to life is stronger than another person?s autonomy and that the only conflict with a fetuses right to life is a mother?s right to autonomy. Thus the premises make abortion impermissible. Then Thomson precedes to attacks the premise that one?s right to autonomy can be more important to another?s right to life in certain situations. She uses quite an imaginative story to display her point of view. Basically there is a hypothetical situation in which a very famous violinist is dying. Apparently the only way for the violinist to survive is to be ?plugged? into a particular woman, in which he could use her kidneys to continue living. The catch is that the Society of Music Lovers kidnapped this woman in the middle of the night in order to obtain the use of her kidneys. She then woke up and found herself connected to an unconscious violinist. This obviously very closely resembles an unwanted pregnancy. It is assumed that the woman unplugging herself is permissible even though it would kill the violinist. Leading to her point of person?s right to life is not always stronger than another person?s right to have control over their own body. She then reconstructs the initial argument to state that it is morally impermissible to abort a fetus if it has the right to life and has the right to the mother?s body. The fetus has the right to life but only has the right to a ...
Mary Anne Warren’s “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion” describes her justification that abortion is not a fundamentally wrong action for a mother to undertake. By forming a distinction between being genetically human and being a fully developed “person” and member of the “moral community” that encompasses humanity, Warren argues that it must be proven that fetuses are human beings in the morally relevant sense in order for their termination to be considered morally wrong. Warren’s rationale of defining moral personhood as showcasing a combination of five qualities such as “consciousness, reasoning, self-motivated activity, capacity of communication, and self-awareness” forms the basis of her argument that a fetus displays none of these elements that would justify its classification as a person and member of the morally relevant community (Timmons 386).
Judith Jarvis Thompson takes a pro-choice stance using examples or viewpoints that are easily relatable to demonstrate her point on the subject of abortion. While the examples she uses are unlikely to occur, they are understandable. Our
...e open to all women at any point of pregnancy, and that the woman reserves the right as a fully conscious member of the moral community to choose to carry the child or not. She argues that fetuses are not persons or members of the moral community because they don’t fulfill the five qualities of personhood she has fashioned. Warren’s arguments are valid, mostly sound, and cover just about all aspects of the overall topic. However much she was inconsistent on the topic of infanticide, her overall writing was well done and consistent. Warren rejects emotional appeal in a very Vulcan like manner; devout to reason and logic and in doing so has created a well-written paper based solely on this rational mindset.
Abortion is "the intentional termination of a pregnancy which may include the loss of life of an unborn entity". During the eighth week of pregnancy, the development of the unborn entity known as the Fetus- an unborn offspring- begins, where brain activity becomes detectable. Note, the fetus is not considered Viable until the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy (S. Morris MarquisHO). According to Professor Steven Morris, a fetus becomes a person when it has sentience, viability, brain activity, self-consciousness, etc. "While many people agree that a day-old embryo does not have rights, most people agree that a fetus has rights on the day before it is born". Analyzing the following case:
The idea of whether abortion should be illegal or allowed is a controversial one since everyone seems to have different ideologies. Judith Thomson, who is in support of pro-choice argues in her article “A Defense of Abortion” main idea towards abortion is stating women should have the right to choose because they have the moral right to decide whether they have to hold life in their body. This idea is presented from her first analogy using the violinist who has a failing kidney and will perish if he does not have someone give him blood immediately. They take you without your permission and plug you into him. She connects this to the idea of the fetus by saying everyone has the right to life and if the fetus is considered a person then it would be wrong to kill an innocent human being, but then says that if the child is harming you then you should not wait until you are dead, he body is the home of the women so she should be allowed to defend herself against
Judith Thomson uses different analogies to justify that in, most cases, abortion is morally acceptable. She states at the end of “A Defense of Abortion”, that she although she having an abortion isn’t always permissible for example it would be wrong for a women to demand for an abortion if she was going on a vacation. She also says that she is not arguing for the right to “secure death of the unborn child… You may detach yourself even if...
Thomson exhibits great constructive self- criticism within her essay, but seemingly fails to address some very obvious holes. Initially, Thomson uses the analogy comparing a fetus to an acorn, in that an acorn cannot be said to be a tree. The argument that she is trying to present is that we do not have specific criteria when an acorn is a tree and therefore a similar idea onto a fetus. However, this is a false argument as there are many natural distinctions that we do make of the process of pregnancy. A fetus is not the same as a zygote and an embryo, and in fact the three of these terms are developmental landmarks within conception. The argument: “We can’t make any natural distinctions” is therefore initially false. Even if there are no natural distinctions within the processes of conception, and we allow that we cannot determine when a fetus is human or not, should we not still be cautious considering committing murder is a terrible thing to
Abortion is something that has troubled our world for thousands of years. Most opposing arguments rely on the idea that a fetus is a person from conception and that we must treasure that. What makes this fetus a person? It does not really look, function, or act like a person, so can we really consider it a person? I have a hard time considering something so different from a person to be an actual person. I do not believe that the status of the fetus is all that relevant because it is quite hard to determine when a fetus becomes a person and so on. In this essay, I will argue that abortion is permissible when there is sufficient reasoning to perform one.
Thomson starts off her paper by explaining the general premises that a fetus is a person at conception and all persons have the right to life. One of the main premises that Thomson focuses on is the idea that a fetus’ right to life is greater than the mother’s use of her body. Although she believes these premises are arguable, she allows the premises to further her explanation of why abortion could be
Throughout Thomson’s A Defense of Abortion there are multiple points that analyze and evaluate different perceptions and arguments of a concept that oppose abortion based on the premise that a fetus is considered a person from the moment of conception. These distinct points are all expressed through scenarios of thought experiments such as, the violinist, Henry Fonda, and people-seeds. Within the violinist thought experiment, Thomson utilizes a situation in which an individual is kidnapped and plugged into a violinist’s circulatory system without consent to extract poisons from the blood of both people. From this setup, the argument becomes apparent that even though an individual has the right to the decisions within their body such as the
In her essay, On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, Mary Anne Warren argues that abortion is always permissible and invades the conservative argument that is based on a vague use of the term human being arguing that the word has both a biological and moral sense. What is important in this article is her argument of the moral sense, which assumes that the unborn do not possess particular characteristics such as consciousness and reasoning and therefore are not human beings. Under the presumption that a fetus is a human being in the moral sense, the traditional argument of (1) it is wrong to kill innocent human beings, and (2) fetuses are innocent human beings, then (3) it is wrong to kill fetuses, ensues. Warren argues that if both of the senses of human beings are implied, as in a moral sense and a biological sense, one of the premises becomes