The ethics of abortion is a topic that establishes arguments that attempt to argue if abortion is morally justified or not. Philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson wrote a pro- choice piece called “A Defense of Abortion.” In this paper, she presents various arguments that attempt to defend abortion by relating it to the woman carrying the fetus and her right in controlling her body. On the other side of the spectrum, philosopher Don Marquis wrote a pro- life paper called “Why Abortion Is Immoral.” Ultimately, Marquis argues that abortion is immoral with rare exceptions because it is resulting in the deprivation of the fetus’s valuable future. He supports his paper by creating the future-like-ours argument that compares the future of a fetus to the
Response to Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defense for Abortion
Judith Jarvis Thomson, in "A Defense of Abortion", argues that even if we grant that fetuses have a fundamental right to life, in many cases the rights of the mother override the rights of a fetus. For the sake of argument, Thomson grants the initial contention that the fetus has a right to life at the moment of conception. However, Thomson explains, it is not self-evident that the fetus's right to life will always outweigh the mother's right to determine what goes on in her body. Thomson also contends that just because a woman voluntarily had intercourse, it does not follow that the fetus acquires special rights against the mother.
The permissibility of abortion has been a crucial topic for debates for many years. People have yet to agree upon a stance on whether abortion is morally just. This country is divided into two groups, believers in a woman’s choice to have an abortion and those who stand for the fetus’s right to live. More commonly these stances are labeled as pro-choice and pro-life. The traditional argument for each side is based upon whether a fetus has a right to life. Complications occur because the qualifications of what gives something a right to life is not agreed upon. The pro-choice argument asserts that only people, not fetuses, have a right to life. The pro-life argument claims that fetuses are human beings and therefore they have a right to life. Philosopher, Judith Jarvis Thomson, rejects this traditional reasoning because the right of the mother is not brought into consideration. Thomson prepares two theses to explain her reasoning for being pro-choice; “A right to life does not entail the right to use your body to stay alive” and “In the majority of cases it is not morally required that you carry a fetus to term.”
To begin with, it proves beneficial to clarify that Thomson supports abortion under certain conditions; therefore, she believes that there are cases in which abortion is no longer a justifiable course of action but there are a series of instances in which abortion is wholly permissible. From there we can begin to look at the analogies that Thomson utilizes to solidify her stance. First, she paints the picture of a famous violinist who needs anothers kidneys to survive, what would one do if they awoke to find they were volunteered to sustain him? With this analogy she proves that although it would be serviceable of one to stay, it is not required because it would not be an unjust action for one to detach oneself because one does not have any
An Ethical Debate against Abortion
Each day throughout our world, medical professionals suction thousands of babies from their mothers’ wombs through a procedure called abortion. The law protects and provides consent to both the mother and the medical professionals for these procedures. However, the babies seemingly have no right to protection or life themselves because of the argument regarding when a fetus is determined be human and have life. Pro-life author, Sarah Terzo, in a LifeSiteNews.com article, relays the following testimony supporting this from a medical student upon witnessing his first abortion, “Rejected by their mothers and regarded as medical waste by their killers, society allows these babies to die silently, with no recognition or acknowledgment of their humanity” (Terzo).
Thomson wishes to avoid getting complicated in a debate about the moral status of fetuses. The argument she wants to establish is that even if fetuses have a right to life this does not automatically outweigh a woman’s right to control over her body. So, with the famous violinist she indicates a human being which has a right to life. If we think fatal kidney disorders contradict that right. In Thomson view point there are three other morally significant factors involved in abortion in certain cases. The fetus depends on the mother’s body for complete survival, the mother has not agreed to the use of her body and pregnancies
The standard argument against abortion rests on the claim that the fetus is a person and therefore has a right to life (Thompson, 1971). Judith Jarvis Thomson shows why this standard argument against abortion is a somewhat inadequate account of the morality of abortion. She argues for the conclusion that abortion is sometimes permissible. She begins the essay by pointing out on whether or not the fetus is a person. If fetuses are persons then abortions must be impermissible, and that if fetuses are not persons then abortions must be permissible.
With the violinist, Thomson attempts to compare the thought process behind an abortion to a violinist receiving a kidney, with a kidnapped person forcibly donating the kidney. Similarly, a person who is pregnant may or may not be 'taken hostage' and forced, in whatever way, to become pregnant, and the idea of 'saving a life' in either the violinists or the pregnant person's case becomes blurry because of the other life being endangered in the process. The point being that the argument boils down to if a life can be saved, anyone else involved in the process of saving the life may not make a decision harming the failing or fledgling life, regardless of situation. The second argument of Henry Fonda suggests that though one thing may provide an
A Rational Look at the Abortion Controversy
One of the most hotly contested issues inside and outside of biomedical ethics today is abortion. The discussion received a new impetus at the release of the controversial abortion drug RU-486, "a pill to increase access to abortions and let women get them privately from their own doctor instead of facing shouting protesters at clinics. "2 As is the case with all controversial issues, there are very passionate people on both sides of the fence. Unfortunately, a heated discussion on abortion can easily and quickly turn into a battle of rhetoric rather than a dialectic of reason.
Don Marquis Why Abortion is Immoral serves as arguably one of the strongest philosophical arguments against abortion. Unlike many pro-life arguments, Marquis case against abortion does not rest on religious dogma and he establishes an organized and at times convincing argument. However, upon closer analysis, the premises he bases his argument off of have fundamental flaws that seriously invalidate his ultimate conclusion that abortion is immoral. These flaws are especially evident when compared to an equally famous philosophical argument regarding abortion – Judith Jarvis Thomson’s In Defense of Abortion. In her paper, Thomson offers a thought experiment, the violinist example, which adequately proves that two of the premises Marquis argument rests on are false, thus disproving Marquis conclusion that abortion is immoral.