A Defense Of Abortion Thomson Summary

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In the paper “A Defense of Abortion” written by Judith Jarvis Thomson, Thomas reasons toward the conclusion that abortion is only permissible under certain circumstances, such as rape, and she also offers certain scenarios where going through with an abortion would be considered permissible. From the beginning of the paper, Thomson establishes the fact that for the sake of the argument, she will assume that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception, although this is not what she believes in (Cahn 166). Throughout the paper, she is attempting to undermine the common pro-life argument that the fetus's right to life is stronger than the mother's right to decide what happens to her body (Class Slides) because of the fact that there are…show more content…
She invites the reader to imagine that “you wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist” who has a fatal kidney problem and you are the only person who has the right blood type to help, so therefore “they have kidnapped you and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours” and you were basically being used as a human dialysis machine (Cahn 167). Finally, the director of the hospital tells you that they would not have permitted this situation if they were aware that you were there against your own will and that you have a choice to stay plugged up for nine months to save the man's life or choose to unplug and end his life (Cahn 168). The point she is trying to make here questions that if a person's right to life outweighs the right to decide what happens to one's body, decidedly the fetus may not be killed and an abortion may not be performed, then is one obligated to stay plugged up to the violinist because he is a person who also has the right to life? Thomson points out that most people would find the latter outrageous, which suggests that there is also something wrong with the “plausible-sounding argument” about how the fetus's right to life is more important than the mother's right to decide what happens in and to her body (Cahn…show more content…
In short, this argument establishes that if one accepts the principle of the analogy and thinks that they have the right to unhook themselves from the violinist and if the cases are analogous, then it must be believed that a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape has a right to have an abortion (Class Slide). Although the analogy that Thomson discusses seems to be plausible because of how closely related the two cases seem to be when trying to determine whether or not aborting a pregnancy brought on by rape is morally permissible, it can also be said that the analogy she uses is faulty in certain aspects. In other words, there are relevant differences between the two cases such that the principle that applies in the first does not apply to the case of abortion of a pregnancy by rape. In this specific case, the difference between a famous violinist and a fetus is that you are less likely to feel guilty if you were to unplug yourself from the stranger than you were if you were aborting the child that was growing inside of your body. After the nine months were over and you were unplugged, the violinist is no longer your responsibility and you will most likely never see the man again, where on the other hand, you will be responsible for what happens to the child that you birth after nine months. Lastly, as we've mentioned in class, there is also

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