Summary: A Defense Of Abortion

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Abortion is a touchy subject that can quickly bring about a conflict in many discussions, with people from both sides arguing the point they think is correct, but as Thomson points out, does not delve deep enough into the reasoning behind the argument. The termination of a human pregnancy, usually within the first 28 weeks is the basic definition of an abortion, which in it of itself opens up the many questions people and philosophers have as to morality of abortion, many seemingly around the determining point in gestation that the fetus is considered a ‘human’. Judith Jarvis Thomson, an american philosopher and metaphysician illustrates her beliefs on abortion and moral objectivity in her essay “A Defense of Abortion”. Thomson’s paper emphasizes…show more content…
Her premises aptly describe the ‘rights’ argument, outlining who has rights and how those rights weigh in accordance with each other. Due to the fetus and carrier being considered people, they both have a right to life and while the mother has a right to decide what happens in and to her body, it is outweighed by the fetus’s right to life. Therefore, the fetus may not be killed and an abortion is morally impermissible. While these premises seem to paint a rather black and white picture of the impermissibility of abortion, Thomson goes on to discuss how when looking at who has rights to what, it entirely depends on the circumstances. As such, in the proposed argument for the extreme view on abortion, which does not allow abortion even to save the mother’s life, Thomson argues through her violinist thought experiment how this fails. Due to the fetus not losing its right to life, but rather it not having the right to the mother’s body, the abortion is justified, and a carrier who allows her pregnancy to go full term is going beyond her obligations as a “Good Samaritan”. Similarly in the expanding child thought experiment we learn and think about how, while both beings have a right to life, the house belongs to the carrier and as such the carrier that is being threatened can intervene which provides justification for the

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