Defense Of Abortion

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In “A Defense for Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thomson grants those who are against abortion the right that personhood starts at conception but goes on to argue for the permissibility of abortion by complicating the personhood argument. In this paper I will argue for the defense of abortion by first explaining Thomson’s famous violinist case, then I will criticize her argument. Thomson begins laying out her argument by first describing the main focus when interpreting if abortion is permissible or not. This is if the fetus is a person bearing full rights, and at what point is it considered a person (Thomson, 48). Those who are against abortion typically argue that a fetus is a person, bearing full rights, at the time of conception. This is supported…show more content…
This argument is referred to as the personhood argument. This is what the argument looks like. Personhood starts at conception (thus fetuses are persons). If a being is a person, then it has a right to life. If a being has a right to life then it is wrong to kill it. Abortion is the termination of a fetus; therefore abortion is wrong (Thomson, 48). Much of the debate on whether if abortion is permissible or not gets caught up on this first premise that fetuses obtain personhood at conception and to deny this premise would be to claim that personhood does not start at conception which would make this argument fail. Thompson does not believe this claim that personhood is achieved at conception, but she feels that the permissibility of abortion can still be argued for even if premise (1) were true. She does this by attacking premise (3); that if a being has a right to life, then it is wrong to kill it. As far as the abortion debate is concerned, premise (3) is stating that a right to life is stronger than the right of a mother to decide the fate of her body so the right to life is greater than the right to privacy making abortion…show more content…
Considering that the violinist has this rare kidney ailment that will inevitably result in his death unless he remains attached to you, the only person capable of saving his life; by unplugging yourself from the violinist, you are not directly killing him. It is his ailment that is taking his life not your decision to unplug yourself from him. In this instance, even though you may be aware of what will result from unplugging yourself from the violinist, your intention is not to kill him. However, in the case of abortion, you are directly responsible for killing the fetus. If your intention wasn’t to just kill an innocent being, then you could carry out the pregnancy for the nine-month duration and when the child is born if you still find keeping the child to be far to large of a burden, then it does not seem morally impermissible to put the child up for adaption. Considering that there are options available to relieve yourself of the responsibility of taking care of a child, it seems that it is never permissible to end the life of an innocent being through
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