Thomson Abortion

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The debate around abortion is one that has led political headlines for decades. Many people view abortion as immoral because it is the destruction of an individual. Others argue that an unborn child is not yet an individual, so abortion is acceptable during the early stages of pregnancy. Compromises on this thought often revolve around the point at which an embryo or fetus becomes a human person. If an unborn child is not yet a person, then it has no moral status, and abortion would be acceptable. Though many arguments on abortion base their position on the moral bearing of the fetus, others instead consider the value of the mother 's rights versus those of the fetus. During a woman 's nine-month pregnancy, the child will develop over…show more content…
In 1971, moral philosopher Judith Thomson agreed that personhood begins at conception while presenting a case for abortion in her essay "A Defense of Abortion." Thomson held onto the principles that an unborn child is a person at conception, and that each person has a right to life (Thomson, 50). Thomson changed the argument around abortion by introducing the point that a mother is also a person, meaning both child and mother "have an equal right to life" (Thomson, 50). Pregnancy is a difficult burden for a mother to bear, and Thomson argues that "having a right to life simply does not entail having the right to someone else 's body" ("The Ethics of Abortion"). After all, an expectant mother can plan on many dramatic body changes, including a weight gain of up to four pounds of fat in her breasts alone (Hahn, 348). In Thomson 's essay, she declares that a woman is not responsible for her pregnancy provided she took appropriate measures to prevent it. Other philosophers take Thomson 's position further, assessing that abortions could save a woman 's life (Williams). The life of the unborn child is a necessary sacrifice to protect the life of the mother. Those who take this position believe that the mother has the absolute final authority in choosing what is best considering her life, her circumstances, and her
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