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The Debate Over Abortion Essay

2024 words - 8 pages

With the ongoing debate and the advancement of technology in determining the viability of a fetus, abortion, the ending of a pregnancy by removing a fertilized egg, has become increasingly controversial. The morality of abortion has caused many to separate into opposite sides of the spectrum, pro-life and pro-choice. The arguments over abortion has stirred a continuous debate between a pro-choice stance such as that presented by the analogical reasoning of Thomson or Glover’s examination of social context and a pro-life position argued by a moral view of personhood by Noonan. The ethical arguments presented by the conflicting views in the abortion debate has caused others to taken into consideration a sociological account visible in Luker’s examinations of world views in order to discover underlying motivations.

The debate has caused many to argue either in support of or against abortion. In the article “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thomson uses analogical reasoning (such as the case of the sick violinist) to support and convince a right to abortion. Thomson presents the argument that all people are entitled a right to life and that a person’s right to life outweighs any person’s right to decide what happens to their body (1, Thomson, CC p.188).Thomson proposes a hypothetical situation in which the reader is kidnapped and their circulatory system is linked with that of a sick violinist in order to prevent his kidneys from failing. If the person agrees to offer his or her kidneys, they would have to remain plugged for nine months or even more. However if the person refuses, the violinist would die. By using the sick violinist example, Thomson seeks to undermine the argument that an abortion cannot be performed because the fetus’s right to life outweighs the mother’s right to decide.

Thomson constructs the analogy of the sick violinist to explain that abortion is not a violation of the fetus’ right to life, and thus not necessarily an act of unjustified killing. Thomson concludes that it does not matter whether or not a fetus is a person because even if a fetus is granted a right to life, it is not accurate to assume that abortion is murder (2, Thomson, CC p.192). Murder is an intentional act that is unjustified while abortion is not direct killing but results in the death of the fetus. For instance, in cases involving rape or other conditions of unintended pregnancies, a woman undergoing abortion is not necessarily committing murder since she was not responsible for an unwanted pregnancy. Therefore, in no case should the personhood of the fetus determine the morality of abortion. Thomson suggests that having a right to life does not grant the right to use another person’s body (3, Thomson, CC p.191). In other words, the fetus’s right to life does not apply to any moral obligation of the mother’s body. Abortion is justifiable because there is no obligation on part of the women for an unwanted pregnancy. In the case of the sick...

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