A Defense of Abortion

Thomson argues that in some though not all circumstances, girls have a right to abortion due to property rights with reference to their body, and the undue burden towards these rights that may be placed on girls if they are to be made answerable for any and all pregnancies.

Thomson makes use of quite a lot of sometimes strange analogies to make her level that even when we give in to the argument that a fetus is an individual, and thus has a proper to life, this proper to life does not necessarily guarantee a proper to maintain that life through the use of one other person’s property, in this case the mother’s physique, in opposition to her will.

Thomson first asks us to consider the following case. You get up and end up in a hospital bed hooked up to a well-known violinist.

It is then explained to you that you’ve been kidnapped by the Society of Music Lovers because you occur to be the only particular person whose blood kind is suitable with the violinist’s, who’s suffering from a kidney disease, and can die until you remain plugged into him for nine months.

Keeping in thoughts that both you and the violinist are harmless events, and that both you and the violinist will stroll out of the hospital alive and unhurt when the nine months are up, are you morally obligated to remain connected to the violinist, who in the case of being pregnant could be the fetus?

First we should contemplate the given analogy and its relativity to the primary scenario, being the morality of abortion.

There aren’t any other cases quite like pregnancy, the place one’s capacity to sustain life is directly depending on using another’s body. This is why Thomson must create the violinist analogy. There are certainly many similarities between the case of the violinist and the case of the fetus. As stated before, both events, the fetus/violinist and the mother/donor are harmless.

The explanation for their connection is based on the actions of a third party, in this case the Society of Music Lovers. The proven fact that the donor was kidnapped presents a distinguishing issue, permitting the analogy to be applied in circumstances such as pregnancy due to rape, the place it is clear that the mom didn’t consent in any approach to changing into pregnant. There are additionally dissimilarities. The kidnapping itself has not traumatized the donor, while within the case of a younger woman being raped and changing into pregnant, the rape itself may be very traumatic.

However, Thomson discounts this by saying that if those who oppose abortion based mostly on the grounds that a person’s right to life is more important than a mother’s property proper to her physique, make an exception within the case of rape, they’re saying that those who come into existence because of rape have much less of a proper to life than others, which sounds somehow wrong. Furthermore, many who oppose abortion on this ground don’t make an exception for rape.

Thus, the first question stays, is it morally permissible to disconnect yourself from a person, even if doing so will kill them? Thomson then takes the violinist situation a step additional, asking us to imagine that it seems that supporting the violinist is placing extra pressure on you, and if you proceed to remain plugged into him, you will die. Some would say that it’s still impermissible, because unplugging yourself would be instantly killing the harmless violinist which is homicide, and always mistaken.

Thomson vehemently denies that you’re obligated to sacrifice your individual life so as to save the violinist, saying that on this case “if anything in the world is true, it’s that you don’t commit homicide, you do not do what’s impermissible, if you attain around to your back and unplug yourself from that violinist to save tons of your life. ” (Vaughn, 175) Many of Thomson’s other analogies deal with the concept of a woman’s property rights to her physique making a case for abortion being permissible. She provides the analogy of a young boy being given a field of goodies, and eating them before his envious brother.

Of course the boy must share his candies with his brother, as most of us would agree. However, Thomson claims that if he doesn’t, he is simply being egocentric and grasping, however not unjust. He is not unjust in denying his brother the goodies simply because they got to him, and thus are his property. If the box had been given to both of the brothers, it will be a unique story. Distinguishing between what one should do and what one is morally obligated to do ties back to the violinist analogy.

Even if the violinist only required use of your physique for one hour, while you ought to allow him to make use of your physique, because it requires little effort in your half, you are not unjust when you refuse. You are perhaps callous and selfish, sure, however not unjust. As Thomson states “Except in such instances as the unborn person has a right to demand it-and we had been leaving open the chance that there may be such cases-nobody is morally required to make giant sacrifices, of well being, of all other interests and issues, of all other duties and commitments, for nine years, and even for 9 months, to be able to maintain another person alive. (Vaughn, 181)

The criticism I would make of this argument is that she doesn’t specify by which instances the unborn person has a right to demand use of a mother’s physique, only that they will happen. She does clearly state however, that having a proper to life does not inherently give one the proper to be given the use of or allowed continued use of another’s body, even when one needs it for life itself. (Vaughn, 178) Some who oppose abortion argue that as a result of pregnancy is preventable, if one occurs to turn out to be pregnant they need to take duty, which supplies the fetus special rights that a stranger, such as the violinist would not have.

Thomson points out that this theory only offers a fetus a proper to a mother’s body if the pregnancy resulted in a voluntary act, leaving out cases of rape. She uses the people-seed analogy to further discuss the implications of holding ladies liable for all pregnancies. She asks us to imagine people as seeds, innocently drifting all over the world, typically even into your house, getting stuck to furniture and carpets. To stop this from taking place to you, you place one of the best screens on your home windows you ought to purchase.

As everyone knows, generally screens are faulty, and a seed finds its means in and takes root, despite your preventative measures. Does that seed have a right to use your home to develop right into a person? It is true that it could have been prevented from taking root if you lived your life in a home without furniture or carpeting, however this seems ridiculous. By the identical token you can say that ladies who’re raped have a accountability to the fetus because rape could possibly be prevented by by no means leaving house without a reliable military, or never leaving house at all.

This is way too high of a burden to put on individuals. When evaluating these analogies and the argument Thomson makes use of them to make, certain questions come up. For instance, if I am not morally obligated to provide my property to somebody who is decided by it for survival, is it morally permissible to let someone starve to demise because I refuse to share my food that I bought earlier from the grocery store? Given her analogies, such as the instance of the boy who refuses to share his chocolate, it would appear that Thomson would say that it’s permissible to let somebody die of hunger.

After all, you are not morally obligated to share what is rightly yours. She would say you might be selfish and grasping, like the little boy, however not unjust or immoral. However, letting an harmless particular person starve to dying, when doing something as little as giving them a few of our meals, doesn’t sit nicely with the common particular person. This is where Thomson’s concept of the Good Samaritan vs. the minimally first rate Samaritan comes into play. In the biblical story, the Good Samaritan saw a person dying within the street, deserted by others who passed. He cleaned the dying man’s wounds and took him to an inn, paying for his stay.

He went out of his method to assist somebody in want, at some price to himself. Thomson illustrates the other extreme by using the case of Kitty Genovese, who was murdered while thirty-eight individuals stood by and did nothing to help. In this case the Good Samaritan would have rushed to her help, putting his own life on the road to find a way to save a stranger’s. While Thomson appears to say that this is too much to ask of individuals, and they aren’t morally required to threat their very own life to save another’s, she does say that the Minimally Decent Samaritan would have at least referred to as the police.

Because no one even referred to as the police, they do not appear to be even minimally decent Samaritans, and their actions are monstrous. While the Good Samaritan offers aid they aren’t obligated to give, the Minimally Decent Samaritan fulfills their minimal obligations. Just as watching a person be murdered and doing completely nothing to help is falling under the usual of minimally decent Samaritan, I would have to imagine that watching a person starve and doing nothing to help can also be monstrous.

After all, utilizing Thomson’s analogies let’s imagine that the people who watched Kitty Genovese get murdered should have used their cell phones to call the police on the very least, but being that their cell phones are their property, they will use them as they wish, and aren’t morally obligated to make use of them to keep away from wasting a life, even when the cost it will deliver to them appears extraordinarily insignificant. Thomson seems to differentiate between situations corresponding to letting somebody starve to demise because you refuse to share your meals, or letting someone be murdered since you refuse to make use of your phone, and aborting a fetus.

She claims that many laws prohibiting abortion compel girls to be Good Samaritans (Vaughn, 181) as opposed to minimally decent. This claim suggests that she believes that harboring a fetus is an act of a Good Samaritan, not a minimally first rate one. Furthermore, by calling the people who watched Kitty Genovese die “monstrous” it means that she does actually consider that watching a person die and doing nothing to help is immoral. By these tokens, it seems that she would in reality view letting another starve as immoral, suggesting that her argument of property rights is inconsistent.

Thomson considerably accounts for these inconsistencies in her closing argument, simply by conceding that the analogies she uses are not idiot proof or meant to be utilized to all circumstances. She states “while I do not argue that abortion isn’t impermissible, I don’t argue that it is at all times permissible. There may well be instances by which carrying the kid to term requires only minimally respectable Samaritanism of the mom, and this may be a commonplace we should not fall below. ” (Vaughn 182) For example, she believes it would be immoral for a lady to abort her baby late within the being pregnant as a outcome of she had a vacation deliberate.

By asserting that her analogies and arguments aren’t meant to make an absolute case for or towards abortion, they do actually only help her to prove her considerably tentative point that ladies do have a proper to abortion, in some although not all instances, because of property rights and the undue burden towards these rights that might be positioned on girls if pressured to carry all pregnancies to time period.

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