Abortion

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Don Marquis and Judith Thomson: Abortion, permissible or not.

In order to start talking about abortion first we need to clarify the meaning of this term and distinguish between the other meanings of this word. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy by removing the fetus from pregnant woman's body. An abortion also can happen naturally without intention, in which case it is called a miscarriage. In this text we will talk about the purposely induced abortion and whether it is moral thing to do. This debate focuses on two main issues, where the first one is whether the human fetus has the right to life, and, if so, are the rights of the mother stronger than the rights of the fetus. There are many articles and books on this topic, where different people are trying to explain their opinion about the abortion and also they are trying to persuade other people to think the same. For my paper I chose two ethicists who present their arguments for the position they stand for, Don Marquis and Judith Thomson. Both of them have different method of persuading and we can clearly see that Marquis in his essay "An Argument that Abortion Is Wrong " mainly uses FLO (Future Like Ours) theory to present his viewpoint while on the other side we have Thomson using more examples similar to the abortion case in her paper " In defense of abortion " in order to influence the reader of her point of view. Both authors give argument that have good and bad sides, and what I am going to try in this paper is to show that Thomson presents more reliable and trustful arguments than Marquis.

To begin with, Thomson in her paper made up powerful thought experiments designed as analogies to different situations where a woman is pregnant but she wants to terminate her pregnancy. The purpose of those experiments is to prove her ideas that abortion in most of the cases is morally permissible. She also states that “First, while I do argue that abortion is not impermissible, I do not argue that it is always permissible…. Secondly, while I am arguing for the permissibility of abortion in some cases, I am not arguing for the right to secure the death of the unborn child.” Her first analogy is a situation where you wake up one morning and you find that your circulatory system is attached to the circulatory system of a famous violinist whose kidneys are failing. You didn't give your approval for this but if you detach yourself from this violinist, his kidneys will surely fail and he will die immediately. Furthermore, you must remain attached to this violinist for nine months. When nine months is up, the violinist will be able to live alone again. Are you acting immoral by detaching yourself from this violinist? Or are you acting charitable by keeping him attached? This analogy is based on the assumption that the pregnancy is due to rape. Similar to the fetus, the violinist did not have any intentions to getting himself hooked to you but was hooked up by the violin society, he found himself hooked to you just like the fetus was deposited in the woman by the rapist, which make both the violinist and the fetus innocent since neither had a choice in being attached or not. Also similar to the fetus, we don't know if the violinist wanted to be hooked up to begin with or if he would like to maintain the attachment in order to sustain his own life. Last, but definitely not least, just like the woman did not approve of the rapist depositing his sperm in her, you never approved the violinist to be attached to you. Although the violinist is a person, an innocent person, this experiment was designed to show that the mother had no obligation to sustain his life and likewise has no obligation to keep the fetus inside of her. Consequently, the violinist analogy demonstrates Thomson’s point of view in the case of aborting a pregnancy that resulted from rape, innocence and/or the personhood-status are completely irrelevant to the...
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