Abortion - a Defense of Abortion by Thomson

Topics: Human, Abortion, Decision making Pages: 4 (1597 words) Published: April 10, 2013

The main pro-life against abortion argument goes like this: Killing a human life is wrong and a fetus is a human life; therefore, killing a fetus is wrong. However, the debate is always surrounded by the second premise which is: at what point of a pregnancy is a fetus a human being. As medical science and technology progress, the line might shift back and forth. For the sake of this argument, I will neglect the second premise; I will say that a fetus is a human being at the time of conception. Now, we will have to re-examine the first premise. In this paper, to show that killing a human life is justified under some circumstances, I wish to use the experiments which were used in A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson while making some modifications to her experiments; therefore, I will show that abortion is justified under some circumstances.

In A Defense of Abortion, Thomson uses an experiment to illustrate pregnancy in cases of rape. “You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. [If he is unplugged from you now, he will die; but] in nine months he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.” [Thomson] You did not give the permission for the violinist to use your body and it was clearly not the violinist’s own intention to use your body. As Thomson suggests, it would be nice for you to “let” him use your kidney, but it should not be your responsibility to do so. You should not bear the moral responsibility of making a choice of keeping the plug...
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