Thomson - Abortion

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In the article ‘A Defense of Abortion’ Judith Jarvis Thomson provides an argument that abortion in some cases is morally permissible, because all persons have a right to life. Thomson defends the case by the premise that life begins at the moment of conception; therefore a fetus has the right to life. At the same point Thomson argues that women with unplanned pregnancies that occur from acts of rape have the right to decide what happens to their body. Yet Thomson suggests the unborn child’s right to life should outweigh the mother’s right to autonomy. As a result, the fetus may not be killed. According to Thomson an abortion should not be performed in any circumstance, unless the mother’s life is at risk. In that particular case Thomson grants the mother’s right to life to be greater than the fetus.

Thomson argues for her conclusion by using the violinist scenario. According to the scenario you wake up in the morning to find yourself attached to a famous unconscious violinist. The violinist has a fatal kidney impairment and the Society of Music Lovers searched through all of the medical records to find out that you are the only person with the matching blood type that will save the violinist. The music lover society has kidnapped you and plugged the violinist’s circulatory system into your body, so your kidneys will filter the blood for the violinist in order to sustain his life. The hospital team proceeds to apologize for the inconvenience of the kidnapping and for plugging the violinist into your body without consent, but there are no other options for the violinist. At this time you have the choice to unplug the violinist in order for you to leave the hospital to go on with your life in which if you unplug the violinist would die, or continue to allow the violinist to use your kidneys for the next nine months in order to sustain his life. When considering the two options keep in mind Thomson’s argument that all persons have the right to life. In that case,...
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