Thomson Defense of Abortion

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Philosophy 1001-001
A Defense of Abortion in Pregnancy Reduction

In this paper I will discuss the relevance of J.J. Thomson’s argument in her article, A Defense of Abortion, to that of pregnancy reduction and if there is any relevance, if there are exceptions or situations where that might change. J.J. Thomson’s argument in A Defense of Abortion is that the one thing a person has rights to is his/her body and the right to control what happens with it. Thomson also states that there is an innate desire and need for self-preservation that we all have that must additionally be considered.

To support her argument, Thomson uses the example of a violinist where an unconscious violinist would only stay alive if you were constantly attached to him to compensate for his fatal kidney ailment. She states, “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”. Her premise is that a person’s right to life does not include the right to use another person’s body and so by unplugging the violinist you do not violate his right to life or deprive him of the use of your body – to which he has no right.

Another example Thomson uses to make her argument is that opponents use that abortion is “directly killing a child” therefore killing an innocent person is morally wrong however, “letting a person die” as in the case of the mother’s life being at risk would not be directly killing them. Thomson supports that this does not give the mother’s life the same status as the unborn child’s life and ignores her natural tendency for self-preservation.

In the article The Two Minus One Pregnancy, pregnancy reduction is explained as having a multiple child pregnancy reduced at least one child, meaning they actually decide to kill one of the babies while still in the mothers stomach, whether that be for health or other reasons. J.J. Thompson’s arguments can all be applied to the discussion...
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