Arguments in Favor of the Right to Abortion

Topics: Abortion, Abortion debate, The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime Pages: 6 (2132 words) Published: January 15, 2011
Arguments in favor of the right to abortion
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[edit] Bodily rights
An argument first presented by Judith Jarvis Thomson states that even if the fetus has a right to life, abortion is morally permissible because a woman has a right to control her own body. Thomson's variant of this argument draws an analogy between forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy and forcing a person's body to be used as a dialysis machine for another person suffering from kidney failure. It is argued that just as it would be permissible to "unplug" and thereby cause the death of the person who is using one's kidneys, so it is permissible to abort the fetus (who similarly, it is said, has no right to use one's body against one's will). Critics of this argument generally argue that there are morally relevant disanalogies between abortion and the kidney failure scenario. For example, it is argued that the fetus is the woman's child as opposed to a mere stranger;[59] that abortion kills the fetus rather than merely letting it die;[60] and that in the case of pregnancy arising from voluntary intercourse, the woman has either tacitly consented to the fetus using her body,[61] or has a duty to allow it to use her body since she herself is responsible for its need to use her body.[62] Some writers defend the analogy against these objections, arguing that the disanalogies are morally irrelevant or do not apply to abortion in the way critics have claimed.[63] Alternative scenarios have been put forth as more accurate and realistic representations of the moral issues present in abortion. John Noonan proposes the scenario of a family who was found to be liable for frostbite finger loss suffered by a dinner guest whom they refused to allow to stay overnight, although it was very cold outside and the guest showed signs of being sick. It is argued that just as it would not be permissible to refuse temporary accommodation for the guest to protect them from physical harm, it would not be permissible to refuse temporary accommodation of a fetus.[64] Other critics claim that there is a difference between artificial and extraordinary means of preservation, such as medical treatment, kidney dialysis, and blood transfusions, and normal and natural means of preservation, such as gestation, childbirth, and breastfeeding. They argue that if a baby was born into an environment in which there was no replacement available for her mother's breast milk, and the baby would either breastfeed or starve, the mother would have to allow the baby to breastfeed. But the mother would never have to give the baby a blood transfusion, no matter what the circumstances were. The difference between breastfeeding in that scenario and blood transfusions is the difference between using your body as a kidney dialysis machine, and gestation and childbirth.[65][66][67][68][69][70] [edit] Sexual emancipation and equality

Some argue that women's freedoms are limited until they can have the right to abortion on demand and to walk away from parenthood like men can. Governments that ban abortion arguably burden women with certain duties that men (who, too, are responsible for the pregnancy) are not also held accountable to, therefore, creating a double standard. [71] Margaret Sanger wrote: "No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."[72] Denying the right to abortion can be construed from this perspective as a form of female oppression under a patriarchal system, perpetuating inequality between the sexes. Among pro-choice advocates, sexual-equality discussion often involves the additional debate regarding to what degree the potential father should have a choice in deciding whether or not to abort the developing child. [edit] Arguments against the right to abortion

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