The Argument of Abortion - Philosophy Essay

Topics: Abortion, Pregnancy, Abortion debate Pages: 3 (1122 words) Published: December 15, 2010
The Argument of Abortion - Philosophy Essay

The Argument of Abortion - Philosophy Essay
In On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, Mary Anne Warren discusses a few arguments against abortion, namely bringing into play whether the fetus is actually a person, or “not a member of the moral community”. She

defends that abortion is a morally sound action. Don Marquis, in his essay An Argument that Abortion is Wrong, takes the opposite stance. He claims “that abortion, except perhaps in rare instances, is seriously wrong”. The first thing we read in Warren’s article is the thought experiment first conceived by Judith Thomson. It’s an analogy that uses a normal person, male or female, and a famous violinist. Let’s say the Society of Music Lovers kidnaps you, and hooks you up to this dying violinist. If you choose to unhook yourself, the violinist will die, but if you let him stay hooked up to you to use your kidneys (for a period of nine months), then he will be cured and both of you will be free. Thomson asks what a person’s obligations in this situation are, and, to be consistent with Warren’s argument, she says it would be ridiculous to be stay in bed with the violinist, and thus you are able to leave at any time. You shouldn’t feel responsible for the death of the violinist. But Marquis, in his essay, points out that, while good for dealing with abortions due to rape, the analogy doesn’t hold up. Thomson draws to our attention that in pregnancy a fetus uses the woman’s body for life-support, but the woman doesn’t use a fetus’s body for life support. Thus, in an abortion the life that is lost is the fetus’s, not the woman’s. This leaves us with a standoff. I think this overall analogy is not significantly helpful for either side of the argument. Warren then discusses whether or not abortion is actually the killing of a “person”, calling into question when a fetus matures to the point of personhood. She defines the moral community as having some (the...
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