Judith Jarvis Thomson: a Defense of Abortion Essay Example

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Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion – CRITICAL EXPOSITION

The goal of Judith Jarvis Thomson in her defense of abortion is to sway the ideas of those who are against abortion by challenging the arguments they give for thinking so. She begins by stating a premise. “For the sake of the argument” a human embryo is a person. This premise is one of the arguments most opponents of abortion use, but as she points out, isn’t much of an argument at all. These people spend a lot of their time dwelling on the fact that the fetus is a person and hardly any time explaining how the fetus being a person has anything to with abortion being impermissible. In the same breath, she states that those who agree with abortion spend a lot of their time saying the fetus is in fact not a person. Either way, no argument is really formed. No reasons are given. For sake of challenging an actual argument, she is disregarding this issue. With this premise out of the way, she addresses the basic argument the pro-choice campaign believes. “Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life. No doubt the mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body; everyone would grant that. But surely a person’s right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother’s right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it. So the fetus may not be killed; an abortion may not be performed.” The remainder of her paper is a series of analogies meant to challenge the basic argument mention above. When looking at the analogies separately, they are in no way related to the abortion topic, but the conclusions drawn from each can be applied. Because these examples aren’t directly related to the debate, our emotions won’t necessarily be involved and we can clearly think about what is the “right” thing to do for each specific scenario.
To begin, we’re given the following analogy. You have been kidnapped. When you wake up, you find yourself connected to a

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