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Judith jarvis thomsons defence on abortion essay

Assessing whether the scenario is analogous to cases of 1 unwanted pregnancies, 2 abortion. Critic from both sides of the debate will be woven into the evaluation to provide a rounded view, for determining whether the analogy was successful with its intent. A summary will follow with the findings. Most standardized pro-life arguments concerning the abortion issue start as follows: It is wrong intentionally to take the life of an innocent human being.

The unborn is an innocent human being. It is wrong intentionally to take the life of the unborn. Thompson challenges the idea that one can argue effectively from this premise to the conclusion, that sometimes abortion is morally permissible. She argues that the standard pro-life argument cannot justify the notion that all abortion is morally impermissible. Thomson writing at a time when the status of the fetus was a great debate grants the opposition for the sake of argument, the premise that the fetus is a unborn person.

Thomson then asks the reader to imagine a scenario where they have been kidnapped and involuntarily hooked up to a famous violinist for nine months, in order to save the violinist from a fatal disease. The reader has then to make a conscious choice as to how they would react.

Abortion/ Response To Judith Jarvis Thomson

Thompson expects the readers moral intuition — there sense of justice to arise to the surface, when the reader considers being kidnapped and attached to the violinist 1 against their will 2 to support the life of a stranger. So would the reader consider it to be moral or immoral to unplug oneself from the violinist under these circumstances?

Thomson assumes, most people would not argue that 1 the violinist is not a valuable being with a right to life, 2 their moral intuitive and sense of justice would confer that they are under no moral obligation to use their body to support a stranger for nine months.

With this being said, Thomson then asks the reader to consider if having a abortion is a meaningful analogy to unplugging the violinist?

Here Thomson assumes that both scenarios will reveal the same conclusion.

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Just as the reader 1 is under no moral obligation to use his body to support the violinist, a woman 2 is under no obligation to support a human fetus. The logical slippery slope works like this. When one thing is immoral, and the second is logically similar in a morally relevant way, the moral quality of one slips over into the other.

Thomson aimed to sway, if only for a brief moment, the moral intuition of the reader, the hardened pro-life advocate.

A Defense of Abortion

The analogy brings to the surface a persons instinctive attachment to their own personal autonomy. This is not to say that the violinist analogy was the straw that broke the camels back. As it received rounded criticism from both sides of the abortion debate for various reasons. Speculatively, if Thomson were to reply directly to Warren she might claim, well if x consented to sex and took the relevant precautions, the precaution illustrates that she does not commit to the consequences of an action yif y appears out of a contraceptive mishap, x still has a moral right to her own autonomy.

Y autonomous in itself, has also a right, however as y in this instance is dependant on x for survival, the rights of x in accordance with the rule of autonomy, triumph over the rights of y. Thomson does later in the theory suggest that one ought to consent however, one has a right not to do so. For Warren a person with full human rights indicates personhood so killing another person is immoral.

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Some argue the analogy was strongest in illustrating a tight parallel analogy to cases of forced intimacy — rape. But admittedly weaker in areas such as consensual sex. But maybe one does need the analogy to illustrate a logical judith jarvis thomsons defence on abortion essay slope here.

As, Koukl pointed out earlier if killing is moral in one sense, logically on the slippery slope, it has to follow that killing must always be moral. In this argument the fetus is held in the same regard as adult humans.

Marquis examines why people ordinarily regard it as immoral prima-facie to take the life of an adult human being, he claims the reason to be one of value. Depriving something which has the capacity to have a future like ours — a future of value is always immoral.

Therefore, as a fetus has the potential for these capacities killing a fetus would be to deprive it of a future like ours — a future of value, so it is always immoral to kill a fetus. So it follows that killing something whether indirect or directly is always immoral if it deprives it of a future of value like ours. In most cases those on either side of the debate will offer a morally relevant difference rather than bite the bullet and settle with the consequences.

Yes, the argument is sound for the particular theory and rights she choose. In this respect the analogy was able to illustrate that we as human beings subconsciously, without external influences instinctively value our autonomy. When in fact within a rights based theory we are in no means obliged to adhere this rule for our individual rights, freedoms and personal autonomy take prevalence over the needs of other beings.

Judith Jarvis Thomson’s Defence on Abortion Essay

Conversely, if the reader instinctively replied that is was immoral to unplug oneself from the violinist then they should also agree that abortion in some cases is immoral; so again logically it has also to be true that abortion is immoral in all cases. A third success was highlighting that if the readers moral intuition and sense of justice, directs them to either one of the above conclusions, the next logical step would be to agree that the act is always permissible or always impermissible.

WC 2089 References 1.