abortion philo 4

abortion philo 4 - Philo 4 paper 1 10/31/07 Judith Thompson...

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Philo 4 paper 1 10/31/07 Judith Thompson asserts that abortion is permissible in some cases; she recognizes that the morality of the issue is not black and white. It is unreasonable to state that abortion is always permissible, just as it is to say that it is never acceptable, under any circumstances. Thompson begins her argument by allowing that a fetus is a person from the moment of conception, although, as she shows in her final paragraph, that is not necessarily what she believes. This is a smart move on her part, for it prevents those anti- abortionists whom base their entire arguments off of this idea from shutting down her case from the very first step. Thompson instead begins to break down her opponents’ argument of the fetus’s inaliable right to life. Abortion is essentially a conflict of rights in which specific circumstances cause the fetus’s right to life or the mother’s right to decide what happens in her body to take precedence over the other. Thomson uses several examples throughout her argument to show how the mother’s rights can sometimes out- weigh the fetus’s right to life. Her main focus is on situations of rape and situations of consensual, protected, sex resulting in pregnancy; both of which are backed up by extensive hypothetical examples. In both of these illustrations she distinguishes between moral obligations, voluntary kindness, and decent, unselfish acts. Thompson’s first example is used to attack the anti-abortion argument: A fetus is a person; every person holds the right to life, so the fetus has an inaliable right to life. A woman has the right to decide what happens in her body, but the fetus’s right to life is more stringent, thus a fetus cannot be killed, and performing an abortion is killing the
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fetus (pg 48, A Defense of Abortion). Thompson disputes the claim that the fetus’s right outweighs the mother’s through an analogy of rape. She creates an illustration in which you are kidnapped, put on a bed, and plugged into a famous violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. Your kidneys are the only thing keeping him alive for the next nine months, and if you were to unplug yourself from him he would certainly die. Thompson
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2008 for the course PHIL 4 taught by Professor Chandler during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

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abortion philo 4 - Philo 4 paper 1 10/31/07 Judith Thompson...

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