A response to jj thomsons essay a defense of abortion

She challenges the idea that one can argue effectively from this premise to the conclusion that all abortion is morally impermissible. She claims that the Basic Argument my term, not hers cannot justify the notion that all abortion is morally impermissible. The Basic Argument from 48 The fetus is a person and every person has a right to life.

A response to jj thomsons essay a defense of abortion

Reprinted in "Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics," 5th ed. Ronald Munson Belmont; Wadsworth Most opposition to abortion relies on the premise that the fetus is a human being, a person, from the moment of conception. The premise is argued for, but, as I think, not well. Take, for example, the most common argument.

We are asked to notice that the development of a human being from conception through birth into childhood is continuous; then it is said that to draw a line, to choose a point in this development and say "before this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person" is to make an arbitrary choice, a choice for which in the nature of things no good reason can be given.

It is concluded that the fetus is. But this conclusion does not follow. Similar things might be said about the development of an acorn into an oak trees, and it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that we had better say they are.

Arguments of this form are sometimes called "slippery slope arguments"--the phrase is perhaps self-explanatory--and it is dismaying that opponents of abortion rely on them so heavily and uncritically.

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I am inclined to agree, however, that the prospects for "drawing a line" in the development of the fetus look dim. I am inclined to think also that we shall probably have to agree that the fetus has already become a human person well before birth. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when one first learns how early in its life it begins to acquire human characteristics.

By the tenth week, for example, it already has a face, arms and less, fingers and toes; it has internal organs, and brain activity is detectable. On the other hand, I think that the premise is false, that the fetus is not a person from the moment of conception.

A newly fertilized ovum, a newly implanted clump of cells, is no more a person than an acorn is an oak tree. But I shall not discuss any of this.

For it seems to me to be of great interest to ask what happens if, for the sake of argument, we allow the premise. How, precisely, are we supposed to get from there to the conclusion that abortion is morally impermissible?

Opponents of abortion commonly spend most of their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly anytime explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion. Perhaps they think the step too simple and obvious to require much comment.

Or perhaps instead they are simply being economical in argument. Many of those who defend abortion rely on the premise that the fetus is not a person, but only a bit of tissue that will become a person at birth; and why pay out more arguments than you have to?

Whatever the explanation, I suggest that the step they take is neither easy nor obvious, that it calls for closer examination than it is commonly given, and that when we do give it this closer examination we shall feel inclined to reject it.

I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. How does the argument go from here?Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion.

A response to jj thomsons essay a defense of abortion

I think, rather, that there are drastic limits to the right of self-defense. If someone threatens you with death unless you torture someone else to death, I think you have not the right, even to save your life, to do so. But the case under consideration here is very different. But within the original essay where the violinist argument appeared, A Defense of Abortion, there are also other arguments against the pro-life position.

I would like to take a look at the entirety of her essay and show why it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. - Response to Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defense for Abortion Judith Jarvis Thomson, in "A Defense of Abortion", argues that even if we grant that fetuses have a fundamental right to life, in many cases the rights of the mother override the rights of a fetus.

A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson Essay Words | 5 Pages 'A Defense of Abortion' by Judith Jarvis Thomson In the article 'A Defense of Abortion' Judith Jarvis Thomson argues that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus is considered a person. “A Defense of Abortion” – JUDITH JARVIS THOMSON.

Thomson’s (T) imaginative examples and controversial conclusions have made “A Defense of Abortion“ perhaps “the most widely reprinted essay in all of contemporary philosophy.”. T does not think the conceptus (a neutral way of referring to the fetus) is a person from the moment of .

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Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion