A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Thomson Summary

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A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson

Right off the bat the title may be a little deceptive but I am in accordance with Thomson and argue that

abortion is not impermissible and do not argue that it is always permissible.

For my reading response, I want to focus on a mother’s rights and choices when it comes to abortions,

taking inspiration from Thomson’s consideration and rebuttal of several “plausible arguments” given as

to why and when abortion is not permissible. To start off, the over-arching question when discussing

abortion is whether or not the fetus is a person. Moreover, where do we draw the line and say “before

this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person.” Thomson proposes that for
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I, like many abortion defendants, believe a fetus is only a collection of

tissue that will become a person. In my opinion, it will become a person when it develops the ability to

live outside the mother’s body. Similar to the example Thomson gives about acorns: an acorn is not an

oak tree, but an acorn can become a tree. However, I too will grant that a fetus is a person from the

time of conception to make my arguments.

Firstly, as a person, the fetus is granted a right to life as is the mother, as well as the “mother’s right to

decide what shall happen in and to her body.” I believe that the mother’s combined rights out-weigh the

fetus’s right to live. A mother should be able to get an abortion if she wants to. It is not the third parties’

place to intervene or decide for the mother. A third party can however intervene if asked to perform the

abortion because the mother herself decided she wanted one. In addition, a woman should be able to

engage in sex and not be blamed when she gets pregnant just because she knew there was a possibility

that she would get pregnant. On page 65, Thomson lists circumstances in which parents have
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For my reading response, I want to focus on a mother’s rights and choices when it comes to abortions, taking inspiration from Thomson’s consideration and rebuttal of several “plausible arguments” given as to why and when abortion is not permissible. To start off, the over-arching question when discussing abortion is whether or not the fetus is a person. Moreover, where do we draw the line and say “before this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person.” Thomson proposes that for the sake of her following argument we grant the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. I however, already find myself in opposition. I, like many abortion defendants, believe a fetus is only a collection of tissue that will become a person. In my opinion, it will become a person when it develops the ability to live outside the mother’s body. Similar to the example Thomson gives about acorns: an acorn is not an oak tree, but an acorn can become a tree. However, I too will grant that a fetus is a person from the time of conception to make my arguments. Firstly, as a person, the fetus is granted a right to life as is the mother, as well as the “mother’s right to decide what shall happen in and to her body.” I believe

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