Judith Jarvis Thomson: a Defense of Abortion Essay

1953 Words Dec 15th, 2011 8 Pages
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
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Thomson uses the following analogy to discuss this issue. Two brothers are given a box of chocolates and one brother refuses to give any to the other brother. It would be unfair for the one brother to not give the other his share of the chocolates. The refusal to share is indecent and unjust. Thomson states “to deprive someone of what he has a right to is to treat him unjustly.” The brothers and the chocolate show this, but on the contrary if in the violinist scenario, you learn that instead of 9 months, you are to spend 9 years plugged into him, you aren’t being unjust because you gave him no right to your kidneys; you were kidnapped. When looking at the story of the Good Samaritan, it seems right that we all should be Minimally Decent Samaritans, but even then the rights of one person don’t generate a requirement of a personal sacrifice or obligation. When applying this logic to the violinist, if you were only required to be attached to him for an hour, you would be considered self-centered and horrible if you refused, but you wouldn’t be depriving the violinist of his right to your body because he still has none. Because of this, the argument must be adjusted. “The right to life consists not in the right not to be killed, but rather in the right not to be killed unjustly.” This analogy again proves the basic argument wrong, for even with the adjustment accepted, the argument doesn’t show that the fetus’s rights are

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