A Critical Examination of Judith Thomsons Argument for Abortion

2743 Words Jun 23rd, 2012 11 Pages
Judith Thomson’s argument through her article, “A Defence of Abortion” is one that adopts the premise that the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. By doing this, Thomson is distancing her argument from the various theorists who maintain the moral view that it is wrong to kill another human being, such as (Marquis, 1989). This ultimately allows her to assume various hypothetical situations in which the cognitive status of the fetus is otherwise not considered. This is important. It helps the case she develops to detach itself from the focal points considered in the 'common argument', which illustrates that the development of a human being from conception through birth into childhood and then adulthood is continuous, and to …show more content…
The notion of responsibility with regards to pregnancy is first outlined in a thought experiment later on in Thomson's argument, of which I will discuss further.
Thomson uses another thought experiment to convey her stance on abortion where rape is not the issue, but a fault in contraception is. She effectively assesses the notion of responsibility In the 'people seed' thought experiment, which although quite far-fetched at first, ultimately adds some legitimacy to her argument. The reader is asked by Thomson to envisage a scenario in which the atmosphere and environment contains various 'people seeds', much like pollen, which drift throughout the atmosphere. If, by some chance, they spontaneously enter your house, their potential to grow into a human being is initiated. Thomson then suggests, "Does the person-plant who now develops have a right to the use of your house?" (Thomson, 1971). Her view is, surely not. This thought experiment is however, not as effective as her ‘unconcious famous violinist’ argument. Thomson’s thought experiment here is flawed, as she fails to combine the obvious relationship between sexual intercourse and conception. Thompson maintains that when a couple have "taken all reasonable precautions against having a child, they do not by virtue of their biological relationship to the child who comes into existence have a special

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