Phil 2367 Au 16: Final Paper – the Moral Permissibility of Abortion – Research Paper – amandagoins
Phil 2367 Au 16: Final Paper – the Moral Permissibility of Abortion
Amanda GoinsPhil 2367 AU 16: Final Paper14 December 2016 The Moral Permissibility of Abortion In this paper, I will be focusing on the morality of abortion and why it is permissible. By giving an exposition of the arguments made by Judith Jarvis Thomson and Don Marquis and providing my own opinions in response, I will specifically focus on the right to life of the fetus and mother and the right to bodily integrity. I am arguing that the factor of choice is significant, and that abortion is the choice to kill a human person. Due to the fact that Marquis’ argument focuses around the killing of a fetus, I will also be focusing on the consequence of killing and the difference between abortion and murder. Through the analysis of these arguments and formation of separate opinions, I argue that abortion is morally permissible on the grounds that the fetus is alive, but the mother’s bodily integrity and future are more significant than the consequences of the fetus’ lost life. Before delving into morals, it is necessary to address what constitutes being a living human being in order to decide if abortion is killing or if a fetus even has a right to life. The term death is medically defined as “a permanent cessation of all vital functions:” a loss of a heartbeat and no brain activity (Merriam-Webster). Based off of this definition, it would seem logical to give life a parallel definition: the beginning of a heartbeat and detectable brain activity. The majority of abortions are done within the first trimester of twelve week, and many of those are done within nine (“Abortion-Reasons Women Choose Abortion”). The fetus’ heart begins beating within five weeks (“Pregnancy Week by Week”). From these statistics, it is evident that the majority of abortions occur when the fetus’ heart is already beating. Based off of the above definition of life, it would seem logical to conclude that a fetus is a human being that is alive. In response to this decision, one might argue that regardless of biology, a human person is one who has the ability to experience strong emotions or express complex behaviors. I believe that a significant issue with this objection is looking at the mentally retarded or severely handicapped where they also cannot function in this definition of a human being, yet we still consider them humans. Therefore, this objection is invalid. Since it is decided that a fetus is a human being that is alive, then abortion must be killing a human. It is significant to address choice when discussing the morality of abortion instead of lumping it together with miscarriage because comparatively, abortion involves one killing another while a miscarriage involves one dying.
To begin my analysis, I will first provide an exposition of Thomson’s arguments. She primarily focuses on the right to life of the mother and fetus, and her main thesis surrounds the idea that abortion is morally permissible but only under certain circumstances that do not involve Minimally Decent Samaritanism. She also begins with the premise that a fetus is a human being at the moment of conception, and she sets up her argument with multiple analogies. I find many of these analogies irrelevant to the central argument of the morality of abortion because they all end in the same result: a woman aborts the fetus with no malicious intent. Despite the irrelevancy, I believe that the analogies to rape and harm to the mother are more obvious to the reader. For example, Thomson sets up an imaginary situation in which a woman and child are stuck in a tiny house together. The child continues to grow and press the mother against the walls of the house, threatening her life. Although there are two victims in this situation, they are of different status. The growing child is threatening, and the mother is threatened. Thomson argues it is morally permissible for the child to be killed in an act of self-defense by the mother. This situation is related to a pregnancy in which a mother’s life is threatened if she were to go through the pregnancy, concluding that it is morally permissible for a woman to abort a fetus in a situation of self-defense. Another analogous example Thomson sets up is one in which you are kidnapped and hooked up to a dying violinist to save his life. If you were to unplug yourself from the violinist, he would die. This analogy is similar to rape, in which a woman does not choose to partake in sexual intercourse nor get pregnant, and therefore is under no obligation to house the fetus. On a different note, Thomson provides an analogous situation in which a woman chooses to have sexual intercourse, but takes necessary precautions of protective sex. She sets this up telling the reader to imagine you are living in a house with a window open, but it has a screen. Despite the screen, these things called People-Seeds come in and take root in your carpet and begin to develop. Thomson argues that although you chose to have your window open, it would be absurd if you were forced to let these People-Seeds make use of your house when they were not invited. Thomson comes to a main conclusion that although the fetus has a right to life, it does not have a right to infringe on the woman’s right to life or her own body.
Continue for 10 more pages »
Read full document
Download as (for upgraded members)
(2017, 01). Phil 2367 Au 16: Final Paper – the Moral Permissibility of Abortion. EssaysForStudent.com. Retrieved 01, 2017, from