Short Answer Questions: Unit 3
TOPIC #1: ABORTION
“When does a fetus because a person or a human being?” is the common question asked when
debating abortion. But both Marquis and Judith Jarvis Thompson believe it’s the wrong question to be
asking ourselves when we want to come to a logical conclusion.
States that we need to figure out what makes killing wrong, to come to a conclusion.
He starts by saying:
o Killing an Adult human being is wrong
o But what makes it wrong?
It causes the person who is killed to lose the most valuable thing which they
Deprives the killed person of the future; any possible projects, relationships or
activities they might engage in.
o Compare what makes it wrong to what supposedly makes abortion wrong.
Marquis Verdict: Abortion is morally impermissible; it is on the same level as killing a human being.
You deprive them of everything that they may experience and that is morally wrong.
Objection 1: Fetuses can’t value anything because they don’t possess the capabilities to do so.
Response 1: My future can be valuable to me even though I may not value it at the present moment.
Objection 2: Doesn’t this make contraception and abstention from sex, also seriously immoral?
Response 2: His response isn’t that we must MAXIMIZE the number of futures. In all seriousness there
needs to be a subject whose future is being saved. Contraception doesn’t allow for a subject to exist
because the fetus and egg haven’t met yet.
Judith Jarvis Thomson
For the sake of the argument, Thomson supposes the fetus is