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Ethics - Session 15

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Kelin Emmett

Ethics – Session 15  abortion debate  often surrounds the question, “When is the fetus a person?”  Thomson does not think that the conclusion follows  it’s a bad argument  skeptical that it’s possible to draw the line at when a fetus is a person  argues that even if the fetus is a person, abortion can still be permissible  the thought is that, “if the fetus is a person, then abortion is impermissible”  Thomson  points out limitations of the argument for why  if the “fetus is a person, then abortion is impermissible”  mother has a right to life  does not follow that abortion is impermissible if the mother’s life is at risk  the mother is a person and persons have the right to self-defense  if the fetus is threatening the life of the mother  mother has a right to defend herself  (regardless of the fact that the fetus is morally innocent)  third-party intervention is not permissible  impartiality does not allow for a third-party to interfere  third-party cannot choose who is allowed to live  only the mother may do the abortion herself  Thomson argues that third-party intervention is permissible  because it’s the mother’s body,  note that other things are not equal, contrary to the claim  Thomson argues for abortion even in the case of when a mother’s life is not in danger  through the usage of a thought experiment  concludes that one is not obligated  “it’d be good, but not obligated.”  points out that the fetus do
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