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Thomson and Warren on Abortion

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PHIL 201
James Scow

11/5/13 Thomson Defending abortion is normally a liberal position to take. To defend that the fetus is a person is a conservative view. Thomson says, even if you establish that a fetus is a person, you can still defend abortion, according to her. Whereas normally when you establish the fetus is a person then you are automatically arguing against abortion. This is not her position, she doesn’t necessarily agree with this, but lets see if it works. She argues it is still defensible, in limited cases. You can still defend abortion if you agree that a fetus is a person. First she argues that human beings have a right to life. It is not just because were humans that we have rights. We could say because we are person we have rights. But this is not really hitting it exactly. Is this entity a moral being. Well it’s a refrigerator, that doesn’t tell you anything. Well it’s a human, okay that’s biological. Even person when it is understood psychologically, it is not what gives us a right to life. Both warren and marquee touch on this problem. Its better to avoid this because you can mean biological or morally. She argues, even if we suppose the fetus has a right to life, it doesn’t follow that abortion is immoral. abortion doesn’t always lead to the death of a fetus. The fetus could survive. Most of the time when we talk about abortion, were talking about taking away a fetus’s right to life. Theres nothing worse you can do than kill people. There are only certain circumstances in which killing is acceptable. Shes thinking about a situation where, yes your killing something that has a right to life, but it is a justified situation. One case where you got an optopic pregnancy, and it becomes a threat to your own life. Youd loose the fetus’s life also, so it would be justified to abort. Certainly a woman, if she had the power to do it, could abort herself. Certainly you have a right to stop something that is killing you. Drs. Might have moral issues with doing it. The main case she is talking about is becoming pregnant from a rape. Abortion should be justified in this case, even assuming that a fetus is a person. Argument for morality—analogy is famous violinist is dying. He needs access to the right kidney to survive. The society determines that you are the only one compatible, within a reasonable radius, they want to hook you up to the violinist. They are not gonna ask you, they are enforcing it. They’ve kidnapped you, you wake up and find yourself hooked up to this violinist. This is sposed to be an analogy, because it was a violent act against your will. You end up having another human being who is dependent on your life. Your hooked up for 9 months. You didn’t do any
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