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The Questionable Permissability Of Abortion Essay

1264 words - 6 pages

It is not easy to completely approve or disapprove of abortion. Judith Jarvis Thomson and I both believe abortion is morally permissible in some cases, where it is immoral in others. This is the argument that Thomson makes in “A Defense of Abortion.” She makes many comparisons to prove her points in different situations. Though she does not believe that a fetus is a human being from the moment of conception [“A newly fertilized ovum, a newly implanted clump of cells, is no more a person than an acorn is an oak tree” (48)], she allows this premise for the sake of argument. Thomson believes that abortion is morally permissible if a woman decides to have one in the early stages of ...view middle of the document...

If she gives the checkbook back to you, she would most likely die of hunger. Because your money would save her life and she has the right to live, does she have the right to your money? You did not decide to give her your checkbook, so she does not have the right to use it. A woman that was raped never decided to have a child, so it is morally permissible for her to have an abortion.
If a woman voluntarily has sex without any form of birth control knowing that she could get pregnant, Thomson believes it is morally impermissible for her to have an abortion: “[D]oing so would be depriving [the child] of what it does have a right to, and thus would be doing it an injustice” (58). The woman knew the possible consequences of her actions, so it is her responsibility to deal with them. For instance, if you promise your friend that they can borrow your CD, you have given them the right to borrow your CD. You will have to lend that CD to your friend as a result. If you made that promise and were planning on it falling through, you would be doing your friend an injustice. The woman could have used birth control, and you could have told your friend that he could not borrow the CD if you did not want to deal with the consequences.
However, when a woman voluntarily has sex while she is using birth control, Thomson believes it is morally permissible to have an abortion. She compares the situation to barring up your windows and having a burglar come in your house anyway (59). This is obviously not your fault; you did everything you could to prevent burglary. Say that a woman believes she is taking birth control, but her birth control has actually been replaced with a placebo. Both of these situations show that the woman did what she could to prevent pregnancy. The woman attempted to prevent pregnancy, but she got pregnant anyway. She did nothing to cause the pregnancy, so it is morally permissible for her to have an abortion.
In Thomson’s conclusion, though, she reminds her readers that she does not actually believe that the fetus is a human from the moment of conception. According to her, an abortion is permissible under any circumstances if it takes place early in the pregnancy: “A very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person, and so is not dealt with by anything I have said here” (66). Maybe that “clump of cells” is not a human being, but that does not change the fact that it will become one. A woman that has an...

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