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A summary of Arguments on Abortion

Moving away from previous debates on abortion, Thompson doesn’t attempt to delineate the point when personhood is attained, but grants for the sake of argument that t he fetus is a person with a right to life. She then attempts to justify abortion through analogical re asoning beginn ing ith the thought experiment of the “sick violinist”.

Following that, Thompson extends the conclusions derived from the analogy to address cases where the mother’s lif e is threatened, where fertilization is accidental, and finally where the mother ends the pregn ancy simply at her convenience. The “sick violinist” thought experiment is as follows: you are kidnapped agains t your will, and your bloodstream is connected to that of a famous violinist who des perately needs a spare set of kidneys. You must remain connected for nine months or else the violinist shall die. Is it morally justified for you to unplug yourself from the violinist even though it results in his certain death?

Thompson compares this scenario to that of an unwanted preg nancy, where the mother( you) are forcibly attached to the fetus (violinist)). (1 , Thompson, CC 20 15 p. 0238) Sathe 2 The analogy explicitly addresses cases where the mother is impregnated agai nst her will, just as you are connected to the violinist against your will. Thompson concede s that the fetus as a person has a right to life, but she emphasizes that due to the nonconsensual ature of the connection, your right to bodily autonomy supersedes that of the fetus and th erefore you are morally justified in unplugging yourself.

A point of note is that the analogy reli es on the assumption that the woman was raped. To counter this argument, Thompson presents the peopleseed analogy. She a sks us to imagine that a woman installs fine mesh in her windows to prevent peoplesee ds from entering and forming peopleplants. If a mesh screen were defective and a peopleplant sprouted, would it be wrong to remove the plant? (2, Thompson, CC 2015 p. 243) This is equivale nt to asking if abortion is morally justified in cases of failed contraception.

Thompson exten ds the sick violinist analogy by asserting that in cases where the mother did not intend to conceiv e, the resulting fetus is again occupying the mother’s body without consent. Consequently, the unw anted fetus’ right to life is trumped by the mother’s bodily freedom. Thompson accounts for the prolife argument by imagining a scenario in whic h she is deathly ill and only the touch of a man named Henry Fonda can save her, but he lives thousands f miles away.

Even though it is decent for Henry Fonda to travel to her and s ave her, he is not obligated to. However, if he were in the same room as her, it would not be mo rally justified for him to walk away.

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