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Thompson a Defense of Abortion

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Annette Lombard

PHIL 1740: First Paper Assignment

Prof. Stangl

Spring 2017

A Defense of Abortion

Judith Jarvis Thomson argues that even if a fetus has a right to life abortion is morally permissible. Thomson poses the hypothetical idea where one is kidnapped and hooked up to a world famous violinist and his life depends on being hooked up to you for an indefinite amount of time. The conclusion is made that unplugging yourself from the violinist is not unjust as he is using your body against your will. Taking into account this situation Thompson hypothesizes different time periods to which the violinist will be hooked up to your body. When contrasting an hour which seems just slightly inconvenient to nine years Thompson points out nothing becomes morally permissible based on the level of inconvenience. To unplug yourself from the violinist would be morally permissible because you do not owe him anything. Thompson goes on to conclude that even if the fetus has the right to life it does not have the right to use another person’s body even if it’s life depends on it.

Another example Thomson provides is the scenario where a box of chocolates is given to two brothers. Say both brothers are entitled to the chocolates however the older brother unjustly takes the chocolates all for himself. In this situation the older brother is certainly being unjust to the younger brother as they had equal claim to the chocolate. However now say the box of chocolates was only given to the older brother and he eats them in front of his younger brother. The older brother is not required to share with his younger brother even though it would be considered rude not to. Thomson goes on to say that even though the older brother ought to give the younger brother the chocolates he is doing no injustice, just as women ought to share their bodies with fetuses however they are not required.

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