Abortion refers to voluntary termination of pregnancy through removing the Uterus of the embryo or fetus prior to viability. In many countries, human abortion is illegal. Many people who oppose abortion rely on the argument that a fetus is a human being from since conception. On Contrary Judith Jarvis Thomson differs with this view and give several examples as a way of proving her point. From Judith's point of view, she argues that a fetus is not a human being from the time of conception. She likens a fetus to acorns which develops top become oak trees. She argued that simply by the fact that they develop to become oak tree this does not mean that they are oak trees. Those who are against the vice of abortion argues that legally all persons have the right to life and a fetus being a person from conception is also entitled to this right to life. On the contrast, the mother who carries the fetus is also a person and hence is entitled to the right to decide what shall happen in and to her body. Comparing between the two it is clear that fetus right to life is outweighs the right entitled to the mother to decide what happens in and to her body.
Judith Jarvis Thomson agrees with these facts, but go on to defend the act of abortion. On her view through her examples she proves her point as follows:
According to her if undertaking abortion is illegal and unacceptable even in an attempt to save the life of the mother the she argues that even the rights to life of the mother would be infringed. She continued and stated that since the mother has a right to decide what happens in and to her body therefore the rights of the mother outweighs the fetus’s right to life.
To prove his point she gave an example of a person who is unwillingly put into bed and is forced to share his or her kidneys with a violinist knowing very well he or she is going to die within the month. Arguing that the act of the person unplugging himself from the innocent violinist as a way of self defense so as to save his or her own life to be an act of committing murder would be unfair to the person since he or she legally entitled to self defense to protect his or her own life. She likens this scenario with a woman not being allowed to carry out an abortion to save her life. She terms this unfair as the mother is also entitled to the act of self defense.
Judith also gave another example of Jones who fastens a coat belonging to Smith so as to avoid from freezing, but in the other hand smith also wants it for the same purpose. Would it be injustice or unfair for smith to ask for his coat, so as to save his life. Judith likens smith to the mother and Jones the fetus thus arguing that the mother is supposed to be allowed to procure abortion if her life is on danger.
Judith gave yet another example of two brothers who were on a Christmas give a box of chocolates and told to share them equally. If one brother refuses to give his brother any of the chocolates would it be unfair for the other brother to ask for his share given the fact that him too he has the right to half of the chocolates. The mother being restricted to carry out an abortion to save her life is likened to the brother who was not entitled to his share of chocolates. Through the above examples, Judith is able to express her views and defend the act of abortion. Her examples show the unfairness that would arise if the mother is not allowed to procure an abortion her life as she is also entitled to self defense when her life is in danger.
Boonin, David. A defense of abortion. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Print.
Cohen, Marshall, Thomas Nagel, Thomas Scanlon, and John Finnis. The rights and wrongs of abortion. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1974. Print.
Lassieur, Allison. Abortion. San Diego, Calif.: Lucent Books, 2001. Print.