Explain how Thomson can accept Marquis’s claim that fetuses havefutures like ours (FLOs) and still conclude that abortion is at least sometimes morallypermissible.
The title of Judith Thomson’s argument on abortion is clear and speaks for her opinion, which is that abortion is impermissible. However, towards the end of her argument, she states that, at times, abortion is permissible. She notes that there are situations in which it would be immoral to get an abortion. What is particularly novel is the way through which Thomson builds her argument. It is based on the puzzling argument of whether a fetus is a person or not (Thomson, 47). She argues that if this is cleared, it would be easy to make decisions that pertain to the morality of abortion.
Thomson does agree with Marquis’ concept of fetuses having a future like ours (Marquis, 3; 15). She therefore starts her essay by pointing out the confusion on whether a fetus is a person or not. She notes that if people understood that fetuses were persons, then abortion has to be impermissible, and if they are not persons, then abortion has to be permissible. Her notion about this kind of reasoning is that it is misguided or incomplete, at its very best. In light of this, she starts by giving in to her opponent. She assumes that for the purposes of argumentation, the fetus has to be a person right from its conception (Thomson, pg.47).
She attempts to bring out the fact that abortion is permissible in numerous cases; this she tries to bring out even if the concession is made. She begins by restructuring the dispute by those who oppose abortion and rely on the fetus’ personhood; she is of the opinion that they must have that in mind when they argue about the impressibility of the practice. The fundamental principle of their argument is that the right to life absolutely outweighs any other rights with which it conflicts. However, Thomson does not agree with this argument.
She tries to bring to light her argument whereby abortion is permissible in situations where a person’s rights must be vindicated. By this, Thomson means that a person’s right other than that of life must be considered when decisions of abortion are carried out - though doing this is a violation of another person’s right to life. She uses her example of the violinist to bring out the real picture of what she is talking about in her article (Thomson, pg.48). She then tackles the topic of the right to life. She tries to term the concept and notion of the falsehood of the commonly held beliefs on the potency and allusion of such a right. According to her, this is a mistaken ideology.
According to Thomson, the right to life, which means the right not to be killed in an unjust manner, has little advance to the abortion debate. After all, the issue here is the justness or injustice to the right to life of the fetus, which is in accordance with Marquis’ claim of the fetuses having a future-like-ours.
Her argument is that though a woman has partial casual responsibility of a fetus, the fact that she goes ahead to have intercourse with the full understanding that a fetus will be the result does not guarantee that they will take full responsibility of the pregnancy. Here, she makes use of the window consideration experiments to make obvious that biased informal accountability for a result that does not put up with an individual’s moral responsibility on the outcome. However, Thomson thinks that there are no reasons for ending a fetus’ life since it can be detached from its mother without killing it.
Marquis, D. “Why Abortion is Immoral”. Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 86 (April,
1989), pp. 183-202. Print.
Thomson, J.J. “A defense of abortion”. Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 1. No. 1. (Autumn,
1971), pp. 47-66. Print.