A. Thomson presents the case of the sick violinist in his defense of abortion. The proposition identifies that an individual wakes up in the morning and is next to an unconscious violinist (Thomson 114). Assuming that a plugged connection that saves their life is the only way that the violinist will live, the question arises whether there is a moral obligation to the individual to sustain lie for the violinist despite the personal atrophy that is simultaneously caused (Thomson 114).
In this case it is evident that the violinist does not have a right to life and medical assistance just because they are a person. This is identical to the argument that a fetus is considered in some contexts as a partially developed human being. Even though all persons have the right to live, and also the power to chose what happens to their bodies, the conflict between priorities arises in this scenario similarly as in the case of a mother’s body and a fetus’ right to life. Asserting that a fetus’ right to life outweighs the right of a woman to choose what happens to her body is on par with expecting an individual to sustain life to the violinist indefinitely. In the case of the violinist, it is proven that the hostage may not want to sustain the violinists’ life and would then unplug. This corresponds to the interest of a woman to not have a child and subsequent abortion. The violinist example creates an impression of the emotional and self-perceived rights that are associated with a mother’s decision to terminate the pregnancy. Therefore, an abortion doesn’t necessarily interfere with fetus’ right to life and the circumstance does not create wrongful killing.
These arguments challenge Noonan in several ways. As described, there is a stark difference between kidnapping and pregnancy. Therefore, the moral decision-making exercised by a mother must reflect a realistic comparison in order to designate the comparability that is sought in this argument. The greatest way that this challenges Noonan’s pro-life argument is in its evocation of emotion. Noonan agrees that emotion is a necessary element in moral response yet only to a particular degree (Noonan 138). The argument of the violinist evokes a consistent understanding of the scenario from an adult and emotional standpoint in light of numerous variables. Therefore the argument that Thomson makes is characterized by an emotional reaction to place moral judgment and is contrary to Noonan’s point.
Thomson allows for an analogy with the sick violinist to demonstrate how abortion does not constitute the killing of a fetus. Adopting a pro-life assumption creates the ground for this conversation. Thomson establishes moral relevance between the scenarios presented by the violinist and pregnancies that arise from rape. This is obligated towards a scenario where the woman’s autonomy is violated. The greatest differences that are seen between these two perspectives are elucidated in the way that a moral argument is handled. Noonan encourages an emotional reaction as does Thomson (Noonan 139).
However, the underlying analogy that Thomson posits does not account for the differentiated complexities that are present in contemporary abortion. The degree to which emotional and logical reasoning should be used is the most proximal to the goals established in this piece (Noonan 140). Therefore it is of further importance that Thomson differentiates emotional and structural elements in order to account for the inconsistencies that Noonan would prompt within a conversation of criticism. According to Thomson, abortion is only moral in some cases. These are explicated in reference to the violinists’ model and illustrate the burgeoning complexities of abortion rights. The unclear approach and meticulous differentiations between what is morally acceptable to Thomson illustrate a perspective that is not resolute in most facets.
B. Noonan forms an argument regarding the presentation of abortion relying on pathological undertones. Since hard cases make bad laws according to the writing, it is necessary that further evaluation of broader trends be emphasized according to Noonan (Noonan 138). This is an established point that reflects the continuous exploration of this topic with reference to underlying themes that are misplaced. An important point about the differentiation between interested and involuntary pregnancy can be seen as critical towards understanding the various moral and legal obligations of each part (Noonan 139).
An important difference between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ is suggested in general contexts as well as in specific reference to abortion. The termination of an abortion to save the mother’s life is indirect. Several metaphors are presented about seeing moral integrity and value. These are precluded by a conversation about the line drawing characteristics in human rights issues (Noonan 140). Comparing these concepts to perception allows for a stark yet well distinguished set of comparisons.
Noonan presents a pro-life argument that involves seeing and balancing as key functions towards the development of humanity. Viewpoints of the fetus as well as experiences related to the rape-victim circumstances. The central argument identifies that reasoning can omit dimensions of the fundamental human experience. Therefore it is important that there is a qualitative balance between the fetus and the woman.
Noonan posits that there are inherent emotions that are differentiated based on reality and the analogous prevention of experiences from a holistic perspective. Moral relevance as well as understanding real experiences is critical to the position of Noonan and distinguishes his perceptions from those related to others (Noonan 141).
There are several elements of the argument that Thomson makes regarding abortion that characterize the argument in a less than transparent way. She indicates that a person’s right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother’s right to decide what happens to her body (Thomson 114). Using this as the basis for the example creates a complexity in the violinist argument. Since the scenario illustrates that the victim has been kidnapped for the purpose of assisting life. While this may apply to scenarios in abortion where the mother has not chosen to be pregnant, it does not account for all of a mother’s predispositions to pregnancy.
There are other examples that address voluntary situations. However there are few connections between the rights of the fetus and those of the mother in reference to the explicit duty to life. Another criticism of Thomsons’ use of the violinist argument can be seen in using the label of innocence (Thomson 115). While the general understanding of the fetus being innocent, the argument can be understood. However, it may be conceivable that the mother is innocent as well in terms of her lack of control in the situation from which the fetus originated. This circumstance is not defined clearly and therefore asserts a point about taking innocent life without qualifying both parties’ innocence.
Thomson would respond to this argument that the hypothetical scenario does not warrant a different perspective about the mother’s innocence because it is relatively nonexistent compared to the fetus. Since the fetus did not ask for life and the mother is in the position to bestow or take it away, the innocence of the mother may be found to be unrelated because of the right to life versus right to body argument presented earlier in the discussion.
These two authors are interested in the confluence of rights and ethics in deciding cases of abortion. The greatest area of comparison between Thomson and Noonan can be seen in the ethical and emotional characterization of responses.
C. Glover presents a restricted viewpoint and argument that explores feminist and technological issues related to abortion. Self-consciousness allows for a preference towards female autonomy to be established. While the fetus may continue to develop, Glover posits some difficulty in line drawing. Viability and personhood are compared in terms of the fetus and their particular location. Ultimately, Glover identifies that (Glover 55).
It is evident that complex technological issues will change the conversation and specific mechanisms that scientists use to understand fetus life and formation. Throughout the developments of the past half-century these changes will yield a unique perspective regarding life and the vivacity of the fetus. Since consciousness has been identified as a critical element towards establishing the moral and ethical case for abortion, these developments are key for the sustained interest and cultivation of sound logic (Rosenberg 52)
Glover notes that poor argumentation may yield simplified issues that would require an emotional response. This perpetuates a system of beliefs that may require over simplification. Glover can make several criticisms of Noonan’s pro-life argument. Most of these would be related to appealing to Noonan’s concepts of seeing and balancing. These would encourage emotional opposition. Glover would describe this phenomenon as detrimental towards making ethical decisions that are valuable and empathetic towards the woman (Glover 56). This is not a complete argument and reflects only portions of the double-sided conversation.
Noonan poses a moral argument that employs the true case of Good Samaritan duty towards serving underling and incumbent positions. The intent to kill is underlying all discussion regarding abortion. The pro-choice argument employs the metaphors of circumstantial evidence and support in determining the woman’s desire to murder a fetus that would preclude abortion (Glover 55). An emphasis on this as well as the right for a woman to use her personal property for survival evokes a complementary point on this topic. However, the Good Samaritan duty allows for fetal harm to be prevented or avoided.
Noonan may posit several criticisms of Glover. Noonan criticizes Glover for using the ends to ultimately justify the means. This is seen as the ends being the society limited from unwanted children and the means as abortion. Glover has pro-choice conclusions that identify with the fetus lacking personhood (Glover 57). Noonan asserts that an emotional response would promote the understanding that the ends never justify the means. Glover would respond to this noting the importance of underlying emotional responses. However, balancing and other relevant principles of autonomy, happiness and other priorities affect personhood. Depending on the effects of contemporary societal circumstances Glover may justify the utilitarian benefits that can be seen to causing the least harm to the most people by preventing unwanted childbirth. However, this is more of an emotional reaction than one that is based on sound logical tenants.
The most compelling differences between Glover and Noonan are seen in terms of the complexities in emotional and logic. At the root of critical conversation, it is possible to see that identifying a fetus with human and person responsibilities will differentiate the course of arguments. Therefore the underlying emotional responses and autonomy are brought up in reference to the proximal quality of life that a fetus would experience (Noonan 141). While there are valuable elements of the abortion conversation explored in this way, complexities of emotional discourse and change create unique perspectives. Therefore, Noonan criticizes Glover’s concessions on grounds of irrationality related to emotional and other forms of experiential interpretation.
Boss, J. A. "Analyzing moral issues," (2001). Web. July 2015.
Glover, Jonathan. "Matters of Life and Death." New York Review of Books(1985): 19-22.Web. July 2015.
Noonan, John Thomas. The morality of abortion: legal and historical perspectives. Harvard Univ Pr, 1970.Web. July 2015.
Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "A defense of abortion." Philosophy & Public Affairs (1971): 47-66.Web. July 2015.
Rosenberg, Debra. "The war over fetal rights." Newsweek 141.23 (2003): 40-4.Web. July 2015.