And then, too, it might be asked whether or not she can kill it even to save her own life: Thomson has to paint pregnancy in the most horrific of terms in order to make her argument seem plausible. It may be said that what is important is not merely the fact that the fetus is a person, but that it is a person for whom the woman has a special kind of responsibility issuing from the fact that she is its mother.
Suppose you find yourself trapped in a tiny house with a growing child. Imagine that you wake up one morning and find that you have been kidnapped, taken to a hospital, and a famous violist has been attached to your circulatory system.
She reflects on two prospects whether the right to life is being given the bare minimum to sustain life or ir the right to life is merely the right not to be killed.
In the violinist scenario, the woman was kidnapped: There is no injustice to the violinist in our doing so. For this reason we may feel that we bystanders cannot interfere.
These things are a matter of degree, of course, but there is a difference, and it comes out perhaps most clearly in the story of Kitty Genovese, who, as you will remember, was murdered while thirty-eight people watched or listened, and did nothing at all to help her.
We cannot choose between your life and his, we cannot be the ones to decide who is to live, we cannot intervene.
Let us grant that one may indeed unplug oneself from the violinist. In one sense of "cause of death" yes. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Since the violinist does not have a right to your body then you would not be unjustly killing him by detaching yourself from him.
Certainly it lets us see that a third party who says "I cannot choose between you" is fooling himself if he thinks this is impartiality.
But if you shoot him, then he dies of the bullet you have put in his brain, and not of his sickness. The class of exceptions is obvious.
Just as the sperm donor is not responsible for how his sperm is used or what results from its use e. Arguments of this form are sometimes called "slippery slope arguments"--the phrase is perhaps self-explanatory--and it is dismaying that opponents of abortion rely on them so heavily and uncritically.
But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. They may wish to assume responsibility for it, or they may not wish to. For we cannot simply read off what a person may do from what a third party may do. She claims that he definitely has no right against you that you should give him use of your kidneys continuously.
Unlike Thomson's violinist, who is artificially attached to another person in order to save his life and is therefore not naturally dependent on any particular human being, the unborn entity is a human being who by her very nature is dependent on her mother, for this is how human beings are at this stage of their development.
We are asked to notice that the development of a human being from conception through birth into childhood is continuous; then it is said that to draw a line, to choose a point in this development and say "before this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person" is to make an arbitrary choice, a choice for which in the nature of things no good reason can be given.
For what we have to keep in mind is that the mother and the unborn child are not like two tenants in a small house which has, by an unfortunate mistake, been rented to both: And perhaps this needn't be argued for here anyway, since, as I mentioned, the arguments against abortion we are looking at do grant that the woman has a right to decide what happens in and to her body.
Nor has he any right against anybody else that they should give him continued use of your kidneys. If Jones has found and fastened on a certain coat, which he needs to keep him from freezing, but which Smith also needs to keep him from freezing, then it is not impartiality that says "I cannot choose between you" when Smith owns the coat.
Thomson's argument is fatal to family morality. Women have said again and again "This body is my body. Start from what we know: For present purposes it is enough just to draw attention to it.
If someone threatens you with death unless you torture someone else to death, I think you have not the right, even to save your life, to do so. It would be frightfully nice of him to fly in from the West Coast to provide it.
This is not absurd because we hold drunk people whose driving results in manslaughter responsible for their actions, even if they did not intend to kill someone prior to becoming intoxicated.
My own view is that if a human being has any just, prior claim to anything at all, he has a just, prior claim to his own body. Thomson is not granting our minor premise because her article assumes that human beings have no moral obligations toward each other, or at least only obligations that are chosen.
If you stay plugged in to the violinist in nine months your kidneys will heal, and then you can go on your way. Response to Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defense for Abortion Judith Jarvis Thomson, in "A Defense of Abortion", argues that even if we grant that fetuses have a fundamental right to life, in many cases the rights of the mother override the rights of a fetus.
Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion. I think, rather, that there are drastic limits to the right of self-defense. If someone threatens you with death unless you torture someone else to death, I think you have not the right, even to save your life, to do so.
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Judith Jarvis Thomson, in “A Defense of Abortion”, argues that even if we grant that fetuses have a fundamental right to life, in many cases the rights of the mother override the rights of a fetus. In this paper I will discuss the relevance of J.J.
Thomson’s argument in her article, A Defense of Abortion, to that of pregnancy reduction and if there is any relevance, if there are exceptions or situations where that might change. In conclusion, Thomson’s argument, in A Defense of Abortion, that the one thing a person has rights to is his or her body and the right to control what happens with it and to fight for self-preservation would not change at all if those same arguments were applied to a pregnancy reduction situation.A response to jj thomsons essay a defense of abortion