Philosophy and Public Affairs - a Defense of Abortion by Thomson – Article Example

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The paper “ Philosophy and Public Affairs - a Defense of Abortion by Thomson“ is an exciting variant of an article on philosophy. Judith Jarvis Thompson argues that abortion is morally permissible in some instances. This does not imply that she is against the right to live and the fact that life starts from the time of conception. She openly argues for abortion in her article ‘ A defense of abortion’ by the use of experimental thoughts. Her arguments are based on the absoluteness of the right to life and to support them she uses analogies such as the violinist analogy.

However, her general argument against abortion is the right to life which is violated by abortion. She agrees with the anti-abortion arguments to some extent and also differs from them to some extent. Anti-abortion arguments state that; every person has a right to life, the unborn are persons and fetuses possess the right to life. Therefore, abortion is an immoral habit. She agrees with the assumption of the unborn being persons and therefore, have a right to life for argument’ s sake. She proclaims ‘ every person has a right to life.

So a fetus has a right to life (Thompson, 1971). Although she agrees with the fact that abortion is a crime, she is also against those who defend abortion for failing to give a substantial explanation and steps to impermissibility. Those who are against it think that steps to abortion are perhaps easy and obvious that it does not need considerable comment. Many of those who defend abortion relies on the premise that the fetus is not a person, but only a bit of a tissue that will become a person at birth (Thompson, 1971). Everybody has a right to life and also to choose what will occur in and to his or her body.

It is more obvious that a mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body (Thompson, 1971). However, it may not outweigh the fetus's right to life. This may appear to be reasonable to some extent, since the right to choose what will happen to your body may be seen subtle over the right to life.

She, therefore, defends this argument by taking an experimental imagination. She supports it with an analogy that imagining that one wakes up one day in the morning and found himself or herself back to back in bed with a famous unconscious violinist (Thompson, 1971). The violinist has been found with deadly kidney disease by the physician. His society of music lovers has probed through all the existing health records and discovered that the only person with a compatible blood group is you. They are left with the only decision of appointing you as the helper for his survival.

Instead of telling you, in which you may oppose or request for some favor, they decide to kidnap you. Violinist’ s blood system was integrated into the only helper’ s circulatory system so that they will use the kidney to remove toxins from the violin’ s blood system. The hospital’ s director comes in and apologized for having done so and voices on the argument that it could have not been allowed if it had been known. Instead, the director shifts the blame to the society of music lovers claiming that they were the ones who did so.

Having done so, removing the violinist’ s blood system would result in his death. One is only given a consolation that it is only nine months after which violinist would have recovered from the ordeal. The violinists would then be removed from one's system. Such a scenario has divergent views basing on different people but one will arrive at a good decision after a critical analysis of the situation.  


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MacKinnon, B. (2010). Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues. New York: Cengage Learning.

Marietta, D. E. (1997). Philosophy of Sexuality. M.E. Sharpe.

Thomson, J. J. (1971). Philosophy and Public Affairs: A Defense of Abortion. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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