Abortion Summary Essay

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“Why Abortion Is Immoral” is the most celebrated pro-life piece in the literature.

Marquis (M) begins by noting that few philosophers think abortion is immoral, in fact, the pro-life position has almost no contemporary philosophical support: The view that abortion is, with rare exceptions, seriously immoral has received little support in the recent philosophical literature.

She distinguishes the right to life, which the violinist clearly has, from the right to use someone else's body when necessary to preserve one's life, which it is not at all obvious the violinist has. Do Thomson's more general theses generate a more general right to an abortion?

Because the case of pregnancy is like the case of the violinist, one is no more morally obligated to remain attached to a fetus than to remain attached to the violinist. Thomson draws our attention to the fact that in a pregnancy, although a fetus uses a woman's body as a life-support system, a pregnant woman does not use a fetus's body as a life-support system.

For a more complete account of my view on abortion, and the standard one according to most moral philosophers, see my posts here and here.

He defends the view that, except in unusual circumstances, abortion is seriously wrong.

I mean by ion an action intended to bring about the death of a fetus for the sake of the woman who carries it.

(Thus, as is standard on the literature on this subject, I eliminanate spontaneous abortions from consideration.) I mean by a fetus a developing human being from p.755 time of conception to the time of birth.

The problem is that not all share the view that fetuses are persons. Try to convince them rationally but if unsuccessful let them alone?

(In fact granting fetuses full moral rights is a radical view that virtually no moral philosophers endorse—as Marquis admitted at the beginning of his essay.) If people disagree about whether something is a person, then what do you do if you can’t convince them of your view? It is just hard to believe that this weak argument is considered the best anti-abortion argument in the literature.

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