Essay on Abortion

4173 Words Mar 7th, 2014 17 Pages
Ethical problems with Thomson's argument

2. Thomson's argument is fatal to family morality. It follows from the first criticism that Thomson's volunteerism is fatal to family morality, which has as one of its central beliefs that an individual has special and filial obligations to his offspring and family that he does not have to other persons. Although Thomson may not consider such a fatality as being all that terrible, since she may accept the feminist dogma that the traditional family is "oppressive" to women,12 a great number of ordinary men and women, who have found joy, happiness, and love in family life, find Thomson's volunteerism to be counter-intuitive. Philosopher Christina Sommers has come to a similar conclusion:

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A case can be made that the unborn does have a prima facie right to her mother's body. Assuming that there is such a thing as a special filial obligation, a principle that does not have to be voluntarily accepted in order to have moral force, it is not obvious that the unborn entity in ordinary circumstances (that is, with the exception of when the mother's life is in significant danger) does not have a natural prima facie claim to her mother's body. There are several reasons to suppose that the unborn entity does have such a natural claim.

a. 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.

b. This period of a human being's natural development occurs in the womb. This is the journey which we all must take and is a necessary condition for any human being's post-uterine existence. And this fact alone brings out the most glaring difference between the violinist and the unborn: the womb is the unborn's natural environment whereas being artificially hooked up to a stranger is not the natural environment for the violinist. It would seem, then, that the unborn has a prima facie natural claim upon her mother's

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