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Thomson's Essay

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In my opinion the strongest objection to Thomson's argument is the tacit consent objection. The pregnant woman should have known that there is a chance to get pregnant when she voluntary agreed to have sexual intercourse. She tacitly consented to the fetus to use her body. In the case of the violinist this is not applicable; there is no such consent. Thompson most likely would argue that if the woman had used contraception, tacit consent is not applicable anymore. Furthermore, even if the woman has tacitly consented to the fetus to use her body, she has not consented to carry the fetus for nine months. Moreover, even if the woman had voluntary sex, and foresaw her pregnancy as a result, it still does not imply that she has tacitly consented to that result.

Before I start my argument, I am assuming that a fetus is a person. I think there are many objections in Thomson's argument which we have to consider. Besides the tacit consent objection, there is the stranger versus offspring objection. Thompson views the violinist and the fetus as equal parties. I do not think that this is the case. The fetus is the offspring of the pregnant woman and, thus, she has a special obligation to sustain its life. On the other hand, the violinist is a complete stranger and you are not obligated to sustain his life.

Another objection to Thompson's argument is that she is ignoring the fact that a guilty third party, the people who connected the violinist to my body, is involved. The third party only acts on the behalf of the violinist who is himself innocent. In a pregnancy there is no guilty third party involved, except in the case of rape.

Thomson does not differentiate between killing somebody and letting somebody die. An abortion actively kills a person whereas, in the case of the violinist, we would let him die if we unplug him from our body.

Moreover, there is a moral difference between intending and causing harm. An abortion usually is intentional and causes the death of the fetus. In the case of the violinist, unplugging causes him to die, but it is an unintended side effect of unplugging him - thus it is not intentional.

Overall, I have to say I cannot identify myself with Thompson's argument. I think the violinist case is not a good example to generally justify abortion because there are many significant objections to this argument.

Personally, I believe abortion is moral in the case of rape. Moreover, if the baby were to suffer from incurable genetic diseases, I think it is morally acceptable to have an abortion. Another acceptable reason for a termination of pregnancy would be a condition that leads to death early on in life. Furthermore, I think it is morally ok to have an abortion if the pregnancy threatens the mother's health or life.



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