The termination of pregnancy (the fetus) is know as abortion; the act of ending pregnancy so that it doesn’t result in the birth of a child. The person in charge of this act is the carrier of the fetus. Abortion can be carried out by medical abortion or surgical abortion procedure. The decision whether the carrier will or will not preform this act is difficult. The articles, “Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion” and “Francis J. Beckwith, Personal Bodily Rights, Abortion, and Unplugging the Violinist”, both focus on pro-life argument, as the fetus being a person yet have very different views. Therefore, many might ask if is it moral or immoral to take away another human life.
The procedure of abortion is based on how far a woman is into pregnancy. There are three trimester of pregnancy, each of them are handles differently. In most cases abortion is done during the first trimester which is up to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The mother will have the option of medical abortion (MVA which consists of local anesthesia being used on the cervix) or surgical abortion (aspiration which is a suction curettage, D;C, or vacuum aspiration) procedure. The second trimester, which is done up to 16 weeks of pregnancy can only be surgical. This case includes the following option of D;C (suction curettage or vacuum aspiration, used before 16 weeks), D;E (used after 16 weeks) and induction abortion (“a rarely performed surgical procedure where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the
amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina, and pitocin is injected intravenously”(American Pregnancy Association.)) Lastly, abortion during the third trimester “late term abortions” are not legal is some states because the baby is considered viable at this point; if done, it is up to first 24 weeks of pregnancy and can only be surgical. The procedure follows either induction abortion or dilation and extraction (after 21 weeks.) The decision to have an abortion can be extremely difficult for an individual to decide.
The idea behind abortion that Judith Jarvis Thomson write about in “A Defense of Abortion” is whether the fetus is a person and does it have a right to another human body. She refers to this as the “Soritus Problem.” Relating it to, how many grains of sand will it take to transform it into a pile; it is hard to say and doesn’t really have a cut off because it is so vague. The point that she is trying to make is “when is the cut off or when do you draw the line.” She than connect this to the fetus and the idea of when does it became a person. She states that it becomes a person sometime within the nine months but again, when do we draw the line? She tries to resolve this question base on the standard Pro-life argument which states “P1 = all human have a right to life; P2 = the fetus is a human; C = the fetus has a right to life,” and links this to a person who is having an abortion. If this is granted to the fetus who has the right to live and a person who is against abortion, it doesn’t mean that abortion is permissible. Using the “Violinist example” which states that you’re kidnapped and another person is plugged into you. The person that is plugged into you can not survive without you and if unplugged they will die. This person has the right to life but does not have a right to your body which eventually becomes the core of her argument. She also abject that “the right to life is whatever keeps you alive” and states that “the right to life is not being killed unjustly.” She uses decency vs. justice to distinguish the two;
decency is the act of being kind or rude which does not speak to the law while justice is more fundamental and does speak to the law. Concluding that abortion is not an issue of justice, an issue of justice it the woman having the right to an abortion. Although it could be decent but never unjust because there are occasions where killing is acceptable such as self-defense and fighting in a just war. The law should not require us to be good samaritans, all the law should demand is justice; her argument states that the law is demanding that pregnant woman should behave as good samaritans. Therefore abortion is the law demanding decency above justice which Thomson thinks is unfair.
In response, Francis J. Beckwith, “Personal Bodily Rights, Abortion, and Unplugging the Violinist”, which criticizes Thomsons idea of volunteerism. Beckwith states that without volunteerism we wouldn’t have moral obligations. Each human belong to a family which give them a certain obligation that a stranger wouldn’t have. This points to the fact that we exist in a social network with not only family but with a lager community such as ones country. For example, if a person lives in America they must pay taxes, serve on jury, and vote at some point. As well as take responsibility of pride or guilt as Americans, even if they don’t want to. The point he is trying to make is that we are not individuals that come out of nowhere and volunteer to do a curtain thing. Following his idea he states that we are individuals who are born into a social chameleon situation that we did not choose but yet it creates an obligation on us. He disagrees with Thomson idea of us having the obligation to get rid of the fetus. If we assume that fetus is a human, therefore we have an obligation over it. He uses another example of a man who doesn’t want kids and a woman who does. This woman is pregnant, yet the man doesn’t know. When the baby is born she asks him for help and he can not deny it because this baby is a product of him.
Since the baby exits it has the right over this mans body and property. Applying this to abortion and assuming that a fetus is a human, this woman has the same obligation over the fetus as the man did over the new born baby. He brings out a distinguish between killing vs. letting die; this connects to the violinist example, to unplug is not you killing him you just letting nature take its course. In a case of abortion it is a direct killing and not letting nature take its course. Concluding that if there was an artificial way to preserve a fetus if it was causing harm to the woman body, there is no reason to kill the fetus.
Both Judith Jarvis Thomson and Francis J. Beckwith have some valuable points in their argument. Personally abortion is not just “termination of pregnancy” in my opinion which leans towards Beckwith. I believe that a human begin exist from the moment of conception even thought its on the cell level. Many may say, “What if the woman got raped or the baby has been diagnosed with a defect?” My answer to that would be that we do not cure tragedy by killing the innocent child. On another hand, if a woman and a man decide to be irresponsible the child does not deserve to die or be killed. In my opinion abortion is the act of evil and it mentally destroys families. All children should all have the right to life.
There are different views and opining when is comes to the subject of abortion. Judith Jarvis Thomson in “A Defense of Abortion” is for abortion and Francis J. Beckwith in “Personal Bodily Rights, Abortion, and Unplugging the Violinist” is against it; both proved us with their views while focusing on abortion as pro-life argument. Whether one agrees or disagrees with abortion; we can not run away from the fact that it is termination of pregnancy that is in the hands of the fetus carrier.