A good argument is one that is able to extend itself in all directions. An argument should identify certain concepts, obtain clear facts, and look for consistency and coherence in all circumstances. Moral arguments should be based on reason. Moreover, the terms that are used to press the argument must be identified because there are different concepts for the same word. Thus, certain words may have numerous impressions and in an argument the view must be clear through out.
The argument for the “right to life- and the “fetus is a person- does not adhere to the criteria of a good argument because they are not flexible in all scenarios. The case for the “right to life- does not clarify the definition of a fetus, and the concepts challenge themselves when certain circumstances arise. Thomason points out that the entire argument is inconsistent because what if a mother was physically unable to bare a child, and she risked the chances of death. Would an abortion in this case still be that the child has the right not to die?Most abortion debates build their argument on the definition that the fetus is a person. If this is the case, then abortion is obviously wrong and illegal. The problem with this set up is that what if a mother is physically threatened if she were to bare her child, then is her life (as a legitimate person) more or less important than that life of a fetus? This is a clear negation and as a result, the definition of a fetus must be reestablished. Hence, bodily autonomy is more important than pro-life, starting from the argument that the fetus is a person to the argument that abortion is always wrong.The next problem that needs to be addressed is what if abortion is legalized, how should the fetus be defined? This is difficult because it is arbitrary to claim when or not the fetus is human because by nature there is not a reasonable cut off point.
Therefore, claiming that a fetus is a person cannot be used by pro-life advocates because they cannot explain the steps of development from “fetus- to “person-. The same problem can be extended to those who defend abortion because if they say the fetus is not a person, they cannot scientifically prove this either.From my understanding, I believe that Thomson says there is no reasonable way to define a fetus, so maybe the argument of abortion should be in relation to the mother, since she is actually a person. Consequently, this forces the argument for the “right to life- to be reanalyzed and maybe reestablished. According to Thomson, pro-life advocates must change their definition for the right to life because the existing one has false pretenses. By Constitutional law, a woman is a person that has the right to self determination and bodily autonomy.
To deny her the choice of abortion, is to deny her right to be a free agent. If we hold the view that given the bare minimum to continue life is a “right-, then Thomson’s famous violinist has the right to use your kidneys in order for him to sustain life. Thus, Thomson argues that the stricter view on “the right to life- is really the “right not to be killed- by anyone. Based on this observation, if we refrain from killing anyone, does it mean the violinist can use our kidneys? The answer is obviously no because we have the right to protect our own happiness and health over the life of a famous violinist.Thus, Thomson “is only arguing that having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person’s body “even if one needs it for life itself- (Thomson 130). Branching off that point, it is clear why opponents of abortion cannot use the “right to life- to press their argument because the concept cannot mold itself to all scenarios. Another good point that Thomson made was the fact that every one has equal justice. For example, she used the analogy of a little boy that was given a box of chocolates to eat.
He was given the right to eat those chocolates all by himself, but his sister does not have the right to eat the chocolate as well. Of course the boy has the choice to share his chocolate with his sister, but if he decides not to, he cannot be punished. On the other hand, if he is stingy he would be perceived as selfish and mean. This still does not obligate the boy to share. Thomson used this analogy as a vehicle to defend pregnant women that are victims of rape. When you deprive some one of a right, you treat someone unjustly.
A women is deprived her right when she is forced to have intercourse and is, consequently, impregnated against her will. If we were to allow a fetus to live off a rape victim, the rules of justice would be denied to the mother for the sake of keeping the fetus alive. This is another example of how the argument of the “right to life- contradicts itself because the right of a fetus (with undeterminable status) is placed above the right of an actual person. Moreover, Thomason believes that women that are raped or that are physically threatened are not justly protected by the pro-life argument.That is why we cannot argue that the role of a mother is to take the responsibility to bear her fetus because one cannot extend that to rape victims and unhealthy mothers.
Of course a decent and healthy mother would bear her child but she is not obligated to because her rights as a person override the rights of a fetus, whose status is undeterminable. Morally, it is indecent, cruel, and harsh to have an abortion if you were having unprotected sex for fun, but that does not justify a fetus’s right to life.Therefore, we must distinguish the difference between a “right- and what “ought- to be. Thomson is not saying that abortion is always right, but she suggests laws should be set up to protect all women that have the right to bodily autonomy, incase unjustly events (ex: rape) come about.
I agree with Thomson, that the status of a fetus cannot be determined. We cannot claim that the fetus “is- or “is not- a person because it is too arbitrary. I also agree that the “right to life- is really arguing the “right not to be killed-.And if this were the case, we would be denied self defense in order to sustain another life. Personally, I would not have an abortion, unless I were raped or were going to die because of certain aliments that hindered me from bearing children. That is why I believe that pro-choice is important because if I were raped I believe I have the right to reject a fetus that I did not ask for. But that does not mean I would abort a fetus because I slept with my boyfriend knowing the risks involved. Once again, that is my decision that is only based on my morality and decency.
But my “good Samaritanism- should not be a driving force that governs what is my right to self determination. Even though I would not use abortion for all circumstances, I would like to have a choice when I feel that it is necessary. If laws were created to prohibit abortion, I would feel that I was denied the right to self determination and bodily autonomy. And I think that is why Thomson was trying to stress the importance of pro-choice because the certain facts are not clear and certain concepts can only go one way.Pro-choice is important because it protects the rights of vulnerable women that need abortions. Unfortunately, you cannot make it ok for some and not for all. That is why it is important to make a balance between the interest of the mother and the interest of the fetus, and pro-choice and pro-life and go hand in hand.
Thomson is simply stressing the need for a middle ground that is clear and consistent. There is always a middle ground between two extremes, and I believe we can find this balance, that in many abortions laws like Roe v. Wade.