Ethics

Heather Brown
Gene Kleppinger
Ethics
26 October 2015
Essay 5
A) Judith Thomson agrees to “pro-choice” based on her evaluation of rights of mother and fetus. Thomson believes both mother and fetus have an equal right to life. To make an ethical decision regarding abortion, Thomson adds the mother’s right to decide what should happen to her own body to her right to life. Doing so, outweighs the fetus’s one right, which is its right to life. This means the mother would have more rights than the fetus has. “If mother and child have an equal right to life, shouldn’t we perhaps flip a coin? Or should we add to the mother’s right to life her right to decide what happens in and to her body, which everybody seems to be ready to grant-the sum of her rights now outweighing the fetus’s right to life (243).” Another reason Thomson gives for pro-choice is that no one has a “right” to use someone else’s body, even if that someone is a fetus, who needs it for survival. Therefore, the fetus does not have a right to use the mother’s body, even though it may need it for life. “I am arguing only 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 (245).”
B) Although Thomson believes abortion is permissible, there are a couple of limitations and conditions in which Thomson agrees that makes abortion wrong. The first condition is if carrying the child to term requires only minimally decent samaritanism of the mother, then we should not fall below that standard (250). Thomson argues that you are not morally required to let a fetus use your body for nine months, especially if your life would be at stake. This, although debatable, is a kindness on the mother’s part, and not a right to be given to the fetus. However, another condition of Thomson’s is that you would not be allowed to guarantee death of the fetus. For example,…