Controversy Over Abortion And The Surrounding Laws Philosophy Essay
Abortion laws first began during the beginning of the United States bid for Independence and were known as "common law". (Wikipedia, 2010) There has always been some sort of controversy over abortion and whether it was considered moral or immoral. Women in those days did not have the right to have an abortion and if they did they were found guilty of violating laws. Since then legislation has changed and even to this day there are still heated debates over the morality and legality of abortion.
To this day, the controversy over abortion has not changed; in fact some would say it has gotten worse because of the extreme levels of violence associated with abortion protest. The number of pro-choice and pro-life supporters has grown significantly over the last century. In the 1820's; some early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton initiated the controversy on abortion and paved the way for pro-life supporters to question a woman's choice. (Wikipedia, 2010)
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Judith Jarvis Thomson, a nationally known philosophical author who writes pro-choice articles defending abortion; uses hypothetical thought experiments that argue for the moral permissibility of induced abortion. (Wikipedia, 2011) Thomson offers several analogies that support her pro-choice view in all her thought experiments. These experiments provide a detailed insight on why a woman should be allowed to choose how her body is to be used and what to have done to her body; in other sense it should be her choice to have an abortion. One of Thomson's thought experiments that grabbed my attention is her hypothetical correlation of how you the reader, had been unknowingly kidnapped by a music group whose famous violinist is in desperate need of your kidneys to filter out poisons that are killing him. (Pojman & Vaughn, 2011, 780-799) Thomson uses this thought experiment to demonstrate the equivalence of a woman being raped and you as a kidnapped victim being violated for your kidneys, substantially both examples are relevant in the fact that neither individual had given the attacker consent to execute those actions. Furthermore, this thought experiment provides a moral conclusion that a woman does not have an obligation to continue a pregnancy just like you the kidnapped victim does not have an obligation to have the famous violinist continue using your kidneys to save his life.
A disanalogy that I would present to refute Judith Thomson's hypothetical experiment would be of a young diabetic woman who is having sex for the first time and she cannot use oral contraception's because the contraceptives conflict with her diabetes. She is aware of the consequences of having unprotected sex; so she and her boyfriend use a condom as a means to birth control. The condom breaks during sex and the young diabetic woman becomes pregnant. The young woman should not have the right to have an abortion, because their method of birth control failed; she and her boyfriend were aware that condoms are not 100% effective. So knowing there was a risk to having sex, she has given permission to the possibility of growing a fetus in her womb. Furthermore, the faulty condom is not a severe medical reason to have an abortion. Her unwanted pregnancy is the result of relying on a birth control method that involves risk.
Another disanalogy I would use to help refute Thomson's hypothetical experiments is a reference about a news report here in Harris County, Texas. The report was about a 61 year old man whose home was being robbed by two Hispanic men. The home owner called 911 to report the robbery and he was very adamant to the 911 operator about not letting the two thieves get away with his property. The 911 dispatcher tried to keep the homeowner calm and away from the thieves, but the homeowner did not want the thieves to get away with his property. He did not want to wait on the police to arrive so he went out front to try and stop the two men. As the thieves tried to escape with the stolen property the elderly man shot and killed them. Additionally, in the state of Texas a homeowner has the right to protect their property, stop burglaries, arson, or other criminal mischief. (Monsters & Critics, 2007) Despite the elderly man having the right to shoot and kill thieves who have broken into his home; I do not believe he should have the right to decide to shoot and kill the thieves, because the 911 dispatcher had already notified the police and they were on their way to his home. The homeowner was instructed to remain in the house until the police arrived. He was also asked for more information about the thieves, such as vehicle type and a description of the men. His actions are supported by Texas Law, but he had the option to let the thieves live, instead he chose to kill them over some items taken from the home. There are many Americans who would disagree with his actions and consider the killings to be immoral. This incident is comparable to the young diabetic woman who became pregnant because she was irresponsible. Neither the diabetic woman nor the elderly man has the right to pro-choice; they can't just decide the fate of a fetus conceived by accident or two men robbing a home.
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I believe Judith Thomson would respond to the above disanalogies by stating, "That the pregnant diabetic woman should have the right to choose to have an abortion, because she has a disease which can cause death. Her having a fetus growing inside her womb could possibly cause severe harm to her." As for the elderly man killing the two thieves, Thomson would probably say "the elderly man who shot and killed two men for breaking into his home and stealing some of his property was well within his rights and should not be punished for choosing to shoot and kill the thieves." I also believe she would agree with the elderly mans actions because his actions are similar to that of someone who believes in pro-choice. To add to her statements, she would include pro-choice arguments which support the young diabetic woman's decision to have an abortion and relevant arguments that would also support the elderly mans decision to kill two men.
I envision Judith Thomson's imaginary responses above are full of passion and dignity because of her point of view on pro-choice and a woman's right to decide what and when to do with her body. As a pro-choice representative Judith Thomson strongly testifies that a woman does not need to face harm or death in order to have permission to have an abortion. For example, if a woman is violently raped or molested by a family member and becomes pregnant, she should not have to carry an unwanted child that would remind her of the atrocity that occurred. If she were to have to carry the unwanted fetus to full term, there are stronger possibilities that the child would be put up for adoption, which is actually unacceptable in a world that is already facing overcrowding. Thomson would also explain the implications of illegalizing abortion with proven facts that if abortion were considered illegal, it would lead many women to perform illegal and unsafe abortions. (Hughes & Dhar, Pro-choice Validity) She would also provide statistical facts such as "every eight minutes a woman dies needlessly as a result of an unsafe illegal abortion" (Women on Waves, 2004) to amplify the right to pro-choice.
In a magniloquent manner she would discredit any facts associated with illegalizing abortion. And moreover, acknowledging legalized abortion laws, would give women the necessary professional medical assistance needed to have an abortion performed correctly; it would also reduce the growing number of women who die annually from abortions performed by unlicensed individuals. Despite the fight to illegalize abortion, women will continue to seek out those dubious individuals who are willing to perform illegal abortions for money.
Despite the conflicts between pro-choice and pro-life supporters there will always be differences without resolution. In the end nobody wins, there is always going to be a death, whether it is a fetus or a woman, the tragedy is still the same. Abortion will always remain a sensitive topic both nationally and internationally. As a pro-choice supporter, I believe that a woman has every right to her body, whether or not a malicious factor played a part in her becoming pregnant. I also agree that legalization of abortion is the more intuitive thing to do because the mother is merely more important when it comes to her personal health and genuinely the fetus comes in second, so if there is harm that would come or has come to the mother then it is not unjust for the choice of abortion to take place.
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