Philosophy Dealing With Abortion Essay, Research Paper
In this reading, the two court opinions in the 1969 Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade in Texas. The first is the Opinion of the Court delivered by Justice Blackmun and the second is the Dissenting Opinion delivered by Justice White.
Justice Blackmun begins his opinion with the historical development of criminal abortion laws and how it relates to the state of Texas. The first is the Victorian era s concern with illicit sex which has no current affect. The second is with the past medical procedure of abortion which was very dangerous to women s health and as Justice Blackmun states, The State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety to the patient. The third reason concerns protection of prenatal life. As Justice Blackmun later states there are many problems in this area due to disputes over when life begins.
He then discusses a woman s right to abortion in relation to her right to privacy as protected under the Fourteenth and Ninth Amendments and concludes that this right does not mean women can terminate pregnancies for any reason they choose. The woman s right to privacy is affected by the rights of the potential life she is carrying.
Justice Blackmun also discusses various groups beliefs on when life begins such as the Jewish, Protestant and Romna Catholic Communities and states that courts have been unwilling theories to promote any one of these in overriding a pregnant women s rights. The state of Texas however recognizes the end of the first trimester as the point where the state takes legal interest in abortion. Since the existing state penal code prohibited abortions before the end of this period, Justice Blackmun concluded it could no longer be justified.
Justice White in his Dissenting Opinion believes that the court s decision has no real constitutional basis to arbituaraly favor the life of the mother over the life of a child. He states, Texas statue is not constitutionally infirm because to denies abortions to those who seek to serve only their convience rather than to protect their life or health.
A Defense of Abortion
In this article, Judith Jarvis Thompson relates several real life situations to a woman s right to abortion. She begins her piece with a discussion of the premise of when life begins, stating that most debates on the abortion issue revolve around this premise. The focus of Ms. Thompson s arguments for abortion in this article however, do not focus on when the life of an unborn child begins. As she states, I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the argument go from here? (p.189)
The author begins her argument with an analogy of a person who is kidnapped and hooked up to a dying violinist s circulating system to an undetermined amount of time. Ms. Thompson uses this example of injustice and unreasonableness to discuss the injustice of a rape victim not having the right to decide what happens to her own body.
The author divides the balance of her article into five distinct sections. The first is titled The Extreme Anti-Abortion View which Ms. Thompson defined as the belief that abortion is unacceptable even if the mother s life is in jeporady. In this discussion, Ms. Thompson argues that even the mother and unborn child are believed to have an equal right to life, the mother has the ultimate right to protect and defend her life. She uses the analogy of the violinist again with a different twist. In this example the kidnapped victim will die shortly if not unplugged due to the medical strain of supporting the violinist.
The writer also discussed the role and importance of a third party in abortions since a woman usually needs to engage the help of other people in performing the act. With the use of another analogy, she arrives at the conclusion, that any given third party must accede to the mother s request that he perform an abortion to save her life, but only that he may . (p.191)
In Section two, The Right To Life the author dissects this anti-abortion view and incorporates another analogy in addition to the violinist discussion. In this case, she uses the example of victim s need for the touch of a another person s hand to be cured of a fatal disease. She argues that no one has the inherent right to use another person s body to support his/her own life. A person may compassionately choose to intervene and prevent a mother from death by allowing them to use a body organ or simply touching them but they can not be forced.
The Right To Use The Mother s Body , section three, is devoted to Ms. Thompson s belief that, the right to life consists not in the right not to be killed unjustly. The author attempts to persuade her readers that all abortions resulting from rape or voluntary intercourse is not unjust through the use of two more analogies.
In Right And Their Limits , section four, the writer discusses cases in which it would be morally indecent to detach a person from your body at the cost of his life. (p.194) The argument she presents here is that even if the right to abortion is a moral issue, a woman should not be morally required to sacrifice her health or other aspects of her life to allow a child to live.
In her last section, the Good Samaritan And The Responsibilities of Parents, Judith Jarvis Thompson uses the story of Kitty Genovese s murder to discuss the moral and legal relevance in sustaining another person s life. She compares the choices of the murder witnesses to that of potential parents in considering abortion. She feels that they should not be forced to be Good Samaritan s by providing and caring for an unwanted child. However, she does believe that neither they nor anyone else has the right to terminate does not accomplish it.
In her final remarks, Judith Jarvis Thompson states that although she proposed that the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception, throughout the article, it was only for the benefit of her arguments. According to her, A very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person, and so is not death with by anything I have said.
Opposition to Abortion: A Human Rights Approach
In his article, Opposition to Abortion: A Human Rights Approach, Baruch Brody attempts to contradict the arguments and conclusions Judith Jarvis Thompson makes in her article, A Defense of Abortion. Divided into four distinct areas, his essay uses a human rights view of the subject to address these issues.
In the first section, The Woman s Right To Her Body, the author proposes that previous arguments concerning a woman s right to control her body deals only with the legal aspects of the right not with the moral issues. According to Mr. Brody, Ms. Thompson s discussion of this right is incomplete and her conclusions are incorrect. Through the use of examples of various threatening situations the author tries to demonstrate that there are definite differences between the right to save a life and the right to terminate one.