The Morality of Abortion
The dispute over abortion has been fuming ever since the Roe v. Wade case reached the Supreme Court in 1973. It was the landmark decision on the issue of abortion; the Supreme Court ruled that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion. It also stated that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women's health. However, the legal issue of abortion is different from the morality of abortion and whether it is permissible or not permissible for a woman to terminate a fetus. Moreover, I will defend the view that the humanity of a fetus does not begin at conception. To end, I will refute the idea of potentiality according to my view on the morality of an abortion. In this paper, I will demonstrate how all abortions are morally permissible because women have control of their own bodies.
Women have control First of, women ought to be able to control anything that goes on with their body, whether it be consensual intercourse, getting a tattoo or body piercing or most importantly to have an abortion. Why would anyone else be given the authority to say what can and cannot be done to their own body? If one argues that an abortion is different from a tattoo, then that individual would falsely be arguing that a human does not have control over their body. It is nearly identical because both require the consent and desire of the individual to do that to their own body. A women is granted control of her own body until the use of her own body will harm another human’s body. Since a fetus is not a human being, a women would have full control over what happens to her body.
What about the Violinist? Judith Jarvis Thomson provides an example as to why a women should have control of her body by explaining how detaching from the violinist is permissible. In her article “A Defense of Abortion”, Thomson, for argument sake, says that humans have a right to life, including a fetus. Now that makes it seem like she would argue from a pro-life standpoint, however that is not the case at all. She only agrees with this idea that a fetus is human for argument’s sake, but in reality she does not agree with this idea. She believes that an abortion is morally permissible. She uses an example of being kidnapped by a music community known as the Society of Music Lover and forced into being hooked up to their violinist in order to save his life. She explains:
You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious famous violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. If he is unplugged from you now, he will die; but in nine months he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you. (Thomson 241)
In a situation such as this, there are two options, to detach from the violinist and have the violinist die or stay attached and be the savior. Intuition tells us, that it is unjust for us to be forced into a situation where our kidney is being used against our will. Therefore, it would morally permissible to detach from the violinist. Although detaching would kill an innocent human being, the right to life for every human being does apply in this situation because the right to life does not give the violinist the right to use another individual’s body for his own well being. Because this music group kidnapped the individual, therefore he did not consent to having his kidney attached to the violinist; then he would be