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Abortion

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Nick Leonard

on 20 September 2018

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Transcript of Abortion

Is abortion morally permissible?
"A Defense of Abortion"
Judy Thomson
Background:
- Aim: Argue that abortion is permissible.
- Key: Grant that a fetus is a person and still show that abortions are morally ok.
First Pro Life Argument
(pg. 39)
(1) Every person has the right to life.
(3) So, fetus and mom have a right to life.
(4) A person's right to life always outweighs a person's right to control their body.
(5) So, the fetus's right to life outweighs the mom's right to control her body, thus making abortion forbidden.
THE VIOLINIST:
- Hannah needs to be hooked up to Daniels kidneys to live (he is the only one that can help).
- K did not give anyone her permission to use her body in this way (she was kidnapped!!!).
- After 9mo. of being hooked up to K, K-dot will be better and can be detached.
(pg. 39)
Lesson: ?
Verdict:
It is permissible for K to detach herself even if doing so will surely lead to Kendrick's death (after all, she did not give him his permission to use her body in this way.)
- Kendrick is a person and has a right to life.
(4) A person's right to life always outweighs a person's right to control her body.
If (4) was true, then K-dot's right to life would outweigh K's right to control her body.
But it does not.
So, (4) is false.
"Extreme" Pro-Life Argument
(pg. 40)
Extreme View (EV): Abortion is
always
bad.
(1) Abortion = Direct killing innocent baby that has right to life.
(3) Directly killing innocent baby with right to life is worse then letting mom with right to life die.
(4) We should do the least bad option.
(5) So, abortion is forbidden even in extreme cases.
(4*) If you have a right to life,
and if you have the right to everything that you need to live
, then your right to life and your right to the things you need to live would outweigh one's right to control one's body.
Thomson's Reply
(3) Directly killing innocent baby is worse then letting someone die.
If (3) is true, then you must let the violinist stay hooked to you as you slowly die.
Violinist (Slow Death)?
But you can save your own life in these cases even if doing so results in the death of an innocent person. This is just self-defense.
Thus, (3) is false.
Main Theme
1st Attempt
: Having the right to life means you have the right to the bare minimum you need to live.
(pg. 42)
Violinist?
Lesson: Having the right to life does not entail that you have the right to everything you need to live.
2nd Attempt
: Having the right to life means having the right to not have your life ended by anyone.
The Violinist?
Again, having the right to life does not mean you have the right to everything you need to live.
The Challenge
The Pro-Lifer still has to show that the baby has the right to use the mom's body.
Does the Pro-Lifer have any arguments left to meet the challenge?
(1) Suppose mom doesn't want a baby but has voluntary intercourse and knows that there is a small likelihood of becoming pregnant. (And suppose she gets pregnant.)
1st Attempt
(Pg. 43)
(2) Thus, the mother is
partly responsible
for the fetus inside of her (even though she did not "invite" it in).
(3) If you are partially responsible for a person using something, then that person has the right to use it.
(4) Thus, because mom is partially responsible for fetus using her body, the fetus has right to use it.
(5) Thus,
some
abortions are immoral because you are depriving the baby of something it has a right to.
(3) If you are partially responsible for a person using something, then that person has the right to use it.
Burglar? People Seeds?
If I leave a window open, then I am partially responsible for a burglar/people seeds using my house.
But this does not mean that the burglar/seed person has the right to use my house.
Thus, (3) is false.
Upshot: Very hard to show how the baby has the right to use the mom's body if the mom wants to abort it.
Thomson's Reply
Special vs. General Responsibilities
2nd Attempt
(pg. 46-47)
Special = Responsibilities I have to certain people (e.g., teacher/students, Promisor/Promisee)
General = Responsibilities I have to everyone (e.g., being respectful)
(1) All moms have a special obligation to let the fetus use their body (e.g., don't have this obligation to the violinist).
(2) Thus, fetus has the right to use the mom's body.
(3) Thus, abortion is bad because it robs the fetus of something that it has the right to use.
Thomson's Reply
(1) You only have a special responsibility if you assume it (either explicitly or implicitly).
E.g., Promisor explicitly assumes responsibility to do what is promised, parents who take their babies home from the hospital implicitly assume responsibility to care for it.
(2) A mom who takes the relevant precautions and who does not want the fetus has not yet assumed a special responsibility to let it use her body, e.g., no contract has been established.
(3) Thus, it is not necessarily the case that mom's have a special obligation to let the child use her body.
(Pg. 47)
"Why Abortion is Immoral"
Don Marquis
Aim: Give a new argument for pro-life.
Strategy: Figure out what makes killing wrong in general. Show that whatever makes killing wrong in general makes killing a fetus wrong in particular.
The Stalemate
Pro-Choice
Pro-Life
- Fetus is a person from the moment of conception.
- Killing an innocent person is wrong.
pg. 49
- Young fetus is not a person.
- Not wrong to kill a clump of cells.
Metaphysics of persons.

Starting Point
Neutral on whether fetus is a person.
Everyone agrees that the fetus is living thing.
Start here
.
Next Move
: Figure out why it is wrong to kill living things. What explains why it is wrong to kill us?
1st Attempt
Killing us is wrong because it would cause our friends/family to experience great sadness.
Problem:
Marquis' Proposal
What makes killing
prima facie
wrong is that it deprives the victim of
future value
, i.e., it robs the victim of having valuable experiences that s/he would otherwise have.
pg. 53
Prima facie wrong vs. Ultima facie wrong?
Doin' Work
1. Explains why killing is one of the worst crimes.
Killing is worse than other crimes because it deprives people of more than anything else.
2. Explains why it is fitting to not want to die.
People don't want to die because they want to have more valuable experiences.
3. General enough to explain why its wrong to kill other beings like us.
E.g., Aliens.
Ethical Vegetarianism?
4. Does not rule out Euthanasia
If there is no future value to be had, then this account says it could be ok to kill.

The Argument
(Happens very quickly on pg. 54)
(1) What makes it
prima facie
wrong to kill something is that it robs that thing of the value of its future.
(2) Thus, if something has a future of value, then it is prima facie wrong to kill it.
(3) A fetus has a future of value.
(4) Thus, it is prima facie wrong to kill/abort those fetuses.
- Stalemate: Is the fetus a person?
- Pro life: Yes, thus has the right to life.
- Pro choice: No, thus has no right to life.
(2) Fetus is a person, and mom is a person.
Thomson's Reply
- Hannah is a world famous violinist.
- Daniel wakes up with Hannah attached to his kidneys.
- If K unhooks Kendrick before the 9mo, he will die.
Q: Given that K never gave consent, is it permissible for her to unhook Kendrick?
- But
having the right
to life is not
sufficient
for her
having the right to everything he needs to live
.
Recall:
(4) A person's right to life always outweighs a person's right to control her body.
Thomson thinks (4) is false and should be replaced with:
But pro lifers have not shown that the fetus has the right to everything that it needs to live, i.e., the right to use the mom's body for 9mo.
Lesson
: Pro lifers need a new argument for why abortion is wrong.
Questions so far?
Lesson: If Pro Lifers are going to argue that abortion is wrong because the fetus has a right to life, they must show that the fetus' having a right to life means that it has the right to use the mom's body.
(2) No abortion = Indirectly letting mom that has right to life die.
- Fetus needs mom's body to live, thus, has the right to use it.
- Thus, the fetus has the right not be be killed/aborted.
Right to Life > Right to Use Mom's Body
Pro-Choice: Thomson Style
(1) Even if the fetus has the right to life, there no good reason to think that it has the right to everything that it needs to live, i.e., use of the mom's body.
(2) If there is no good reason to think that fetus has right to use mom's body, then there no reason to think that removing it would be forbidden.
(3) If there is no good reason to think that removing the fetus would be wrong, then there is no good reason to accept a pro-life view.
Hermits? Toby Flenderson?
THOUGHTS?
WHY?
What is Marquis
committed
to saying about the permissibility of abortion...

Q1: ... when the pregnancy is life threatening?
Q2: ... when the baby would be born with severe medical problems/developmental disabilities?
THOUGHTS?
1. Examine the
strength
of the Marquis' argument, i.e., what do his premises commit us to?
Q: .. the pregnancy resulted from non-consensual intercourse?
Q: ... the pregnancy resulted from consensual intercourse, but where the mom/dad don't want a kid?
Never Sometimes Always
Up Next
Critical Thinking Skills
2. Evaluate the argument for validity/soundness.
Small Groups
The Ethics of Abortion
Explain! Examples?
Thomson:
Thomson:
Thomson:
Game Plan
1. Finish Thomson Paper

2. Judy vs. Don

3. T/P/S (if we have time).

4. Final Recap/Preview of Next Week
(5) In most pregnancies, the prima facie wrong in aborting a fetus is not overidden.
(6) Thus, in most cases abortion is ultima facie wrong, i.e., impermissible.
Scope?
Questions?
Key:
Thoughts?
What is the best pro-choice response?
Whats in Kelly's DNA?
Loyalty, Royalty?
The "Rapper": (pg. 39)
War and Peace?
Power, Poison, Pain and Joy?
Hustle though, Ambition flow?
K-dot
Kelly
Evaluate
Best response for pro-choice to make?
- If invalid, say why.
- If false premise, say which.
2nd Pro-Life Argument
1. It is immoral to kill humans (human life forms).
2. A fetus is a human (human life form)
Motivations: murder is bad,
Imago dei
, ...
3. Thus, it is immoral to kill a fetus.
Exceptions?
Doctrine of Double Effect
It is permissible to cause harm if (a) the harm is the side-effect of a morally permissible action and (b) you intend to do the action because it is morally good.
Example: Killing and self-defense.
TPS
Best pro-choice response?
(Which premise you are attacking and why?)
Pro-Life and Partial Responsibility
Step 1
:
Extract the Partial Responsibility Argument for Pro-Life (pg. 43).
Step 2
:
Explain Thomson's response.
(4) Thus, no good reason to accept a pro-life view.
T/P/S
Give the best objection possible:

- Invalid? Say why.

- False premise? Say which one and why.
Twitter Fight
1st Tweet (@ pro-choicers)
- Summarize Marquis' view.
(140 characters)
2nd Tweet (@ pro-lifers)
- Best objection to previous tweet.
3rd Tweet (@ pro-choicers)
- Best response to previous tweet.
Twitter Fight
(140 characters)
1st Tweet (@ pro-lifers)
- Summarize Thomson's view.
2nd Tweet (@ pro-choicers)
- Best objection to previous tweet.
3rd Tweet (@ pro-lifers)
- Best response to previous tweet.
Full transcript