Judith Jarvis Thomson’s argument for limited abortion rights.


Thomson takes issue with this assessment, arguing that a fetus cannot be equated with a born individual since the moment of conception, although she concedes that it is very difficult to exactly ascertain when a developing fetus deserves recognition as a human being.

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The other point she makes is that on what grounds would pro-lifers oppose abortion when the pregnancy was the result of a rape. Judith Thomson is essentially trying to differentiate between cases of pregnancies that result due to negligence or indifference of either of the partners, and those which arise due to crime. It is on such grounds that the author expects special rights be granted for pregnant women to choose. She also thinks that it is unfair for anti-abortionists to expect a woman to invest so much of her physical and mental resources on a child that she does not want in the first place. The pregnant woman also carries the risk of complications during childbirth, which in some cases could even cost her life. She argues that those who talk about rights of unborn babies should also consider the risk of life to the woman who is carrying the baby. Here too, Thomson asks for special concessions to be made for pregnant woman who fall under high-risk category, namely those who have a history of complications, those who are physically weak or anemic, those who are too poor to take care of themselves, etc. Hence, the author is not in support of indiscriminate practice of abortion, but rather implores the readers to consider the vast gray areas in the issue and seeks a moderate approach from the lawmakers and the society at large.

Judith Thomson’s viewpoint on the issue of abortion is not fully compatible with the unique cultural values of our nation’s culture. In its 240 year history, the majority of American people have been religious.

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