Critical Essay on Thomsons Article: A Defense of Abortion

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In our contemporary societies, abortion is highly condemned because it is believed that the exercise terminates the life of an innocent child. The article opines that many people think that the life of an individual starts right from conception and abortion is aimed at killing the fetus which is regarded as a human being. The author of the articles agrees at some point that a fetus is already a person before birth and therefore abortion is an unethical decision for women. Arguably, the fetus starts acquiring human characteristics such as the face, legs, arms, fingers, and toes at the tenth week after conception. Besides, the brain of the fetus is detectable which means that abortion will kill an innocent unborn baby since it poses all features of a human being (Thomson, 49). In a nutshell, the author opines that the fetus is an ideal human being and therefore has the right to life but abortion is nevertheless acceptable in some situations. The paper seeks to explore a circumstance that calls for abortion, the rationale why it should be permitted as well as how right is Thomson in her argument.

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Reasons Why Abortion Is Morally Permissible

Foremost, abortion is permissible when the life of the mother of the unborn child (fetus) is in danger, and failure to abort may result in her death. Mothers of unborn babies can be allowed to perform an abortion if only that is the only way to save their life. Women should not sit to wait for their death because they are asked to refrain from abortion. It is unethical for women to choose not to abort and wait for their death while they could have otherwise saved their lives through safe abortion. The third party during abortion might play an important role in saving the life of a pregnant mother because during delivery most of them are unconscious and therefore cannot make an informed decision on what should be done (Otsuka, 79). This circumstance calls for the intervention of the third party (doctor) to decide what to do to the patient at hand to save her life. On the other hand, if the pregnant mother is conscious enough to make a good decision, the doctor might give the patient what should be done to her with the consequences involved so that she may make her mind. In cases where the victim of abortion can communicate, the third part should not be for her to perform an abortion.

Abortion to Save Life of Mother

However, the author supports abortion when the life of the mother is at risk of death, but now she faces the dilemma of who should s\choose who to live and who to die? She argues that people should not decide who to live with and who to survive but only God has the supreme power to decide. Despite the above argument, she points out that the mother should not avoid abortion to save the unborn child however innocent he or she might be. She should save her life by performing an abortion because she is the house, which would house other future children, but the child might not even survive to reproduce. The right to self-defense is allowed, and if abortion is the only idea to save an individual life, then it should be performed (Thomson, 59). The article opines that abortion should be the last option to save the lives of individuals but should not be given priority. During delivery, all other ways of saving the life of a woman should be exhausted before reaching the abortion idea because if another method other than abortion could have saved the life of the mother, then the exercise is treated as unethical because it will unnecessarily terminate the life of an innocent child.

Abortion Is a Woman’s Decision

The author asserts that abortion can only be permitted by the person whose life is threatened because in this case there are two innocent parties, the person whose life is threatened and the person whose life is threatening. Third parties should not be involved in deciding when abortion is to be performed because they are not directly affected. To this extent, therefore, even if abortion is permissible to save the life of the mother, the third party such as the doctor or midwife has no mandate to perform the abortion. The article supports women to perform an abortion but on the other hand, contradicts the idea. For instance, the author argues that it is unjust to deprive an individual of a crucial right to life. Opponents of abortion arguing that the unborn child is unjustly killed condemn the violation of the right to life of the fetus. From my perspective, it is true the right to life is violated by the mother, but when she is at risk of death, then the mother should strive to save her life through an abortion if that is the only way for her to survive. The author is equally right when she supports abortion when the life of the mother is in danger of death. If the mother fails to do the abortion, she might risk both her life and that of the unborn baby, and therefore it is better to save one of the two lives from death. The author opines that the mother should save her life by aborting the unborn baby, which threatens her life (Cornell, 327). She is right in that society cannot afford to lose two people while there was a chance to save one. She was not right in arguing that only the mother has the authority to do an abortion because sometimes she may be unconscious and therefore not able to make decisions. She should have recommended the third party (doctors or midwives) to determine whether an individual can do an abortion or not because most of them in our contemporary society perform the exercise for no apparent reason. Mostly, mothers do not do abortions because they are at risk of death but out of their reasons such as because they do not want to give birth or the child is a result of unprotected sexual intercourse.

Is Abortion Ethical or Unethical?

Thomson was right when she argued that a person has the right to do anything so long as he or she is protecting his or her life but it has some limits (Brake, 65). For instance, there is a limit to when a person should defend herself from death through abortion. A woman should only decide to carry out an abortion if the other ways of saving her life prove futile. The woman can do an abortion to save her life because she is the one who houses the fetus and not the fetus housing her. This gives women the authority to save their lives through abortion when the fetus threatens their dear lives. Nonetheless, the author was right by arguing that the third party should ask the mother of the unborn child to accept abortion since is the only means to secure her life because the victim may be very confused not know what to do. Lack of intervention by the third may make both the mother and the child lose their lives. Additionally, the argument of the author did not cover the circumstance under which the life of the mother is in danger of death which provides loopholes for individuals to abort unnecessarily pointing out death risk to their lives. There are no measures put in place to determine whether an individual must perform an abortion or not. Abortion is immoral and therefore unacceptable in any given society (Thomson, 56). Abortion is only aimed at the termination of the life of a fetus for reasons best known by the party practicing it. Abortion is an unethical decision taken by individuals who fear child rearing as well as teenagers who practice premarital sex.


In conclusion, the theory of abortion should be done to save the mother of the unborn child faces serious objection from modern societies as well as Christian believers. For instance, they argue that only God has the right to give and take a human life but not human beings. Abortion is both condemned in the society and church because it is immoral. Abortion should not be permitted in society because it encourages immorality among the youth and general public because in case of unwanted pregnancies an individual is allowed to abort. Besides, I object to abortion because some women may request it just to avoid the postponement of foreign trips. Laws should be enacted to curb prevalent cases of abortion found in our modern societies in the name of saving the lives of women.

Works Cited

Brake, Elizabeth. "Fatherhood and child support: Do men have a right to choose?." Journal of Applied Philosophy 22.1 (2005): 55-73.

Cornell, Drucilla. The imaginary domain: abortion, pornography, and sexual harassment. Routledge, 2016.

Otsuka, Michael. "Killing the innocent in self-defense." Philosophy & Public Affairs 23.1 (1994): 74-94.

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "A defense of abortion." Jf Philos Public Affairs 1 (1971): 47-66

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