Obviously detaching oneself from a stranger who has imposed themselves upon you is quite different from detaching from someone made up of your genetic material who has always had a complete reliance on you for their protection and survival.Despite sharing kidneys with the ailing violinist, you do not influence their life in anywhere near the all-consuming way that a mother influences a fetus.She does however clarify that this moral sense of “right” is also importantly distinct from merely what one ought to do (Thomson 13).
Obviously detaching oneself from a stranger who has imposed themselves upon you is quite different from detaching from someone made up of your genetic material who has always had a complete reliance on you for their protection and survival.Despite sharing kidneys with the ailing violinist, you do not influence their life in anywhere near the all-consuming way that a mother influences a fetus.
This logic therefore follows that the abortion of a fetus (who was conceived without any conscious intent of their own) is more problematic than that of an adult who knowingly seizes ownership of another person’s body as a form of life support.
Thomson’s greatest downfall in the employment of the violinist analogy is its complete failure to recognize the important complication resulting from the unique relationship between mother and child which is simply not present between two strangers, such as between you and the violinist.
I will argue that Thomson’s attempt to analogize pregnancy and abortion through the inflation of the fetus to the level of an adult within the violinist example actually reveals how unsuitable the analogy is and ultimately weakens her work’s overall thesis.
The role of the violinist in the analogy parallels the fetus in a pregnancy.
(T calls the latter “the extreme view.”) Section 1 – How are we to defend the anti-abortion position in cases where the mother will die if she brings the child to full term?
We could say that abortion party may say they don’t want to kill a growing child trapped with you in a tiny house in another of her thought experiments.The analogy is at best a flat and idealized confrontation with some of the issues in the rights involved with abortion.Unfortunately, Thomson fails to present a compelling argument explaining how to bridge the gaps exposed in her attempt to represent an unborn fetus with the figure of a grown adult, and as a result of this oversimplification, lessens the strength of her work’s applicability to the highly complicated subject of abortion.Thomson’s equation of the adult violinist with the fetus is beneficial to her argument in that it eliminates the imagery often associated with abortion which people find so difficult to overcome: she replaces actively killing a baby with unplugging an ailing adult and allowing death to take its course.The reason why killing a baby is such a difficult image to cope with is because of the instinctive injustice of killing an innocent, someone who has not committed any crime.Thomson’s argument is weakened however by the disparity between the imagery in her analogies and the reality of pregnancy and of abortion.In what follows, I will critically examine the weaknesses of Thomson’s rhetoric, focussing on her first analogy involving the parasitic violinist who has been attached to you through kidnapping and to whom you serve as life support.In not acknowledging or compensating for this distinction, Thomson misses the opportunity to address the emotional burden of a mother choosing to kill her own child.Though Thomson asserts that parents “do not have any such ‘special responsibility’ for a person unless [they] have assumed it”, this choice to overlook the natural responsibility of the relationship between mother and child is a deliberate blindness and in fact a laziness of her argument that weakens its overall effectiveness (Thomson 17).While it would be kind of you to let the violinist stay attached to your body, almost no one would think you are morally obligated to do so.This suggests that abortion is morally permissible in cases of rape (and also that the mere fact that the violinist is a person doesn’t preclude the permissibility of abortion.) Of course, strong opponents of abortion may still say that one has a right to life even if one is conceived as a result of rape or the mother’s life is in danger.