Avatar Placeholder
Johannes G.
Thank you for this thought provoking article! I am in agreement with almost everything you said, but I still think if you want to show why bodily rights cannot justify an abortion you have to invoke the principle of double effect, the distinction between positive and negative rights and between culpable and non-culpable omissions. It seems to me the "making someone better / worse off" as well as the "killing / letting die" distinction alone does not go to the heart of the matter. I think if we use the proper moral principles to evaluate all the cases (the violinist and every possible abortion case) it becomes clear, at least by my lights, that even unplugging from the violinist is impermissible (at least under the circumstances which Thomson describes). Taking into account your argumentation what do you think about the following case which I presented already in a short discussion with Alex:

Imagine that in the future an incubator will be developed which is what we may call an artificial womb, and which can already care for a human being in the first stages of its development and let it mature until "birth". In this future, however, there is also a hereditary disease, which the growing child can only survive if it remains connected to the woman's body during pregnancy. In this thought experiment, the basic care of the child can thus obviously be provided without the woman's body and the connection would have to be maintained for therapeutic reasons alone. Suppose a woman does not want to carry her child (which is diagnosed with this disease) because it was conceived through rape and the psychological and physical strain until birth seems unbearable to her (we can even strengthen the case by assuming the embryo is a "stranger" and comes from a fertilized egg of another woman and was implanted without her consent). In this case, does she have the right to demand that the child be transferred to an appropriate incubator, even if this procedure unavoidably leads to the death of the child?
Avatar Placeholder
Unverified comment
I like the harm/help (or kill/rescue) distinction and think it does the best job of explaining why abortion should be illegal even if we accept a right to refuse in organ/tissue donation cases. But the problem with these sorts of analogies is that they don’t involve someone directly using someone else’s body, thus they’re probably not going to persuade most people that support legal abortion on a bodily rights basis. After all, most pro-choice people support requiring men to provide financial support to children they conceive (as required in all 50 states, including abortion states). There’s even (apparently) bipartisan support for extending this obligation to the nine months before the child is born. Yet they support allowing abortion even in cases of consensual sex (99%+ of abortions) precisely because using someone’s body (as in pregnancy) is fundamentally different from other kinds of child support (e.g. financial support). Any pro-life answer to the right to refuse argument must make the case that one can be required to let someone use one’s body if the only alternative is killing them. I think this can be done (for example, you wouldn’t have the right to hire a hitman to stab Thomson’s violinist in the heart and dismember him if it was the only way to « unplug » from him, nor would you have the right to retrieve a stolen kidney a minute after it was put into its recipient) but analogies that lack this element aren’t going to be helpful in getting us there.
Avatar Placeholder
Benjamin E.K
I'm wondering if then you can give birth to the baby and then just leave it.
You're not makeing it worse-off. Deffintly not better-off, but you're not interfeering with the baby? It will then die of starving, but i guess that's the same for Hector. You're not interfeering, and therefore letting Hector/the starving baby die?