I agree with the statement, however there are arguments for and against. To argue for I will be using J.J. Thomson’s violinist analogy and the argument that life does not start at conception. To argue against I will be using Natural Law and Christian ethics.
J.J Thomson asks us to imagine waking up and finding yourself connected with a famous violinist. You know that if you disconnect yourself now, he will die but if you disconnect yourself in 9 months’ time he will survive. She likens this to pregnancy, a woman with a baby surviving from her. She says that just as you would have the right to remove yourself from the violinist, a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy. It is her body that is being used as a means to an end.
Another argument would be that life does not start at conception and so we cannot consider a foetus as a separate life until it can survive outside the body. Science shows that the organs of a foetus develop at 35 weeks, so I don’t think that it can be considered a separate life until then. Just as any man is able to remove a tumour that is surviving on his body purely by using his body, a woman should be able to choose an abortion.
Christians however, may disagree, using the Sanctity of Life as an argument. The Sanctity of Life means that all life is sacred and belongs to God, and so only God can take life- seen in the Bible, it says ‘there is a time for everything. A time to be born and a time to die’. Using this, a Christian would say that a woman has no right to an abortion because life can only be taken by God.
One of the Primary Precepts in Aquinas’ Natural Law is preserving life. The secondary precept of this regarding abortion would be that it is wrong, it is not an option because it does not preserve life. However the doctrine of double effect could be used in certain circumstances. For example, in an ectopic pregnancy, in order to save the woman’s life her fallopian tube would have to be removed. This would mean the unborn child dies, in the doctrine of double effect this is an unintended side effect. The action is not evil because the intentions were not evil.
In conclusion, there is quite an equal balance of arguments for and against the statement ‘a woman has the right to choose an abortion’. Evidence from science could make people believe that a foetus isn’t a separate life until it can survive outside the body. And J.J Thomson argues that a woman has the right over her body and so the right to disconnect herself. However, Sanctity of Life means that many Christians believe that abortion is wrong as only god can give or take lives. Finally, Natural law says that we should always work to preserve life of innocents. Overall I believe that the statement is correct, a woman should be able to do what she wants with her body, including an abortion.