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Person 1: Fine, a fetus is a human person. But a woman may do anything to anyone in her body. Person 2 (our hero): I agree we deserve special rights regarding our own bodies. To be clear, do you think abortion is always okay, at any time, even for no reason?

Do Bodily Rights Justify All Possible Abortions?

The response may very well be yes. In this case, try asking your conversation partner whether he or she thinks it’s okay for a pregnant woman to take thalidomide. Thalidomide is a drug that was used in the late 1950s to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. Unfortunately, as it turns out, treating pregnant women with thalidomide causes severe deformities in their children. Many thousands of people alive today are still suffering the effects of thalidomide. Most people agree that pregnant women should not be allowed to take thalidomide if they plan to give birth. This demonstrates that some ethical principles still apply even when someone is inside someone else’s body.

On the other hand, many pro-choice people agree that abortion is wrong in at least some cases. For example, some pro-choice people agree that late-term abortion is wrong, and some pro-choice people agree that sex-selective abortion is wrong.

Check out this related blog post by the Equal Rights Institute.

First posted

Suggested:
Person 1: Sure, a fetus is a person. But a woman may do anything to anyone in her body. Person 2 (our hero): I agree that we deserve special rights regarding our own bodies. But may a pregnant woman take thalidomide? It causes serious birth defects.Person 1: It’s my body, so it’s my choice. Person 2 (our hero): I agree that we deserve special rights regarding our own bodies. I want to understand your view better. When a woman is pregnant, would you say there’s one body present or two?Person 1: Nobody, fetus or adult, may use a woman’s body without her consent. Person 2 (our hero): I sympathize with women facing unwanted pregnancies. But abortion does more than separate the fetus and mother. The fetus’s death is no accident.Person 1: The fetus is a trespasser. Person 2 (our hero): I think I see what you mean. I wish nobody were ever pregnant without wanting to be. Let me ask a question; bear with me. If I find a stowaway toddler on my boat, may I throw her overboard?
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