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Person 1: It’s my body, so it’s my choice. Person 2 (our hero): I don’t want to unnecessarily restrict your freedom. I want to understand your view better. When someone is pregnant, would you say there’s one body present or two?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?

One Body or Two?

When someone says my body, my choice, she might mean one of a few things. She might be saying that a fetus is a part of the mother’s body, like a kidney. In this case, the core disagreement is about biology. On the other hand, she might agree that the fetus is a distinct human person. She might instead be saying that it is justified to kill a person who is inside her body or a person who is using her body for life support. In this case, the core disagreement is about ethics.

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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: 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: 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?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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