The absolutely brilliant philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson has sadly passed away. She was an extremely creative and insightful thinker who made important contributions to many areas of philosophy, especially ethics.
Her 1971 article "A Defense of Abortion" is one of the most famous articles of the 20th Century, in part because of the clever, imaginative examples that she develops to illustrate the nature of the right to life. These examples include the Famous Violinist, People Seeds, the Rapidly Expanding Child, and more.
These examples all support the claim (the observation?) that the right to life is not the right to anyone else's body, even if that body is needed for that someone to stay alive.
Her article is the basis for what is sometimes called a "bodily autonomy argument for abortion" but her arguments and insights are not as simple or simplistic as both critics and defenders sometimes make them out to be. Likewise, her article is, in some ways, a foundation for the "my body, my choice" slogan but, again, people who say that typically are unaware of the subtlety and nuance and caution that Thomson gave the issues. Everyone should read and study her brilliant article for themselves.
Please read the moving remembrances of her and grateful appreciations of her as a teacher and, well, just a person; some are being posted online.
And here is our brief summary of her arguments from Thinking Critically About Abortion: