Ethics of Abortion
Monday, April 16, 2012
Abortion, one of the most ethical issues debated today. It has been a widely controversial debate for many years dated back to even before it was made legal in the United States. Like most ethical issues, there are two sides as to what is the right thing to do. Some people think that abortion is completely and utterly wrong. Some people think that abortion is right when and only when the mother’s life is at risk. And others think that there is a range of different circumstances that make abortion morally acceptable. In this paper I will present the issue of abortion, explain the three classical ...view middle of the document...
Questions like these play a game of tug-a-war with your brain and what you thought prior to reading such questions. This argument reminds us that even in the abortion debate, we should regard the woman as a person and not just as a container for the fetus. We should therefore give great consideration to her rights and needs (Richards, 2012). Most ethical issues might never truly be answered because the study of ethics does not solve our problems rather it gives insight into these issues of right and wrong. (Mosser, 2010, 1.7) Using three classical theories, utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, we can then decide for ourselves what is moral and if the issue on abortion is right or wrong.
A natural way to see if an act is the right thing to do (or the wrong thing to do), is to look at its results, or consequences. “Utilitarianism argues that, given a set of choices, the act we should choose is that which produces the best results for the greatest number affected by that choice.” (Mosser, 2010, 1.7) Utilitarian’s would ask whether having an abortion brings about the greatest good in the case of an abortion, the people who are affected are the pregnant female and the male who impregnated her, so when we talk about the “greatest good” we mean her, him and their families. What affects the decision for this couple may be that they are not financially stable and a child would bring hardship and struggle therefore leading abortion to be the greater good of the situation. Many women chose to abort if certain DNA tests show positive for some types of birth defects or medical problems. Consider a woman who gave birth to a child with trisomy 13, a genetic disease where the infant will die within the first days or weeks of life. The child dies within 20 days of birth and finally at peace. A couple years later she gets pregnant again, only this time doctors are able to do prenatal testing to determine if her fetus has the same defect. If the test come out positive, and the fetus indeed has trisomy 13, what does she do? She and her family will experience the same tragedy all over again. What is the greater good for the people affected? Does she abort so the fetus never feels the pain of her first child? The utilitarian will say that abortion would be in the greater good because the fetus will not suffer being hooked to wires and tubes for the remainder of its short life, that and the family will also is in a better place knowing that they won’t suffer the same situation twice. Another example to support the utilitarian would be the linkage between child abuse or neglect and abortion. “Unwanted" children may be more subject to child abuse and neglect by their parents or caretakers than are desired children, in part because such children may be born and raised in less favorable circumstances that foster maltreatment. In addition, parents may be more likely to maltreat unwanted children; sociological and medical studies suggest a link between unplanned...