Abortion, the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, has been the subject of discussion and controversy for many decades. Many people believe it is immoral and even consider it to be murder. Most people come to America for freedom; whether it is for freedom of religion, speech, or choice.
It is the government’s duty to protect the rights of the people. We live in a country based on freedoms, and women have and should continue to have the freedom to that choice. Though the right to an abortion has been enshrined in American law for the past several decades, there has been a recurring attempt to ban the practice or make it too difficult to access. Arguments against abortion are religiously biased; overlook the fact that the legalization of it benefits the health of women, and deny women the right to do what they want with their bodies. I believe abortion is morally permissible in all cases even if it’s caused by voluntary, unprotected sex.In “A Defense of Abortion” by Thomson, the author argues that a pregnant woman has a right to have an abortion in cases such as self-defense and rape.
Thomson states that terminating the pregnancy to save the mother’s life is self-defense, not murder. Since the fetus requires the mother’s body, abortion should not be considered murder. Furthermore, the mother should have a say as to what she endures for the sake of her well-being. Some people believe the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception; this means abortion is murder, which is morally impermissible.
On the other hand, the morality of abortion centers on whether fetuses are persons. Thomson claims that “fetuses are persons” is not enough to show that abortion is impermissible. The mother has a right to save her own life even if it leads to aborting the fetus. In cases where the pregnancy is due to rape, Thomson argues that the mother has the right to control her body. Even though letting the violinist stay attached to the mother’s body is an act of kindness, hardly anyone would think that she is obligated to do so. This means that abortion is permissible in cases of rape.
Those who strongly oppose to abortion would say that one has a right to life even if one is conceived as a result of rape. The example of the famous violinist shows only that abortion is permissible when the pregnancy did not result from the mother’s voluntary acts, as in rape.It would not be unjust to abort the fetus if you voluntarily engage in intercourse, but take contraceptives against becoming pregnant.
Therefore, the fetus does not have a right to use your body if you do become pregnant. However, unwanted pregnancies most likely result from voluntary acts, which leads to abortion. Thomson solely points out that abortion is permissible when the pregnancy did not result from intentional voluntary acts. However, Thomson does not address the permissibility of abortion in the case of a teenage girl who becomes pregnant as a result of voluntary sex. Or the case of a couple who discover that their child has a disorder such as down syndrome, autism, etc.
Thomson concludes by noting a fetus is not “a person from the moment of conception,” anymore than “an acorn is an oak tree.” Thomson challenges the idea that abortion is morally permissible when self-defense or rape occurs. I believe that a woman’s body belongs to herself and she should has the right to decide what is necessary for her health. Abortion is permissible in all cases even if the pregnancy resulted from a voluntary or involuntary sexual activity.With abortion being a personal issue, it seems that act utilitarianism is the most adequate theory because it looks at the consequences of an abortion, taking each situation into separate account of all others. This would then enable women who have been raped, for example, to choose whether they go ahead with the birth because they may not be able to live with the consequences of their situation and bring the child up with the history of the conception attached to the child, thus in theory giving the mother a more pleasurable life, without the constant reminder of what happened to her. In reference to Bentham’s principle of utility, this decision could also ease the stress on her family, so in this case an abortion would be seen to bring the greatest pleasure to the greatest number. It considers the hedonic calculus, designed by Bentham, which weighs up the pleasure and pain generated by the available moral actions; the theory mainly focuses on both pleasure and pain and the ability to maximize pleasure over pain.
It also emphasizes the ends of abortion over its means; so it judges the rightness of abortion by the end result, possible pleasure, it produces. Bentham would allow an abortion (murder) to take place if his Hedonic Calculus shows that it would result in more pleasure or pain for the people involved. For example, if a woman is raped by a man totally against her will, then it is only fair to let her have an abortion because the woman didn’t have a choice in the first place and the baby isn’t truly hers.Abortion is something that probably will never be agreed on but having the choice should not be a matter of debate. Taking away choice means implementing control over the bodies of women. Women are not property so the only person who should have authority over their bodies is them. Abortion does not necessarily mean one is for the killing of babies but it does mean that women are entitled to do what they want with their bodies, which is most likely what they think is best. Act utilitarianism in particular, is a logical and more suitable approach to an emotive issue like abortion.
It aims to solve individual situations on whether an abortion would be the right action by enabling the hedonic calculus to be used for any length of time. This approach promotes pleasure and compassion for all involved; considering the feelings of the mother and father as well as the fetus. Utilitarianism is the ethical theory today which considers the consequences of an action; such as abortion. This ethical approach to abortion is useful because it determines that “an action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number”.