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Reasons For and Against Abortion - A Short Abortion Essay About the Philosophical Discussions Evolving Around it

Updated on December 17, 2010

In our modern society, abortion and whether parents have the ethical right to decide if they use abortion or not is a greatly discussed topic. The reason for that is probably because there are no definite answers to such problems and it is a question from the point of view you are having. This essay will look at different philosophical ideas and how they would deal with this debate.

Arguments for Abortion – Relativist Views

There are a lot of thinkers who would agree with this sentence because if you look at it from the utilitarian point of view it seems very acceptable. Utilitarians always look at the consequences of actions and want to provide the biggest happiness so for example if there is a drunken teenager who ‘accidentally’ slept with some random boy she does not even know well and gets pregnant it would probably be the right decision to abort because the teenager will suffer a lot from the pregnancy, the stress and the costs that will arise because of it. Also the baby will not have a great start in life when the mother is not a real adult. On the other hand there can be argued that the child could bring happiness into the teenagers life and give her life a meaning. But that is one of the main problems of Utilitarianism because humans can not predict things and so we cannot foresee which action brings more happiness.

Situation ethics which basically say that everybody should consider each situation by your feelings and should always act out of agape would agree with this sentence, too. If the child is unwanted and unintended it should not be born but of course it is not always so and in this way every situation is unique and should be considered separately. Joseph Fletcher who made up the situation ethics theory sees abortion as an act of self defence and so it is a righteous act for him. ‘As it is not possible to know God’s will…love or agape is the only moral rule.’ (Joseph Fletcher)

Arguments Against Abortion - Absolutist Views


But there are also a lot of theories which are against the right of abortion. Firstly there are Kantian Ethics which firstly say that people should be treated as ends in themselves and not as a means to an end. So an abortion would go against this principle. Secondly Kant had the idea that everyone should act in a way that could be universalised which means that your actions will still be alright even if everyone is doing them. For example followers of Kantian Ethics could never kill a human being because they do not want this action to be universalised. So it is very absolute and does look only at the act of abortion itself. All in all it can be said that Kantian Ethics is completely against abortion because it does not consider each situation individually.

‘Act only to that maxim whereby you can will that it should become a universal law.’ Immanuel Kant

Another theory which weakens the act of abortion is Natural Law which was invented by Thomas Aquinas. It is a Christian theory and Aquinas basically said that things and humans should always fulfil their purpose. For example the end of semen is to become a plant. The purpose of a pregnancy is to get a child and not to abort and so Natural Law is against abortion.

In conclusion it can be said that there are a lot arguments on both sides. The ones who are against the right of abortion have quite a few convincing arguments but in my opinion they are too rigid for modern society. Women who are in such a situation have all different stories and so a woman should have the right to abort because it is often the thing that brings the most happiness.

Literature About Abortion


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