The subject of abortion is very controversial and polarizing. This is because it is not just about the woman’s right to her body, but it touches on the child’s right to life. In fact, almost everyone has an opinion about abortion, opining what it entails, whether or not the law should support it, why it should be supported by the law, and who can access the services. In the same way, the different ethical theories have presented contrasting views for and against abortion (Tannsjo, 2013). The present analysis applies utilitarianism to support abortion.
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that is more concerned with the outcomes and ends. It holds that the individual holds the ultimate sovereignty over his or her mind and body. The implication is that no one has a greater right over one’s body than the individual himself. Regarding abortion, the theory would only be concerned with whether it would lead to the greater good. In essence, the decision on whether or not to have an abortion can be subjected to the hedonic calculus for justification. For instance, should hedonic calculus can justify an abortion due to work, education, family needs, financial pressures and so on. Since utilitarianism holds that rules should only be made if they are targeted at bringing the greater good, its response to abortion can be considered as either accepting or denying an abortion on the basis of whether it will result in the greater good or not (Tannsjo, 2013).
One must accept that the debate on whether or not to accept abortion will continue since valid arguments are presented with contrasting viewpoints. In addition, one has no option but to acknowledge that utilitarianism brings a fresh perspective to the argument by introducing the concept of the greater good. This is because it accepts abortion, but only allows its commission in the instances when it passes the hedonic calculus of justification. Therefore, utilitarianism can be used to justify and argue for abortion.
Tannsjo, T. (2013). Understanding Ethics, 3rd ed. Edinburg: Edinburg University Press.
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