Abortion, Is It Murder or Not?
- Pages: 9
- Word count: 2104
- Category: Abortion
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Abortion, is it murder or not? There is a great controversy over many individuals on whether or not abortion should be legalized. As a utilitarian I believe that legalizing abortion will maximize happiness for the greatest number of people while minimizing their unhappiness. Abortion is defined as a deliberate termination of a pregnancy and it has been a real-world ethical issue for a long time. There are different viewpoints from debates provide arguments on whether it is ethical or moral to terminate a fetus’ life during a pregnancy and before the normal childbirth.
Therefore, the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo before viability and 5 million hospital admissions per year globally. An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year, with slightly under half of those performed unsafely.
“In 2011, approximately 1. 06 million abortions took place in the U. S. , down from an estimated 1. 21 million abortions in 2008, 1. 29 million in 2002, 1. 31 million in 2000 and 1.36 million in 1996. From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions have occurred in the U. S. (AGI). Based on available state-level data, an estimated 1. 04 million abortions took place in 2012 —down from an estimated 1. 16 million abortions in 2009 and 1. 13 million abortions in 2010. In 2011, the highest number of reported abortions occurred in California, New York and Florida (84,990); the fewest occurred in Wyoming (120), South Dakota(600) and North Dakota(1,250) (AGI).
In 2005, the abortion rate in the United States was higher than recent rates reported for Canada and Western European countries and lower than rates reported for China, Cuba, the majority of Eastern European countries, and certain Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union (CDC)”. Half of pregnancies among American women are unintended ; about 4 in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-one percent of all U. S. pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. (AGI).
Forty percent of the world’s women have access to legal induced abortions. Nowadays, modern medical technologies allow people to have an abortion based on their own wills and needs in many countries. The Induced abortion this has a long history and has been performed by various methods, including herbal abortifacients, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma, and other traditional methods. The legality, prevalence, cultural and religious status of abortion vary substantially around the world.
Its legality can depend on specific conditions, such as incest, rape, fetal defects, a high risk of disability, socioeconomic factors or the mother’s health being at risk. In many parts of the world there is prominent and divisive public controversy over the moral, ethical, and legal issues of abortion. Those who are against abortion generally posit that an embryo or fetus is a human with the right to life and may equate abortion with homicide, while proponents of abortion rights emphasize a woman’s right to decide about matters concerning her own body.
On the other hand, approximately 205 million pregnancies occur each year worldwide. Over a third are unintended and about a fifth end in induced abortion. Most abortions result from unintended pregnancies. In the United Kingdom 1 to 2% of abortions are done due to genetic problems in the fetus. Specific procedures may also be selected due to legality, regional availability, and doctor or patient preference. Reasons for procuring induced abortions are typically characterized as either therapeutic or elective.
Abortion this is medically referred to as a therapeutic abortion when it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman; prevent harm to the woman’s physical or mental health; terminate a pregnancy where indications are that the child will have a significantly increased chance of premature morbidity or mortality or be otherwise disabled; or to selectively reduce the number of fetuses to lessen health risks associated with multiple pregnancy. Spontaneous abortion, also known as miscarriage, is the unintentional expulsion of an embryo or fetus before the 24th week of gestation.
A pregnancy that ends before 37 weeks of gestation resulting in a live-born infant is known as a “premature birth” or a “preterm birth”. When a fetus dies in utero after viability, or during delivery, it is usually termed “stillborn”. Premature births and stillbirths are generally not considered to be miscarriages although usage of these terms can sometimes overlap. The most common cause of spontaneous abortion during the first trimester is chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo or fetus, accounting for at least 50% of sampled early pregnancy losses.
Other causes include vascular disease, diabetes, other hormonal problems, infection, and abnormalities of the uterus. Medical abortions are those induced by abortifacient pharmaceuticals. Medical abortion became an alternative method of abortion with the availability of prostaglandin analogs in the 1970s and the antiprogestogen mifepristone in the 1980s. The most common early first-trimester medical abortion regimens use mifepristone in combination with a prostaglandin analog up to 9 weeks gestational age, methotrexate in combination with a prostaglandin analog up to 7 weeks gestation, or a prostaglandin analog alone.
In very early abortions, up to 7 weeks gestation, medical abortion using a mifepristone–misoprostol combination regimen is considered to be more effective than surgical abortion, especially when clinical practice does not include detailed inspection of aspirated tissue. Early medical abortion regimens using mifepristone, followed 24–48 hours later by buccal or vaginal misoprostol are 98% effective up to 9 weeks gestational age. If medical abortion fails, surgical abortion must be used to complete the procedure.
Early medical abortions account for the majority of abortions before 9 weeks gestation in Britain, France, Switzerland, and the Nordic countries. In the United States, the percentage of early medical abortions is far lower. Medical abortion regimens using mifepristone in combination with a prostaglandin analog are the most common methods used for second-trimester abortions in Canada, most of Europe, China and India, Surgical Up to 15 weeks’ gestation, suction-aspiration or vacuum aspiration are the most common surgical methods of induced abortion.
MVA, also known as “mini-suction” and “menstrual extraction”, can be used in very early pregnancy, and does not require cervical dilation. Dilation and curettage, the second most common method of surgical abortion, is a standard gynecological procedure performed for a variety of reasons, including examination of the uterine lining for possible malignancy, investigation of abnormal bleeding, and abortion. Curettage refers to cleaning the walls of the uterus with a curette. The World Health Organization recommends this procedure, also called sharp curettage, only when MVA is unavailable.
From the 15th week of gestation until approximately the 26th, other techniques must be used. Upon the types of method, is it ethical enough for women to terminate their fetus ? Before discussing about this ethical issue, honestly, we all need to consider these questions: Is a fetus a human person who has rights, self-consciousness and self-awareness? Then the fact is that there is no sufficient or solid evidence for this question. “Some say that a fetus is able to feel pain between twenty to twenty-six weeks during the pregnancy”.
No matter what your answer is, I think the better way to apply this issue with different philosophical perspectives under multiple situations around us. Here I am going to discuss this issue in terms of two opposite views from Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism. Based on the through analysis, Bentham’s view is a easy to understand, justify and resolve abortion as an ethical issue. While Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher who believes that all humans have certain dignity and commands to respect .
According to Kant, all behaviors and actions are done by people simply because they are the right things to do and to always tell the truth. Second, people do things based on whether it is moral rather than on any purposes. Kant would believe that an abortion is morally incorrect because it is not right to kill a person and it is considered as a murder under any circumstances . In other words, no matter what is the situation that the pregnant women encounters, it is always not morally correct to have an abortion to the fetus.
Moreover, in Sandel’s video “Mind Your Motive” and “The Supreme Principle of Morality,” this American political philosopher who teaches at Harvard University as a professor points out that Kant thinks any human actions should have certain moral worth instead of doing the right thing for the immoral reason. On behalf of this view, an abortion does not have any moral worth because it is considered by Kant as a murder to another person no matter what are those reasons for the pregnancy.
Also, in Kant’s view, he believes that a fetus is a human person because it has a soul (Kutlucan, 2009) which emphasizes the reason why he thinks that an abortion is not permissible. For the purpose of doing an action, Kant believes that the moral worth of an action is neither the expectation for it nor in any principle which requires to borrow its motive from this expectation (Kant, 1785). Therefore, even if the pregnant woman was raped and she cannot afford to raise this child, she cannot have an abortion in terms of Kant’s perspective on the moral worth of an action.
This fact brings us to the next philosopher, Jeremy Bentham and his principle of utility. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), a British philosopher who started the theory of utilitarianism that rejects Kant’s points of view. An abortion, according to Bentham’s view, might be permissible under specific circumstances. For instance, if the mother does not have enough financial resources to support the growth of this future child, or the mother knows that the fetus will be born with physical disability, then an abortion is allowed for the reason of achieving a balance of pleasure over pain.
If the child is going to be born with innate disability that cannot be cured with any medical methods, his or her life might be miserable from the mother’s view. Thus, why not have an abortion? If it is already known that the child is going to suffer all his or her life, why not choose a better way to relieve the pain and turn that into happiness for both sides? As mentioned in “Principles of morals and legislation” by Bentham (1780), a person’s value of a pleasure or pain considered by itself is based on the following aspects: its intensity, its duration, its certainty or uncertainty and its propinquity or remoteness.
This is clear and logical enough to analyze a solution to an abortion as it offers the capacity of finding a better one than the other. There is no absolute distinction between what is right and what is wrong based on Bentham’s view, only if the consequences are the most favorable for the person’s greatest happiness, even including the majority of the people related to this person who is responsible to give that action. Furthermore, like Michael Sandel discusses in his video “The Case for Cannibalism” and “Putting a Price Tag on Life,” the only thing matters is the overall level of happiness and welfare of everybody in a community.
Likewise, an individual cannot be arbitrary to do things only based on his or her own will but to consider the collective pleasure of the majority. Therefore, an abortion is decided by the meticulous consideration of the overall and utmost happiness as a whole. By comparing viewpoints of Kant and Bentham and relate it to our modern society, it is able to observe that Kant provides a more straightforward answer to whether it is moral to have an abortion.
The standard of Kant is that, the final decision is only based on the moral worth of the action and furthermore, an abortion is a way to kill a person that is always considered as a murder and it is never a moral action. Thus, although Kant knows an abortion is needed when the mother is raped so hindered by many restrictions from the society or how unwilling the mother is about having that abortion, he would reject it anyway. Unlike him, Bentham would say that if that is the case, an abortion is not morally wrong accords with the happiness of the mother and the fetus and consider about their future life.
In conclusion, both philosophers provide their moral and ethical perspectives on abortion. By contrasting and comparing the moral views of Kant( Popular Philosopher), and Bentham as the evidences available, I would say that I agree with Bentham’s perspective because unlike Kant whose view is so straightforward to decide what is right and what is wrong, Bentham’s philosophy allows us to consider an issue under different circumstances with respect to a larger group of people in terms of their greatest happiness.