Baby on board! Though maybe not for long

by Gordon Ramsay on February 9, 2017 - 3:59pm

      The issue of abortion has long been a major moral dilemma. Do the needs of the parent justify the killing of an unborn being? Although abortion should not be encouraged or abused, women should have the choice to an abortion as there are cases where it is morally acceptable. Some say you are committing murder which is wrong no matter what the context is. Others don’t consider unborn fetus as living beings, therefore believing it isn’t murder. What is often overlooked is the needs of the mother whose life is drastically altered by the decision to have an abortion or not.

      Take for example a young woman who becomes pregnant only to have her boyfriend leave her after hearing the news. She would then have to raise her kid as a single mother making it much more difficult for her to attend school or to hold a job. This could ruin her career and create a bad environment for the kid as well. There are also cases of women who are raped and become pregnant as a result. In these cases it would seem only fair to let the woman get an abortion. Some would argue that an alternative would be to leave your child up for adoption. However, the mother would still have to spend 9 months in pregnancy which in some places could mean losing her job. This also doesn’t account for the emotional scarring involved in having to give up your own baby. These examples in addition to the health risks and money costs involved in birth are enough to understand the serious benefits involved for a mother who decides to have an abortion.  

      If you view fetuses as living beings, however, you would find it cruel to kill someone just to further your own needs. You would also believe that leaving your child up for adoption would always be a better solution to murder. While it is still possible to understand the difficulties facing the mother, you could hardly justify the murder of an unborn baby. This is because no matter what the context is, the baby would never deserve to die as it has done nothing wrong.

      The solution to this dilemma is to look at it through the view of virtue ethics. This allows you to act the way a virtuous, or good, person would in your situation. This eliminates cases where abortions are issued for poor reasons. Cases where a woman routinely has abortions with no consideration for the loss of life or cases where a young woman might be pressured into having an abortion by her parents would be deemed immoral and thus eliminated. Virtue ethics would still allow for the above mentioned cases where the needs of the mother heavily outweigh the death of a fetus, even if you consider the fetus to be alive. You would also be required to try adoption when it is possible. This is a better view of abortion as opposed to deontology which would never allow abortion. This is because deontology says "that no person should be treated as a means to an end, but only as an end"(Merril 11). No matter the reason, abortion would be treating fetuses as a means and therefore would be immoral.

      In sum, whether you consider an unborn baby as a living being or not, virtue ethics allows for some leeway in specific cases where most would consider an abortion as morally acceptable. This is preferable to deontology, which flat out rejects abortion as wrong, because abortion is not always that simple.


Works cited

John C. Merril, "Overview: Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics," 3-32 In A. David Gordon, John M
Kittross, John C Merril, William Babcock, and Michael Dorsher (eds.), Controversies in Media ethics,
3rd Edition (New York: Routledge, 2011).............................................................................................................


I really enjoyed reading your article and your title gives a good idea of what you’re going to talk about. I really love how you mentioned both sides of the problem and you took realistic situations as examples to support your points. One of your examples that intrigued me was your reference to rape culture because it is an issue in society that requires a lot more attention. Our society gives off the wrong idea that rape has no consequences and it happens infrequently. In many cases, the victims were blamed and were seen responsible for enabling the act and even when found guilty, many of the perpetrators were not punished severely. Rape culture is also normalized in certain advertisements and music where woman is objectified and degraded. These form of media has a great influence on the population and it is sending off these discriminatory messages stating that this type of behavior is encouraged. These messages can be misunderstood, resulting in rape and potentially also leading to unplanned pregnancy. I believe that acknowledging this issue could have greatly emphasized the burden on the ethics relating to abortions, because women are faced with an incredible tough decision on whether they should keep the child of a rapist or abort it. I have found a website that contains shocking statistics on women facing these tough decisions.

Nice title! Your article was very informative, and it is very interesting that you used a philosophical viewpoint to look at the topic of abortion. However, abortion is more than just an ethical issue, or an issue of right and wrong. Gendered discrimination in the workplace is an important problem, and having children plays a role in it. Having kids puts women's incomes and financial security at risk, and prevents them from breaking the glass ceiling. For example, women who have children are more likely to face discrimination in the workplace than their male co-workers. Based on the results of a survey done in conjunction with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in the U.K., “one in five new mothers – as many as 100,000 mothers a year – experienced harassment or negative comments from colleagues, employer or manager when pregnant or returning from maternity leave”. Having children and going through a pregnancy can be a difficult situation for women; various circumstances and outcomes need to be taken into account. I think you should take a look at this fascinating article I have found on the Guardian regarding maternity discrimination. Throughout the engaging article you will find shocking and intriguing statistics on the matter.

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