Utilitarianism and Abortion


The question of abortion is one that has no one clear right or wrong answer many people have many different views as to where it is morally correct to have an abortion some people would argue that it is murder and yet the unborn baby has done nothing that would warrant the death penalty and even if it was possible to see what kind of a life that person would lead would it be right to judge them on actions they haven’t taking place yet. Also the question of abortion raises the question of life When is the baby classed as living some people would say that as soon as the sperm enters the egg life is made. Others would say that it is not until they the aware of their Owen existence i.e. when they are born but how do they know that the unborn baby isn’t aware of it’s existence. Whatever the point of view, a way of deciding whether or nor abortion is right or wrong is to apply the principle of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism proposes an approach to ethics based solely on having the consequences of an action in mind when attempting to make a choice based on morality. "The greatest good for the greatest number," john Stuart Mill one of the founders of the principle of utilitarianism points out the importance of making a choice and carrying it out based on consequences which are the most beneficial for the most people. Whether or not an action is right or wrong should be judged on the consequences it has. Mills also pointed out the importance of personal pleasure and fulfillment in life as he placed great emphasis on the achievements and happiness of individuals. It seems that the principle of utilitarianism may be used in the argument whether or not it is right to have an abortion because it goes beyond the question of whether or not the fetus is a person or not. The fairly straightforward view of utilitarianism would hold that the overall consequence would outweigh the question of whether or not it is moral to have an abortion. So it would seem that the choice of whether or not to have an abortion would be up to the pregnant women. This is not automatically giving morality to whatever choice the woman makes, nor suggests that the giving of the choice to such a woman is always in fact the morally correct decision. For example if the women was certified insane would it be morally right to give that the women the choice even through she is insane. So as you can see utilitarianism would argue that abortion is never always morally permissible or never morally permissible. So as you can see the principle of utilitarianism. Would argue that morally correct choice to abort or not to abort dependents on the situation and that therefore the woman\'s choice in any given situation is not necessarily morally correct, when based on utilitarianism ethics. It also argues that abortion is never is always morally permissible or never morally permissible. So it is possible to imagine a situation based on utilitarianism ethics where it is morally correct to abort and a situation where it is morally correct not to abort for example, take a situation in which a fetus is known to eventually grow up to be Hitler. It would seem that the overall consequence of such a person being born would be negative because of all of the death and suffering, etc., so in this case a utilitarian may say it is morally correct to abort the fetus. In another situation where the fetus was known to grow up to be Jesus Christ, for example, many would agree that the overall consequence of such a person being born would be positive, and therefore a utilitarian would point out the morally correct action in this case would be to not abort. The point is that when you apply utilitarianism ethics to abortion utilitarianism supports the woman\'s choice to be the morally correct action to take, often beyond question of whether the fetus is a person or not.