Ethics Investigation





  • Utilitarianism is a teleological theory, concerned wth end and outcomes.
  • Having an abortion because of financial pressures, other family memebers needs, education and work-any of these may be justified by Benthams hedonic calculus.
  • Remoteness-how near it is, Purity-how free from pain it is, Richness-extent of others pleasures, Intensity-how powerful it is, Certainty-how likely it is to result in pleasure, Extent-how many people it affects, Duration-How long it lasts.
  • Argues that the end justifies the means.
  • Woman has the right to choose.
  • Mill argues for rule utilitarianism, says we shoud make rules that bring about the greatest good.
  • Some circumstances it may be right to deny the woman an abortion if doing so would bring about the greatest good for the foetus.
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Virtue Ethics


  • Virtue ethics is concerned with the type of people we should be, kind courageous&temperate.
  • Would be courageous to perform an abortion to help others.
  • It would be kind to remove the foetus from the woman if the mothers life is in jeopardy.
  • However it would be equally kind and courageous to campaign against abortion.
  • Foetus-right to life?
  • If justice includes the foetus then abortion is wrong, however if it does not then justice does not include them.
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Situation Ethics


  • Situation Ethics grew out of tradition that abortion is an evil act.
  • Fletcher said we should not get rid of rules as they are a useful guide in most situations.
  • However the only good thing is love and we are required to do the right thing.
  • With the church of England saying it could be the lesser of two evils.
  • If a woman has been attacked, abortion may be an act of love.
  • It doesnt see pleasure as good in itself, but Singers utilitarianism and Fletchers situation ethics say you should act in the 'best interests' of all who are affected.
  • If the child was disabled would be the most loving thing to do would be abort the baby.
  • Its generally in our interests to start families, abortion would be an exception in extreme circumstances, however it is not a method of birth control.
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Natural Law


  • Natural Law deals in absolutes.
  • The end never justfies the mean, can be compared against Utilitarianism.
  • 'protect and preserve the innnocent'
  • Absolute moral law that you should never kill an innocent person.
  • Deontological principle. Concerned with what is done not the outcome.
  • Catholics say this takes pressure off those who are faced wiht a difficult decision, such as a woman who has been attacked or the baby is threatening her life. Abortion is not an option.
  • Natural lawsays that killling an innocent person is not an option so you cant consider it.
  • Unethical to abort an eptopic pregnancy, but it is ethical to remove an ovary, however this woud leave the woman unable to have children.
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Religious Ethics


  • With Religious Ethics The Roman Catholic Church teaches that abortion is always wrong.
  • the Church of England teaches that abortion may be the lesser of two evils, if it endangers the life of the mother.
  • Abortion should be acceptable if there is a risk to the moters mental or physical health or say the pregnancy came out of an attack.
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Kant's Deontological Theory


  • Taken Kants deontological view, which is concerned with actions rather than consequences.
  • Kants theory is based on duty, and to act morally is to do your duty.
  • He argued that we should not act out of love and that the highest good is good will.
  • The Categorical Impreative decides what actions are forbidden and what we are obliged to do. Moral laws must be applied to everything and if its wrong for one person than it is wrong for all.
  • It is the duty of the mother to protect her child and fulfill her duty of raising the child.
  • Abortion isnt fulfilling the moral duties of the mothers and aborting the baby because the pregnancy was a result of an attack as it is ating out of compassion for the mother. similar to a case of it the mothers life was at risk.
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The Abortion act was passed in 1967, so women ould not have to resort to 'backstreet abortions' or self-induced abortions, which include consuming herbal remedies or poisons with intent to cause a miscarriage.

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