- Abortion: the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy
- Teleological :concerned with the end/purpose of an action, rather than the action itself
- Deontological: values an action in and of itself (intrinsically)
- Absolutist: An approach that is always right or wrong, regardless of the situation
- Relativist: Nothing is intrinsically right or wrong, it depends on the situation
- Don Marquis: “the loss of one’s life is one of the greatest losses a man can suffer”
- Ellen Willis: "can it be moral under any circumstances to make a woman bear child against her will"
- currently legal in the UK up to 24 weeks due to the 1990 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act
Sanctity of Life
- The Sanctity of Life is the belief that human life is sacred and should be conserved
- Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man by man's blood shall be shed, for in the image of God has God made man"
- The Decalogue: "commit murder"
- Albert Schweitzer: "reverence for life" (1915)
- Jonathan Glover: life should not be a "necessary vehicle of consciousness" Causing Death and Saving Lives (1977)
- Strong and Weak SoL
- Influences Catholicism
Quality of Life
- Instrumental value
- "It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice." (In regards to Down's Syndrome)
- Catholics: moment of conception
- Some scientists: quickening occurs at 14 weeks
- Gloria Albrecht: moral issue not a scientific one
- Peter Singer: rationality and self-consciousness
- Could justify infanticide
- Strong Sanctity of Life
- Pope benedict XIII: "be promoters of life from its beginning to its natural end"
- Influenced law in Ireland, where a 21-year-old was given a three-moth suspended sentence for two years due to the use of an abortion pill.
The Church of England
- "The Church of England combines strong opposition to abortion with a recognition that there can be- strictly limited- conditions under which it may be preferable to any available alternative"
- Natural Law
- Double Effect
- Joseph Fletcher: "the morality of an action depends on the situation" 1966 'Situation Ethics: The New Morality'
- Mental health is important too
Bentham: "Nature has placed mankind under two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure, it is for them to decide what we must do"- The Principles of Morals and Legislation' 1789
Act= completely situationalist
Mill= general rules deduced should not be broken (strong rule)
- Peter Vardy- we may not be competent judges
- We should use a universal approach like Kantian Ethics
Peter Singer: “to pull out a sprouting acorn is not the same as cutting down a venerable oak"
The rights of the mother should be considered more highly than the rights of the foetus.
'The right to life' can be open to interpretation (mother or foetus?)
- 1971- A Defence of Abortion
- Violinist analogy
- Under no duty or obligation to save the violinist
- Villiage Voice 1985
- "Can it be moral under any circumstances to make a woman bear a child against her will?"