Thursday, 9 August 2012

Analysis of an Ethical Decision

There are several facts that are related to abortion. In United States, since 1973 when a decision was made back about Roe V. Wade, the number of abortions has exceeded 50 million. By totaling up different forms of abortions, regardless of the course, it is evident that the number of abortions exceeds one million annually. Roughly, there is no difference between the number of military deaths and that of babies that are killed yearly, by abortion in America. The military deaths have occurred in every war in which US has taken part. About 3000 babies are killed through this process daily. In New York City, 41% of the pregnancies are aborted. According to new studies, 85% of the abortions are performed for convenience. In the United States, a virginal birth that has no complications costs more than $9000 while aborting a first trimester costs $451. According to a report by Homeland security this year, people that are against abortion are potential terrorists. Again, there are some governments’ reports that have described those that are protesting against abortion as potential threats.

Some clinics that perform abortions are said to have been selling parts of the aborted baby to the medical researchers. The numbers of abortions that are performed by Planned Parenthood exceed 300,000, annually. The Planned Parenthood executives are about 30 and annually, they make about $200,000 annually. Most of them do not exceed 300,000 yearly.
In addition to the facts, the second step is determining the ethical issues, in terms of legitimate competing interests. In some societies, abortion is completely banned while some allow it in some cases. In certain cases, contraceptives have been replaced by abortion. Consequently, such societies have managed to regulate the size of their population. According to some doctors, ending unwanted pregnancies is a way of planning families. On the other hand, when abortion is viewed as contraception, educating the children about the results of having casual sex cannot be effective. According to some ethicists, it is legal to have an abortion if the born child is likely to suffer from mental or physical handicaps. However, this reason is offensive especially to the disabled individuals. This is because the implication is that the lives of disabled people are not as worthy as that of the ‘normal’ ones. Some victims of incest and rape are minors. Consequently, they are not physically or mentally prepared to bring up a baby. Therefore, such victims should not bear a child that has resulted from an unfortunate incident. However, abortion is process that can result to health complications and in some cases, death of the person. To have an abortion comes with a risk of not becoming pregnant again. It is mothers that undergo through issues like labor pains and those related to parenting. She should be allowed to abort the baby if she is not capable of taking care of the baby. Raising a child with no financial and family support is impossible. A baby is a gift from God therefore there is a reason for its birth. Again, when abortion is done, it is accompanied by feelings of depression and guilt that lasts a life time.

The principles that have a bearing on this case include the biblical, constitutional, physiologic, Gnostic and libertarian principles. The deontological principles also come to bear on this situation. There are four deontological principles; utilitarianism, Kant, natural law, situation ethics and virtue ethics. The utilitarianism has concerns with outcomes or ends. The principles seek to establish whether to have an abortion comes with the greatest good. Hedonic calculus justified having an abortion because of financial pressure, work, education, and more. With Kant principle, one needs to take a maxim before universalizing it. According to Kantians, the fetus counts as humanity. The third principle is of natural law which seeks to establish the purpose or design of humans. Among the primary precepts is protecting and preserving the innocent. The secondary precept here is ‘do not abort’. According to Catholics, even when a mother’s life is threatened, the option should not be an abortion. According to this principle, to kill an innocent individual cannot be considered as an option. The exceptions to this include cases like double effect. For example in case of ectopic, pregnancy, there is the likelihood of both the mother and the fetus dying. With situation ethics, it originated from the tradition, according to which having an abortion is evil. According to this principle, pleasure is not good in its self. According to this principle, the act that is done requires that the best interests of the affected person are considered. Abortion is done only in extreme circumstances for example financial constrains. With virtual ethics, it is not easy to apply it and is concerned with the kind of person we should be. In some countries, the fetus does not enjoy human rights. In such cases, they are not included in the justice. The response that one gives is determined by the fetus’ status.

The principles that should be weighed more heavily are utilitarianism and virtual ethics. With utilitarianism, traditional views about abortion being an evil act are challenged. It supports the pro-choice position. Virtual ethics should be weighed because according to this principle, killing a fetus is not wrong. The fetus needs to have the same rights as any individual.

The alternatives to having an abortion are many, for example, one can give out the unwanted child for adoption. Other alternatives include using birth control methods to avoid unwanted pregnancies, counseling, and way of continuing with education after pregnancy, avoiding unprotected sex, mothers taking care of their babies, and providing mothers with both personal and financial support.

Different courses of actions can be developed when making the ethical decision. With adoption of the unwanted child, it requires that the process of adoption be improved so that the number of children that are adopted can increase. When there are no unwanted pregnancies, there will be no abortions. Women should be educated about the importance and how to use different birth control methods like condoms and taking pills. Women with unwanted pregnancies need access to counseling services. Through such services, they will be helped to accept the unwanted pregnancy instead of aborting. Some women conceive when they are in school. Such women need to be guided on how they can continue with education even after giving birth, instead of aborting the child in order to continue with education. Some people abort due to poverty and lack of emotional support, or the environment being conducive for them to give birth. The government should have programs through which mothers can access emotional and financial support, and be helped to raise their children too.

The above alternatives seek to prevent the women from having an abortion even when the pregnancy is unwanted. Other alternatives give the woman means of avoiding unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions. The alternatives contradict the utilitarian’s principle which states that situations like financial constrains and lack of personal support justifies having an abortion. The alternatives support the principle of Kant in that it does not support abortion, unless the life of the mother is in danger. According to the principle of natural law, having an abortion is wrong. This principle is supported by the alternatives to abortion. Just as with the alternatives that seek to save the life of the unborn, natural laws state that to kill an innocent person is wrong and the act is considered to be evil. Situation ethics contradicts the alternatives to having an abortion. It states that abortion can be done in the interest of the affected for example after rape, lack of time to rear children. According to the alternatives, there is no situation that justifies one terminating any unwanted pregnancy. ​According to the alternatives given, even the life of the unborn is precious and that is why the alternatives seek to prevent people from having abortions. The alternatives contradict the virtual ethics because this principle does not value the life of the unborn baby.
With the above principles and alternatives at hand, the problem is solved. Having an abortion is an act that is not only considered to be evil, but also immoral. In countries where abortion is legal, women undergo feelings of guilt and emotional trauma, after having abortions. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives that women can utilize instead of having abortions due to unwanted pregnancies. The alternatives aim at reducing the number of cases of abortions.