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Abortion: An Ethical Analysis

The topic of abortion is one of the most controversial subjects when it comes to ethical issues.

Many questions and thoughts are brought to our minds when we hear the word “abortion”, and each individual has their own opinion with supporting details as to why they feel the way that they do about abortion. The fight between pro-life and pro-choice is an everlasting battle and the ethical dilemma within this subject is far more complicated then it appears. In this essay I will examine two major ethical viewpoints of abortion, Teleological Theory and Deontological Theory.

First let’s take a look at abortion from a teleological point of view, with this viewpoint, it depends solely on consequences. Teleological theory is broken down into two major subjects, Egoism and Utilitarianism; I will focus my examination on Egoism. An Egoism Consequentialist is faced with one question when it comes to the topic of abortion, what will be in her own best interest? This would draw questions such as; am I ready for a baby? Do I really want to give up all of my time to raise a baby? Or What if I am unhappy with a child? This theory focuses on a very selfish viewpoint of the situation, or so it would seem.

Ethical Egoism does not mean that a woman is being selfish on her decision of abortion. For example; let’s say a woman decides to have an abortion because she is not prepared to have a child, she has no support; financial or emotional and she is still in school. The woman decides that it would be in her best interest to have an abortion. Does this really make her a bad person? Universal ethical egoism states that “everyone should act in his or her own self interest, regardless of the interest of others, unless their interests also serve as hers” (Ethics theory and practice, Jacques P. Thiroux).

The woman who decided to get an abortion now has a second chance, she can remain in school and not have to worry about bringing an unplanned child into the world, but just because this decision worked out well for her, was it the right decision? Although this might have seemed like a good decision, it still brings concerns and ethical dilemmas to our attention. One of the largest problems with Universal ethical egoism is its inconsistency, for example; the woman decided to get an abortion because “everyone ought to act in his or her own self interest”, but who is to know that this was her own self interest? Could she not have had a child, found employment and stayed in school (as most people do)? Could she not have ultimately ended up being the happiest she has ever been because of this child coming into her life?

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