September 30th, 2020
Kantian ethics considers deontological ethics which is the normative theory that basis the morality of action if wrong or right through a process of rules rather than on basis of action penalty. The development of the theory was as a result of enlightenment rationalism, which enquired that for an action to be good if its maxim is obligation to the moral law and based on the actor’s sense of duty. Kant’s essential purpose to develop the moral law was the categorical imperative, which focused to act on all people despite of desires or interests (Fleischmann, Alexandra, et al, 2020).
According to Fieser (n.d), human beings especially women are created to care for their offspring, help them grow, and show them motherly love; this is our fundamental duty as humans. In our world today, abortion is a controversial topic that sparks different kinds of emotions, where each side of the debate hold on to their moral views, ethical views, and convictions. The prolife side talks about the fetus having the right to live while the prochoice side talks about the right the mother has over what happens to her body.
Katian Ethics on Abortion
Kant relied on several techniques to formulate his categorical imperative. However, universalizability, one of Kant’s principles, enquired that an action must be applicable to all people without contradiction for it the action to be permitted. Kant’s second section of categorical imperative, the humanity formulation, enquired that, as end in itself human being are not permitted to treat others merely as a means to an end, but always an end in themselves (Fieser n.d). The autonomy formulation stated that the will of rational agents is what binds them with the moral law; and also we should treat people with dignity and respect. Looking at this statement by Fieser, we could say it means protect the life of the fetus by not killing but respecting it and giving birth to it; however, this statement could also be directed to the mother by supporting her right to life or safety (she might not be healthy enough to give birth and lose her life if she goes ahead to have the baby).
1. Harris F.L et al (2014). Perceived stress and emotional social support among women who are denied or receive abortions in the United States: a prospective cohort study. 14(76).
The article talks about the emotional and social stress women go through when denied the opportunity of having an abortion. This study was done between two groups of women; those who wanted an abortion and were denied, and those women who received abortion. Perceived stress is an overwhelming situation in an individual’s life which can result to a number of health issues like heart diseases, inflammation etc. “There is some evidence that women with unwanted pregnancies have higher perceived stress during pregnancy than women with wanted or mistimed pregnancies” (p. 2). Meanwhile, there are different ways women cope with stress, and social support has been found to be associated with better health during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and with reduced depression among new mothers, abortion patients, and other groups (p. 2). This study found that in the week after receiving or being denied an abortion, women who were denied abortions experienced higher stress compared to women who received abortions, and that women who received later abortions had higher stress initially than women receiving first trimester abortions (p. 6).
This article analyzes the struggles of how women fight for their human rights despite the fact that getting an abortion is based on the condition that it is done if it is safeguarding a woman’s life or health. “It explores how proposed reforms to the abortion law that on the surface seem to legalize abortion in cases of severe health disorders or rape in reality moralize abortion, since vulnerable women should prove these conditions through lengthy bureaucratic procedures” (p. 1). Third world countries like morocco still frown against women having abortion, the law of pro-choice is seen as an immoral thing. The problem with this reform is that “Abortion on demand is not a current prospect in the country, and even if proposed reforms were to take place, the termination of pregnancy would continue to be restricted to “sensitive” cases and would require women to comply with painstaking bureaucratic or medical procedures. Such procedures are arguably out of reach for many women due to family and economic constraints, as well as physical distance from health infrastructure” (p. 2). Therefore, since the legality of having an abortion is taken away, then women will seek the illegal abortion, thereby normalizing this unsafe practice.
3. Oginni, A., Ahmadu, S. K., Okwesa, N., Adejo, I., & Shekerau, H. (2018). Correlates of individual-level abortion stigma among women seeking elective abortion in Nigeria. International Journal of Women’s Health, 10, 361.
In this article, the level or ratio of women who had a safe abortion experiencing individual-level abortion stigma was observed. Nigeria as third-world country still sees abortion as act of immorality, it is obtained that Nigeria is one of the countries that come under the category of putting restrictive laws or rules on abortion. However, this article made me see the effect stigmatization has on the women The point helps me to understand that “Abortion stigma plays a significant role in women’s decision on whether to have a safe or unsafe abortion and in the disclosure of individual abortion behavior. It may cause some women to carry their pregnancies to term and assume a disproportionate economic burden for care; it can lead women to seek unsafe abortions clandestinely to avoid judgment by society or contribute to women avoiding or delaying safe postabortion care” even In some develop countries (p. 2). I believe this stigmatization still exist and might stick around for a long while because of the different moral values and ideology people hold.
4. Austin, M. W. (2019) Ethics and Abortion; Two opposing arguments on the morality of abortion.
In this article, the ethics of abortion discussed on the individual and community based. According to the author, the abortion argument is based on its morality, constitution, or legality. Women’s responsibility and roles played in death and life, freedom, family and children, cannot be underestimated which brings light to what he called “personhood”; a term which means a person has the obligation to protect a life (p. 2). Even though some arguments propose that the fetus does not have life at that stage, but it was debunked because of some discrepancies in the theory. A prolife would say the existence of heartbeat is enough to not have an abortion, while a prochoice would argue that the heartbeat cannot function on its own. The problem recognized in the article is the attention that is taken away from the mother and her choices and focusing on the rules of society. This article helps me to focus on differentiating the ethics of abortion for both community and individual basis. It also illustrates the human rights.
5. Rocca, C. H., Samari, G., Foster, D. G., Gould, H., & Kimport, K. (2020). Emotions and decision rightness over five years following an abortion: An examination of decision difficulty and abortion stigma. Social Science & Medicine, 248, 112704.
This article talked about the emotions some women go through after they have been denied the right to have an abortion. “opponents of abortion put forward an argument against access to legal abortion premised on the idea that abortion harms women by causing negative emotions and regret” (p. 2). This is based on the vague impression that women have innate desire to nurture and that abortion is stressful to a woman’s body. From the article, I understood that the major stress women go through before or after abortion is that they experience difficulty deciding to obtain an abortion and perceiving community abortion stigma were risk factors for negative emotions immediately after the abortion (p. 4) . The article supports the cause that women deserve to make decision when it comes to their body. I agree with the author because the emotion women go through in the process of abortion has to do with the social or environmental factors that unfavorable to the female gender and not the abortion or fetus itself.
Abortion will always be a controversial debate; however, women needs to be given the right to make informed decision about their body, for whatever reason they feel they can not have the baby. As it has been discussed previously that there are lots of reasons why women decide to go for an abortion, it might be due to health issue, rape or unreadiness. This project has broaden my horizon on the knowledge surrounding the ethics of abortion.
Austin, M. W. (2019) Ethics and Abortion; Two opposing arguments on the morality of abortion. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ethics-everyone/201906/ethics-and-abortion.
Capelli I. (2019). Non-marital Pregnancies and Unmarried Women’s Search for Illegal Abortion in Morocco. Health and human rights, 21(2), 33–45.
Fleischmann, A., Lammers, J., Conway, P., & Galinsky, A. D. (2020). Kant be Compared: People High in Social Comparison Orientation Make Fewer—Not More—Deontological Decisions in Sacrificial Dilemmas. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550620947294.
Fieser. J. (2011). Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong.
Harris L.F., Roberts S.C.M., Biggs M.A., Rocca C.H., Foster D.G. (2014). Perceived stress and emotional social support among women who are denied or receive abortions in the United States: a prospective cohort study. BMC Womens Health. 14(76). DOI:10.1186/1472-6874-14-76
Oginni, A., Ahmadu, S. K., Okwesa, N., Adejo, I., & Shekerau, H. (2018). Correlates of individual-level abortion stigma among women seeking elective abortion in Nigeria. International Journal of Women’s Health, 10, 361.
Rocca, C. H., Samari, G., Foster, D. G., Gould, H., & Kimport, K. (2020). Emotions and decision rightness over five years following an abortion: An examination of decision difficulty and abortion stigma. Social Science & Medicine, 248, 112704.
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