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Evaluate a Utilitarian approach to Abortion.

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Introduction

´╗┐Evaluate a Utilitarian approach to Abortion. Abortion, the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, has been the subject of discussion and controversy for many decades. Utilitarianism is the chief teleological ethical theory today which considers the consequences of an action; such as abortion. This ethical approach to abortion is useful because it determines that ?an action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number?. It considers the hedonic calculus, designed by Bentham, which weighs up the pleasure and pain generated by the available moral actions; the theory mainly focuses on both pleasure and pain and the ability to maximize pleasure over pain. It also emphasises the ends of abortion over its means; so it judges the rightness of abortion by the end result, possible pleasure, it produces. The views of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are significant in illustrating the effects of a Utilitarian approach to abortion. ...read more.

Middle

In his utilitarian approach to abortion, Bentham would use the hedonic calculus which he designed to weigh up the pain and pleasure generated by the available moral actions to find the best option. It is potentially essential in relation to abortion because it determines whether it is intrinsically right or wrong, based on seven factors. Firstly the intensity of the pleasure, for example hearing your child?s first word. Secondly, the duration of the pleasure caused, might refer to the lifelong highs or lows from your child. An abortion demonstrates the certainty/uncertainty of the act because the mother may experience guilt and sorrow without the child or may experience freedom from not having the child. The remoteness/propinquity of the pleasure relates to whether the relief is immediate or a long way away. The richness of the pleasure may refer to the birth of a baby, which will bring happiness to many. The purity of the pleasure means whether the action will bring more or less harm, for example, by having a child at a young age could jeopardise an education or a career. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mill said in his book ?Utilitarianism? that it ?is mostly considered unjust to deprive any one of his personal liberty, his property, or any other thing which belongs to him by law?. This means that it is considered unjust to hinder the individuality of someone other than you. Mill would consider abortion immoral because of his principles about how we achieve this moral idealism that Utilitarianism holds. Also Mill argued that ?it is natural to man to speak, to reason, to build cities, to cultivate the round, though these are acquired faculties?; suggesting that we need humans to experience more and more, until we reach the ultimate morals of our world. Therefore aborting a life would not be moral in his eyes because a life helps get closer and closer to the ideal morals of Utilitarianism. Preference Utilitarianism is another form of utilitarianism, advocated by Peter Singer, to determine that an action, like abortion, is morally right if it produces the most favourable consequences for everyone involved. It interprets the best consequences in terms of ?preference satisfaction?. ...read more.

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