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The use of the Categorical Imperative makes no room for compassionate treatment of women who want an abortion. Discuss.

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Introduction

The use of the Categorical Imperative makes no room for compassionate treatment of women who want an abortion. Discuss. In order to use Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative, you must apply the 3 maxims- this will tell you whether an action is morally right or wrong. This can be used to make a decision about any morally or ethically controversial action- in this case abortion. The first maxim is to make a universalised decision. If every woman in the world were to have an abortion when they fell pregnant, then no children would be born and the species would die out. Even though Kantian Ethics is not teleological and therefore not concerned with the consequences of an action, this would still be conceived as morally wrong and therefore, by using the formula of the universal law, it would not be feasible for every woman to have an abortion. Furthermore, there are many, many different views on abortion. Different religions, and even different denominations within religions think differently about abortion and whether it is morally acceptable or not- obviously no religion is going to say that all women should have abortions, but some may say that women ought to have the choice whether to have an abortion or not. ...read more.

Middle

She could come from a very strong religious background and has possibly been raped. If she is deeply distressed about her pregnancy, but her family are forcing her to have the baby (either to fulfil their religious beliefs or to bring them a new member of their family) then she is being used as a means to an end. Moreover, Kantian ethics says that you are not able to make a good moral judgement if you are not free. The mother could be seen as trapped and not free. Hence she would not be able to make a moral decision for herself. Finally, if you are to make a decision about [your own] abortion, then you are acting as a member of the Kingdom of Ends: you think that everyone should abide by the same rules and laws and that everyone has equal status and indiscriminate rights. On the one hand, you could argue that the mother has the right to make her own decisions as it could cripple her career or make her life very unhappy if she is forced to finish the pregnancy and give birth. ...read more.

Conclusion

She has broken the law and therefore must pay the price in a jail sentence. Even in 1950, only 59 years ago- in our own country, abortion was always seen as wrong. However, the times and social norms have changed (relativism). Nurses and doctors are now able to give information about abortions is asked for- something that many people 50 (or maybe even less) years ago would have seen as disgusting. In a modern time, Kant would possibly have believed that abortion was acceptable- we'll never know. Moreover, if Kantian Ethics is a religious theory, then it would also be wrong as God gave human beings lives, and therefore the potential mothers could not decided whether to not let their potential baby have life or not- only God could. It is unknown whether Kant wanted his theory to be religious or not. He claims that it isn't, however, one of the conditions of the Categorical Imperative is that to achieve Summom Bonum, it is likely to take more than one lifetime. Maybe this is Kant saying it is near impossible to achieve, or maybe he is saying that he believes in an afterlife- and therefore God. ...read more.

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