Abortion has always played a central role in politics, especially in the rich countries, particularly the United States and its close friends, Canada and Britain. It is not hard to understand why this issue would be central to the politics of this developed countries because as it is well known, abortion is a very sensitive issue that is centered around freedom, gender equality and about the role of women in the society. On the opposite end, opponents of this might argue that it may infringe the laws of humanity while other religious bodies say that it is against humanity and the rule of God. With all these controversies surrounding the right to abortion, various considerations, particularly on ethics, need to be considered. As per my opinion, the ethical theory that is closely aligned with this notion that women should be granted the right to expel a fetus is the deontological theory which is basically centered on the need to do something. So, why shouldn’t women be granted the right to allow abortion yet it is their decision to make considering it is their body, it is part of childbearing, freedom, and equality, and simply because it affects the women disproportionately?
There are three types of ethical theories centered on all life situations. The three theories are the ethical theory, consequential theory, and deontological theory. The first one is basically centered on morals and ethics that guide a community while the second and third theories are rather opposing (Brody, 1996). The deontological theory basically assesses what we ought to do in contrast to the theories that assess an individual on what he/she ought to be. Finally, consequentialism theories assess the right or wrong of an action depending on the outcome and end results. All these theories are basically founded on various principles and hence have very little room for an intersection.
The Deontological theory
The deontological theory basically focuses on the actions and the outcomes. In this regards, it argues that the rightness or wrongness of actions determines the outcome of an act, and the positivity or negativity of a situation is determined by the actions that brought it.Furthermore, the right decision is basically above priorities or the goodness associated with it. As a matter of fact, the theory asserts that by having a proper reason for an act, the outcomes are always right regardless of the perception of the other theories of ethics. In the case of abortion, a woman might supposedly have financial troubles in the sense that bringing up a child would result in pain and treachery on both parties. Another example is the fact that giving birth to a child with some sort of inability is bound to have a lifetime impact on his/her and the mother. These are just examples that might be used to justify abortion according to the deontological theory of ethics.
To begin with, there are the patient-centered deontological theories. These theories are mainly right based rather than duty based. In this, the theories assert that the core of any act is the right granted to him/her. Therefore, there is usually the need for consent whenever there is a need for production of, case scenario, goods, and services. In this, the use of body, labor, materials and all other properties requires the consent of the owner. If the case scenario is translated to a woman, she has the right to abort the child considering that it is her body that is carrying the fetus. Common examples that have been used to describe the benefit of this theory to modern day ethics include the transplant of an organ from a dying patient to five others, throwing a person off a boat in order to save other lives and throwing one person in front of a trolley in order to save a number of lives (Dougherty, 2013). A woman, therefore, should be granted the right to abort, considering the reasons behind it such as the saving of a child from a lifetime of inability or saving a child from the misery of not having a decent life. Not only will she save the life of the baby from treachery and misery, she will also save herself as well.
There are deontological theories that are agent-centered rather than patient-centered. Basically, they describe that every person has both permissions and obligations that give us reasons for action. The underlying factor in this agent-based approach is that the agent reason is his/hers alone and it need not be the concern of anybody else, while the obligation refers to the obligation to undertake or refrain from taking a particular action. Therefore, the reasoning and obligation are centered on the agent who might decide to undertake or refrain from undertaking an action without the consent of anyone else (Davis, 1984). The second part of this agent-centered approach mainly deals with the actions undertaken by an agent in the sense that the mental aspect is not considered. In this, the view concedes that actions and doings of different kinds originate from a styled view. All that stated the mother may be considered the agent in the case of abortion whereby the theory tries to describe the permission and obligations that she has regarding the fetus.In this, the mother has no reason to explain to anybody whatsoever on the action she is going to undertake to remove the pregnancy. On her own capacity, she has the mandate to abort the baby without the consent of anyone. Therefore, women ought to be given the right to make their own decision when it comes to the aspect of aborting the fetus.
The third branch is the contractarian deontological theory. It basically describes a wrong act as that which is forbidden by principles of which people in a suitably described social contract would accept, or that would be forbidden only by principles that such people could not “reasonably reject” (Ellis, 1992). As a matter of fact, all the norms of the society bind those people who understand them in the form of a contract The contractarian theory basically tries to bridge the gap between the two theories and is basically described to be more patient-centered. On this regard, we have to consider a woman undertaking an abortion, of which she is not going against the principles forbidden by the society.
Criticism and Weakness of the Deontological Theory
Though the theory may be described to adequately cover some ethical issues on the modern society, it has been observed to have some flaws and mistakes that are indicated below.
Deontology may be regarded as a paradoxical theory because it may make the world morally worse primarily because it advocates for individual judgment. The major effect is felt on patient-centered deontological approaches and it has been proposed for deontologists to have their own rational purposes and response that do not give people the freedom to do whatever they like. In this regard, abortion has always been regarded as an unethical and morally wrong behavior of which there should be legal implications against it.This is not the same case for deontologists through the agent-centered and patient-centered approaches which give the woman freedom to abort the baby.
Another flaw associated with the deontological theory is the conflict that may arise between duties and rights. Considering the aspect of abortion, granting the woman right to abortion would limit the duties that she has as a mother. In essence, there is going to be a conflict between motherly duties and the rights to abortion. It is therefore imperative that some of the building blocks of this theory be reviewed to prevent such conflicts.
The agent-centered approach of deontology has an aspect of bias and manipulation (Brook, 2007). Many conflicts have been resolved by the doctrine of doing and allowing but the results might bring about an aspect not catered for, such as ovoism.Ovoism has been described as an undesirable feature of any ethical system that allows such strategic manipulation of its doctrines (Bentham, 1789). Some of these undesirable traits include: using omissions, foresight, risk, allowing, aiding, and accelerating among others. Concerning abortion, some factors are not always catered for, such as the risk of women dying or getting more engaged in the promiscuous behavior. It has been stated that women who go to get an abortion end up into promiscuous behaviors later on in life.
Finally, there is the possibility of situations, which follow deontological norms resulting into disastrous consequences. As stated above cases of abortion have not always had fruitful results. Many women have ended up being promiscuous after the first abortion while some have not made it successfully. This is a disastrous consequence that might be associated with deontological theory
It is important to consider that women should be granted the rights to conduct an abortion, but there should be measures taken to prevent a possibility of a disaster, something not catered for by the deontological theory. Regardless, the theory is useful in championing for the rights to abortion particularly on the basis of equality, freedom, childbearing, decision making, and misappropriation among others. Furthermore, the theory provides some sort of ethical comfort to parties that are still unsure of their acts
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