Ethics / Abortion


When the issue of abortion comes to mind, one tends to think of one of these two perspectives:  that women should not abort because is constitutes killing or that they should be given a choice to keep the pregnancy or abort. The arguments for or against this issue should be understood before making decisions concerning one’s pregnancy.

Reasons for Abortion

In the case of rape, a victim usually undergoes psychological stress that may even result in suicide and ultimately death (Pollitt 143). For this reason, most rape or incest victims in case pregnancy occurs, some do not have an option but to abort. Reasons would be, they are unprepared to parent a baby who is a constant reminder of the terrible incident the mother faced. Most of the children who result from such situations are prone to abuse or even neglect (Alcorn 119f). Additionally, abortion is a safe procedure if done by a professional medical officer. However, with many countries not legalizing the issue, many women seek it in unhygienic conditions that make them susceptible to infections and even bleeding to death if not performed effectively.

Legitimate abortions would reduce the number of unreported deaths of women worldwide. Another argument for abortion is that women deserve the right to choose what they do with their bodies especially if their health is at stake. According to Pollitt (144), children born out of love, compassion, and care grow into healthy human beings, but unplanned babies may not be lucky if parents do not have plans to support them financially and emotionally. Lastly, most orphanages across the world are congested and unwanted babies just strain the already scarce resources.

Reasons against Abortion

Despite the pros of abortion, a major disadvantage is a damage it causes to a woman physical and emotional health. Medical complications that result in the case or an abortion-gone-wrong could be severe. The risks of having miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies are so high for women who chose to undergo an abortion. Abortion is a complete defiance of the sanctity of life since it is considered murder (Alcorn 120). Therefore, women who choose to abort are killing other human beings who might have been people of great importance to the society. Women who do not abstain from any early sexual behaviors or do not use contraception should not abort. Such is because they wanted control of their bodies and since they failed to adhere to these simple rules, then aborting a baby due to negligence on their part should not be an option.

Individuals with the highest rate of abortion cases are the young women. They are usually with limited life experiences and know-how when they end up with early pregnancies. In most case, they do not understand what they engage in and may live to regret their actions in future (Alcorn 124). In most societies, abortion is considered a vice, and if accepted, many people would opt for it as a birth control mechanism which is not recommended (Alcorn 124). The issue does not free women in any way and goes against the feminist principles that prohibit any practice of violence such as abortion. Religion also plays a key in discouraging the practice since it is believed that sexual intercourse is sacred and procreation makes everyone a child of God. Hence, terminating a pregnancy would be sinful since it corresponds to killing child of God.

Analysis of the Philosophy of “Good Will” by Immanuel Kant concerning Abortion

Immanuel Kant stated that the absolute good thing is good will (McCarty 66). This means that any action undertaken from a positively motivated will is obviously a respected one. In case a person does something for personal gain, no matter if it is a good or a bad deed, as long as it is motivated by this objective, then his/ her will is made to do it not just for a goodness but also the extrinsic reason behind it, that is personal interest (McCarty 70). An act based on morality in such a case is just incidental. To determine if abortion is either an act of good will or not is paramount and Kant’s philosophy stresses on the universalizability of every principle for it to be a duty to every person.

Actions of abortion centered at personal avoidance of early pregnancy stigma or just unreasonable reason for it does not reflect any goodness in the will of the victim (McCarty 70). It, however, shows a personal concern to rid oneself of embarrassments, early responsibilities, harms, and stigma. According to Kant, to know if we are acting well in the respected duty lines as other, the duty must be universalizable (Zeuschner 127). In the case of abortion, if the church as an institution would discourage the act without following up on the case in the society, and every person adheres to this rule, then the outcome would be that the prohibition would lose its meaning (McCarty 73). If there is a duty, it must be one that everyone satisfies without offsetting the real purpose of the actions in the first place.

The lesson from Kant’s philosophy of “Good Will” is that every individual should assess their actions before performing them (McCarty 74). Whether the abortion idea comes to one’s mind through feelings, religion, desires, or family, it must be tested first to determine if it is universally accepted and is the right thing to do or not. As a rational being, undertaking an action is dependent on some set rule (Zeuschner 130). If I decide to get pregnant, then I must agree to take it to term. However, if I think of abortion, it contradicts the getting pregnant and taking it to term rule.


Abortion is an issue that has been discussed in many articles and studies. Its advantages and disadvantages are numerous, and this is why it’s yet to be determined as accepted or not. The paper also employed Immanuel Kant’s’ philosophy of “Good Will” to understand the issue of abortion and if the action is considered a goodness in certain ways. It was determined that any action as far as its deemed rational to oneself should be approved and considered understandable by other people.


 Works Cited

Alcorn, Randy C. Prolife Answers to Prochoice Arguments. Colorado Springs, Colo: Multnomah

Books, 2009. Print

McCarty, Richard R. “Maxims in Kant’s practical philosophy.” Journal of the History of

Philosophy 44.1 (2006): 65-83.

Pollitt, Katha. Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights. New York: Picador, 2015. Print.

Zeuschner, Robert B. Classical Ethics, East and West: Ethics from a Comparative Perspective. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.


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