October 17, 2012
Case Study: Should guardians be given the right to refuse the MMR vaccine?
When one attempts to differentiate between what would be considered a good or bad action it involves many unique factors. Several philosophers have come up with different theories in order to analyze how we could potentially make what would be considered the “best” decision. Some decisions are easier to evaluate as the better choice where as some would come into conflict with ethics and morals. Looking at the case study at hand, which talks about whether or not a guardian has the ethical right to refuse the MMR vaccination for their child, and using two theories known as Act Utilitarianism and Ethical Pluralism, one can prove that it is not ethically permissible for a guardian to refuse the MMR vaccine for their child and contribute to the spread of measles.
The first theory that one can use to analyze the case study is Act Utilitarianism. The theory of Act Utilitarianism determines whether an action can be considered right or wrong based on the consequential outcome. It also focuses on the fact that an act is right only if it results in maximizing utility in comparison to disutility. In context to the case study questioning whether childhood MMR vaccinations should be compulsory or not, a good act utilitarian would prove that it is in fact not ethically permissible for a guardian to refuse the MMR vaccine that prevents the spread of measles for their child. A good act utilitarian would state that a guardian refusing the MMR vaccine for their child only maximizes disutility for society in both the short and long term spectrum and this goes against the goals of act utilitarianism. By refusing the MMR vaccine for their children, parents or guardians are maximizing disutility by promoting the spread of measles which is a contagious...