a) Compare the ways in which Natural law and Utilitarianism might be applied to abortion. (25 marks) b) “A religious believer should never have an abortion.” Discuss (10 marks) a) Abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy and in today’s society is viewed as a very controversial ethical issue due to the conflicting moral standpoints. Natural Law was first proposed by Aristotle but championed by Aquinas (1225 – 74) and Utilitarianism by Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. Abortion was not an issue during these periods, which is why it is such a controversial issue, now as there are few philosophical or religious teachings on the topic. Natural Law is a deontological, deductive and consequentialist theory of ethics. It begins with the 5 primary precepts from which the secondary precepts are derived and can be used to apply to everyday life. As one of the primary precepts is ‘Reproduction’ the secondary precepts derived from this are ‘Do not abort’ and ‘Do not use contraception’ as these will both inhibit having children and achieving our purpose as humans. Another primary precept that could be used to offer a view against abortion is ‘Defend the Innocent.’ Foetuses are innocents by nature, they have not had the chance to become anything but and are unable to defend themselves; therefore it is our purpose and duty to protect them the best we can. Overall, Natural Law theory is 100% against abortion as the rules are absolutes and pleasing God through following these laws is at the centre of the theory. Act utilitarianism was first proposed by Jeremy Bentham and later developed into Rule utilitarianism by his godson John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism is only concerned with ‘the greatest pleasure for the greatest number’ and in most cases this could be used as pro-abortion as the discomfort of one foetus is negligible compared to the suffering it could cause everyone involved for whatever reason if the baby were to be born. In...
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