In studying ethical theories we applied the Deontological Theory, specifically Natural Law theory, and Utilitarian theory to the debate on abortion. Using these two theories to support the pro-life and the pro-choice argument, we looked at the situation of Mrs. Matthews. Mrs. Matthews is a 22 year old graduate student who works and is contemplating having an abortion. She is married to Mr. Matthews who is 23 years of age and has a B.S. degree and is a construction worker. Their combined income is 80K a year (SITE). The couple lives in North Carolina. Taking the Deontological and Utilitarian theories we looked at the seven different scenarios that Miss Matthews could face and argued both the pro-choice and the pro-life stances. The following are seven different scenarios that Mrs. Matthews may encounter:
1. Suppose her husband/boyfriend does not want her to have an abortion at this time and offers to help raise the child.
2. Suppose the husband/boyfriend wants her to have an abortion but Miss M has second thoughts about it.
3. Suppose she finds that the pregnancy is eight weeks along. 12 weeks? 16 weeks? 20 weeks? 25 weeks? 30 weeks? 34 weeks?
4. Suppose that Miss M learns, from prenatal diagnosis, that the baby would probably have Down Syndrome.
5. Suppose the baby would have Trisomy-13, which is lethal within the first year.
6. What are the reasons that Miss M should or should not consider adoption instead?
7. Would it be morally acceptable for her to contract with a couple willing to compensate her if she gave the child to them after it was born? Would this be belated surrogate pregnancy, pre-adoption, baby marketing, or something else?
For the purposes of argument, we decided that Mrs. Matthews and her husband were using some form of birth control while engaging in sexual activity and her pregnancy was due to failure in birth control, not due to irresponsibility on her and her husband’s behalf. Ultimately we will provide enough information to show that the pro-life options available to Mrs. Matthews override the pro-choice options. According to the Association of Prolife Physicians, life begins at fertilization (SITE). The APP sites “a scientific textbook called ‘Basics of Biology’” that gives five characteristics of living things. This definition states that living things are highly organized, have an ability to acquire materials and energy, the ability to respond to their environment, the ability to reproduce and the ability to adapt (SITE). From the moment of fertilization a life has begun to exist. In looking at Mrs. Matthews various situations we used the deontological theory to support the pro-life stance. Deontological ethics are split into Kantian and Natural Law. The opinions of the pro-life community coincide with that of the theory of Natural Law. In Natural Law the belief is that all that is natural is good. In viewing the debate on abortion, pregnancy is a natural process and therefore is good. The termination of a baby is unnatural and therefore is bad and/or wrong. This would make abortion wrong in all cases, with the only exception being the law of double-effect. If there is a threat to the woman carrying the child and she would lose her life, mental and physical, in order to give birth to a child, it would be okay in Natural Law ethics to terminate the pregnancy. This would be preserving what is natural, that is the life and health of the mother and still in accordance with Natural Law. Jason Dulle, a pro-life supporter, also agrees with the idea that the only exception should be if there is a threat to the mother’s life, saying that
If I was faced with the mother-or-the-baby decision I would personally save the life of my wife since there is more of an emotional attachment between her and I, and because she has an irreplaceable role in the family as my help-mate and the mother to our other children (assuming we had other...
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