The topic I’m going to be talking about is abortion. Abortion is the intentional termination of human pregnancy, usually performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, or during the first trimester. There are two sides to which people take; pro-life and pro-choice. Pro life is opposing abortion and pro-choice is supporting legalized abortion. I’m going to analyze and apply Natural Law theory and Moral autonomy to the topic of abortion. Natural Law theory states that everything has a natural function that serves to achieve a desirable end or goal. It encompasses all of the values that we naturally seek as goals and treat as goods. Anything that would throw this off would be considered bad or unnatural. Life has a natural value in itself, and according to the Natural Law theory we should try to maintain this good. Natural Law theory has four characteristics in which nature is looked at as being; rational, ordered, hierarchical and purposive. In this case, most women have a goal that involves having a family. Women are naturally able procreate, meaning not having her child/children for some reason would be considered unnatural.
Even further, intentionally killing the “child” would be even worse. This goes against Natural Law theory. This would argue that it is morally wrong. What if a woman was raped by someone she didn’t know and became pregnant? Since we have a moral obligation to care for ourselves and others, we are prohibited from acting in ways that harm innocent people. Sexual harassment is not natural, or morally right, so should she be having this child who came about from unnatural instances? I don’t believe so. I believe that she should be allowed to have an abortion because if she doesn’t want to raise a kid who brings bad memories, or is unhappy with the fact that she created life with someone who she didn’t love. However, I can see why someone would argue the opposite. When she finds out she is pregnant, and decides to have an abortion at a later trimester, the fetus inside of her is pretty far along. That is killing “someone”, but if she feels uncomfortable with how the child came about, she can’t even have the option of abortion unless it is legal. This leads me to the next theory, moral autonomy. Autonomy is the ability to be able to think and do for yourself. It is about being an individual and being able to do whatever you please. Kant claims it as “self-directed” (page 7, God and Moral Autonomy, James Rachel).
I believe this argues pro-choice. Using the same example as before, the woman in the situation has the chance and the choice to have an abortion because she has the right to think for herself, and do for herself what she pleases. Is this still considered morally right? Some people would still argue no, because you are potentially killing “someone”. However, some people abuse the right to have an abortion. You know what you may be getting into when you have unprotected sex, and people tend to use abortion as their plan B. I do not believe this is right, but it still does fall under moral autonomy, being able to do as you please because you are your own moral agent. On the topic of abortion, a weakness in Natural Law theory is that someone can have a child with someone they don’t love. Love is a natural thing, that applies to almost everything in nature. But if a woman was having a child with a man she didn’t love, but was instead forced to have sex with, should she really be having this baby? A weakness in moral autonomy is that people can use the fact that they are their own person, with their own thoughts, in order to make morally wrong decisions.
Someone can use this an excuse to rob a bank because they may think that since they can think for themselves and make their own decision, then this is the decision they want to make. Cultural relativism is the understanding that different cultures have different norms. It is the principle that an individual human’s beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual’s own culture. Moral skepticism is the theory that moral knowledge is impossible, that no-one person has knowledge about morals. I believe that a person would be lead to believe that this topic relates to cultural relativism. Different cultures allow young girls to have children and get married at a young age, and that is just understand that different cultures have different norms. In India, if you’re married at 14, and you have a child at 15, that is the cultural norm. However, in America, having a child at 15 is seen as socially unacceptable since our norm isn’t as young. Our cultures are different and it is all a matter of accepting that. In all, Natural Law theory and moral autonomy can support two sides to the issue on abortion. Natural Law theory says that killing is unnatural, but moral autonomy is the ability to do and think for yourself. I believe this can relate to cultural relativism in believing that different cultures have different norms.