Is It Morally Permissible to Abort a Living Fetus?
Melinda becomes part of a Space Exploration team. She and twenty others embark on a journey to explore Planet Xenia. Upon arrival at the foreign planet, the space exploration team is attacked by violent aliens with large teeth and tentacles. Melinda and only three of her companions make it back to the escape pod safely. Shortly after their escape from the untamed planet, it is discovered that Melinda has been impregnated by one of the aliens. The team must decide whether it is morally permissible to abort the fetus. Both a utilitarian (act and rule) viewpoint and a Kantian Deontological standpoint must be analyzed to determine the outcome of this unborn fetus.
From a utilitarian point of view, the amount of pain and happiness decides whether the act is morally permissible. In reference to the pain and happiness of the fetus, an act utilitarian would act in favor of the abortion in order to avoid the pain and scrutiny that would accompany the life of a fetus that is half human and half alien. In accordance with the act utilitarian, a rule utilitarian, when acting on behalf of the fetus, would also vote for doing the abortion. This is because under this particular circumstance, the happiness of the group would be maximized by avoiding the unpredictable and risky outcome of birthing a half human, half alien child. The viewpoints stay consistent when considering the happiness of the mother and group. In this case, both the act and rule utilitarians would be in favor of the abortion for mostly the same reasons above; the amount of pain experienced by the mother would be decreased by having to give up her life to care for a baby that will inevitably be scrutinized and made fun of and the happiness of the group would be increased by avoiding the unpredictable actions and outcomes of giving birth to a creature such as a half human, half alien. Problems arise however, because a Utilitarian point of view completely avoids the abortion argument in general; it is wrong to kill humans, an unborn baby is a human, so abortion is wrong. A Utilitarian only looks at the total happiness that can be achieved by the action of abortion and ignores the ethical issue of taking the life of a human. Nevertheless, in both situations under these circumstances, aborting the baby would decrease pain and increase happiness for the baby, the mother and the space exploration group.
The opposing view on the subject is that from a Kantian deontological standpoint, one which puts emphasis on the duty of the individual in determining the moral worth of an action. In its most basic form when applied to this argument, the moral duty of a...