The Immorality of Abortion from Deontology and Divine Command Perspectives Essay

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The immorality of Abortion from Deontology and Divine Command Perspectives

I. Introduction

The moral question of abortion is whether one is morally justified in killing a child growing in the womb. In section 1, I will summarize the argument. In section 2, I will explain my view on the moral question. In section 3, I will discuss two objections to my view. In section 4, I will provide a response to these objections. In section 5, I will conclude the paper with a summary of each section.

The argument involved in the issue of abortion comes down to two points of view. The point of view of those who oppose abortion is that people have a duty to protect, nourish and support life: they have no right to end or prevent life from happening. The point of view of those who support abortion is that people have a right to do with their own bodies what they see fit. Thus, the argument is over whether the issue is about one’s duty to protect and nurture life or whether the issue is about rights. Rights vs. Duty is the crux of the issue.

II. Explaining My View

My view is that men and women have a duty to sustain, provide for and nurture life in all its manifestations but especially when it comes to human life because man is made in the image and likeness of God according to the Christian view of life. However, even from a non-religious standpoint one can argue in defense of preserving all human life out of respect for natural morality or natural law (Plato; Pope). The deontological perspective also suggests that one has a duty to preserve life. Additionally, the argument to support my view is that the function of sex is procreative. Thus, to prevent this function is to corrupt or pervert the natural order. Refusal of the natural order is morally unjustified; it is especially unjustified since God condemns Onan in the Old Testament for refusing to comply with His imperative that men and women multiply. In the New Testament, the Epistle of Timothy states that “women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Tim 2:15). Women thus have a divine command to bear children in the Christian tradition. In short, both natural order and divine command support the argument against abortion. The natural duty of parents to children also suggests that abortion goes against the moral law from a deontological perspective.

III. Objections

The strongest two objections that can be made to my view come from those who argue that abortion may be acceptable in certain circumstances, such as instances of rape, in which the mother does not give consent to the sex act and thus is not responsible for playing a role in the procreative act. In short she has a right to terminate the pregnancy since it was not her intention to conceive. This argument is best summarized in Thomson’s violinist analogy.

Thomson compares pregnancy via rape to the following scenario: a world-renowned violinist is sick and needs a 9-months-long blood transfusion to survive. A woman is abducted off the street and brought to the violinist and told she must give blood to the musician for the next nine months whether she likes it or not:…

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…in her womb. Justice requires the service of life; justice demands punishment of the rapist; justice does not demand that consent to sustain life be given once life is already conceived. If natural law rested upon human consent, nature would reject conception in such cases. It does not. The duty of the parent remains. The condition is to be pitied but nonetheless supported.

V. Conclusion

The question of whether abortion is moral or immoral is situated in the question of whether the issue at stake is one of a duty towards life or a matter of human rights. The issue at hand is one of life, but it has been politicized by people who believe it is an issue of rights. One has a natural, moral and divine duty to preserve, sustain, nurture and shelter human life. From the standpoint of virtue ethics, deontology and natural law, sex is naturally a procreative act and to deny or prevent the functionality of the sex organs is to commit abortion, whether pre- or post-conception. Abortion goes against the divine command of God, and is unjustified from a deontological perspective, because men and women have a duty to protect and nurture human life: the woman bears the bulk of this responsibility for the first 9 months and the man bears the bulk of the responsibility once the child is born are requires shelter, food, support, and stability as it grows. The objection to this argument is that people have a right to choose whether they want to support life; but they have this right only in their imaginations: they have a duty to protect life even when not consented to. A person who refuses to submit…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Korman, Daniel. Learning from Arguments An Introduction to Philosophy. Draft, 2018.

Marquis, Don. "Why abortion is immoral." The Journal of Philosophy 86.4 (1989): 183-202.

Plato. The Dialouges, vol. 1. Online Library of Liberty. http://lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com/titles/111/Plato_0131-01_EBk_v6.0.pdf

Pope, Stephen J. “Natural Law in Catholic Social Teachings.”  https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/boisi/pdf/f09/Pope_Natural_Law_In.pdf

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "A Defense of Abortion." Philosophy & Public Affairs (1971): 47-66.


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