The Choice of Parenthood: Abortion and Protecting Autonomy


This paper attempts to address the morality of abortion using a Kantian perspective on the significance of autonomy, a property that all rational beings subscribe to. I reject the oft argued notion that the ethicality of abortion is contingent on the ability to determine whether the fetus possesses the right to life. Instead, I claim that denying women the choice to obtain an abortion disrespects their autonomy, hence requiring them to take up motherhood against their will. I then discuss how Kant’s framework for morality is demonstrated heavily in the legal concept of ‘human rights', and yet this is not reflected in a substantial portion of current abortion laws. The anticipated criticism of my argument is also addressed later in the paper. The resulting conclusion is that Kant’s theory of morality validates a woman’s freedom of choice to obtain an abortion.

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