is a debate that has been raging for several years. Some argue that abortion is
morally permissible and that women should be able to decide what happens to
their body. However, others argue that abortion is morally impermissible, and
that the fetus must be protected. In this paper, I will argue that abortion is
always morally permissible. I will be using Kantian ethics for my argument.
My argument begins with explaining the concept of
personhood. I will argue that the fetus is not a person. I will then explain
why this lack of personhood grants the woman the opportunity of choosing
whether to have an abortion or not. My paper will then go to explain why
prohibiting abortion will violate a woman’s rights. I will provide examples to develop
this violation of rights. The paper will then focus on respecting the fetus and
showing how the support of abortion rights does not involve the dehumanization
of the human fetus. I will end by tackling the potential objections of my
The central concept of Kantian ethics would be the
categorical imperative. It is used to evaluate the motivations of actions.
There are two formulations that comprise the categorical imperative. The first
one is the universalizability principle. This principle states that before
acting on an action, one should imagine a world where everyone would act upon
that action. If one cannot imagine a world like this then the action is
immoral. The action cannot be universalized. The second formulation is the
principle of humanity. This principle states that people should treat others as
ends and not merely as means. Humans should not be used as mere means because
we are rational and autonomous. We possess the ability to set our own goals,
and work towards them. This gives people a moral worth, which means that we
should not be manipulated, or manipulate other autonomous agents for our own
Countless pro-life Kantian philosophers argue that Kant’s
principle of humanity of the categorical imperative, which forbids treating individuals
as mere means, applies to fetuses and human embryos. However, Kant is clear
that his imperatives only applies to individuals with rationality. It is vital
to determine whether there is anything in Kant’s philosophy that permits calling
fetuses and embryos and as persons, because they lack any rationality. People
who are opposed of abortion will always turn to the premise that the fetus is a
person. They would say that the fetus obtains personhood at the moment of
conception. Kant believes that the possession of freedom cannot be correlated
with biological event. It begins in the mind with rationality and autonomy. I
do not believe the fetus is a person at all because they do not obtain rationality
at any point during the pregnancy.
if fetuses and embryos were recognized as a person, this alone would not cause
the moral impermissibility of abortion rights. This is primarily because
prohibiting abortion and convincing women to carry the fetus until birth,
violates the formula of humanity against them. No one person’s right to life should
require another person against their will to surrender to an unwanted invasion of
their body for supporting the former’s life. Women should not be used as a mere
instrument to serve for the survival of the fetus if the woman does not give their
consent. Forcing a woman to go through this unwanted pregnancy would involve
ignoring her rational and autonomous decision. A decision in a very personal
issue that will have a deep impact on the rest of her life. I believe that this
control over a woman’s life diminishes their sense of security. Their dignity
is ignored to satisfy the needs of other people. The people who are bound to
the idea that abortion is wrong. This violation of women’s rational decisions
ignores their goals and their own ends for their own lives. A vital part of
fulfilling the formula of humanity is to respect the ends of rational agents.
As humans, our duty is to respect the rationality of other humans.
emphasizes that actions are morally just if they are rational. This can be tied
with his principle of universality. The principle tries to make us see a world
where a particular action can be done anytime, anywhere. This principle can be
used to determine whether the choice to control one’s body is a rational thing
to do. I believe that I can see a world where every human being is able to
control their body at any point. This would make the action of controlling
one’s body morally right. If women are able to control their bodies, then they
are able to choose whether they want to have an abortion or not. Again, it is
our duty to respect other human being’s goals because they possess rationality.
argument of Kant’s philosophy offers a solid support to abortion rights. This
support, however, does not make it so that it allows for the complete
dehumanization of human fetuses. The fetus being a potential person should make
it deserve some level of moral worth and respect. The fetus may be not enough
to defend convincing a woman to go through a pregnancy, but it does offer her with
a moral responsibility to be careful with sexual acts that could bring an
unwanted fetus into existence. It also causes that the decision to have an
abortion should be approached in a caring and cautious manner.
philosophers would argue that the fetus has the potential of becoming a person.
The fetus will one day grow up and obtain the rationality that is needed to
become a person. This potentiality gives the fetus the right to life.