Mill on Abortion
J.S. Mill isknown for his book On Liberty which advocates for several principlesfor the society. Mill has two objectives in his arguments first isthe primacy of freedom of expression as a political valueuncompromisable or traded off with other values. Second, is defendingthe rights of personal independence with the right to act in acertain way without been coerced. Mills argument rests mainly onmoral criticism upon other actions. In the essay it will explore hisviews on abortion and the argument carried in his work[ CITATION Sta09 l 1033 ].
Mill is wellknown for the harm principle stating that individuals act as theywish as long as their actions do not harm others. Utilitarianprinciples refer to the notion that an action should be judged itterms of its effect on an individual and how the action reducessuffering or maximizes on pleasure[ CITATION Joh69 l 1033 ]. Millsstand on abortion was subject to the harm principle in terms harm toothers. He argues that even though we have liberty on our bodies thefact remains that if the decision harms anyone then it is immoral.Abortion is the process of ridding oneself from a fetus. It is mostlyillegal in many countries as it is mainly described as murder as thefetus is alive. In relation to Mills theory abortion is an individualdecision in which it affects only one person, but in reality itdirectly affects the society. By committing such an act it strips thesociety of an additional person to enhance growth of the society.
Abortion as asubject has been debated over the years but it mainly falls on themoral perspectives of individuals. The Roman Catholic Church isagainst abortion which has seen them face challenges in terms ofmoral situations. Many argue that certain situations allow forabortion for example when a 15 year old is raped and becomespregnant. Morally, the child has no capability to raise a child andthe traumatic experience may affect their mental health. Analyzingthis situation according to Mills theory harm principle then havingan abortion is the best choice. Another exception for abortion is tosave the life of a mother if the child they carry poses a threat totheir life.
The rule ofutilitarianism states that we are not the best judges of our actionsand we should create and live by moral values. Individuals mustunderstand what actions are morally wrong and may cause a great painand morally right actions that provide pleasure. Abortion cantherefore be defined as a moral position and in his argument we findMill agreeing on the moral principle as an individual position. Inthis case his arguments show no disagreement in terms of abortion butwith interpreting his arguments he encompasses moral judgment of thesituation[ CITATION Sta09 l 1033 ].
The argument onthe moral positioning of abortion is based on individual principleand it is not clear how it can be judged if the action does notdirectly harm others. Controversies of abortion in terms of moralityhave been stretched with legal issues in which it is illegal in manycountries. In the US the anti abortion bill has caused lots ofcontroversy with many states making it illegal. From Mills argumentsunderstanding the harm principle extend to doing what is right andacceptable to the society thus he neither agrees nor disagrees onabortion[ CITATION Joh69 l 1033 ].
Mill, John Stuat. On Liberty. London: Longman, Roberts & Green, 1869. Online.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "The History of Utilitarianism." 27 March 2009. Stanford Edu. online article. 12 May 2014.