Thebirds
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Can anyone help me with what Utilitarians would say about abortion? Thank you
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edgarcats
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http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rsposse...onpresentation

http://www.rsrevision.com/Alevel/eth...sm/applied.htm

http://www.utilitarian.org/abortion.html
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emma7645
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Greatest happiness for greatest number, therefore who is greatest number? Mother, father, relatives? It depends on their emotions about the abortion. Does their happiness outweigh the foetus' pain?
The relatives may come to regret their actions and so the action's fecundity/purity is questionable.
Put it through Bentham's hedonic calculus - extent: family, friends, foetus. duration - short, but long after effects. etc

Can't think of much else off the top of my head but hope this helps
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chocolatesauce
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They'd say do whatever makes you and your partner or family etc happy. The foetus is just one person.
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andragonous
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The only objection that I can think one might have abortion is that it does prevent whatever pleasure the foetus may have experience should it have been born....
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JonnyD
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Bentham would look at the quantity of pleasure. If the happiness created from having the abortion outweighed the potential happiness of having the child, then the abortion would be moral. Remember Bentham doesn't care about the quality of pleasure, so the happiness created from a woman using abortion to go on a particular Channel 5 reality show is no different from the pain avoided by a young, pregnant rape victim.

Mill would be more focused on the quality of pleasure. Using the previous example, because the urge to avoid pain is greater than the urge for pleasure, the abortion for the rape victim would be more moral than the abortion for the other woman.

Singer would probably be fine with abortion as an unborn fetus cannot have a preference either way.
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Everglow
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(Original post by JonnyD)
Bentham would look at the quantity of pleasure. If the happiness created from having the abortion outweighed the potential happiness of having the child, then the abortion would be moral. Remember Bentham doesn't care about the quality of pleasure, so the happiness created from a woman using abortion to go on a particular Channel 5 reality show is no different from the pain avoided by a young, pregnant rape victim.

Mill would be more focused on the quality of pleasure. Using the previous example, because the urge to avoid pain is greater than the urge for pleasure, the abortion for the rape victim would be more moral than the abortion for the other woman.

Singer would probably be fine with abortion as an unborn fetus cannot have a preference either way.
The points you have raised about Bentham are good to use when criticising his hedonistic utilitarianism. As far as AQA exams go, this is the sort of argument you would put into your AO2 question.

Mill put particular emphasis on the Harm Principle which says an individual should have the right to do as they please so long as they don't [physically*] harm anyone else in doing so. Abortion violates this principle as a life is actually being taken in abortion. Mill discouraged abortion and said that society has 'both a personal and public obligation' to discourage it in whatever ways possible. Only then can we realise our true liberty.

* It is often claimed that the Harm Principle is applicable to mental harm as well, but this was not the case for Mill's original definition. This is relative to the era he was in where mental issues were not understood very well. A modern definition of the Harm Principle would probably include mental harm as well though.
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Huskaris
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I think utilitarianism would not support abortion as the negative utility for the unborn child being aborted would outweigh the positive utility of the convenience for the mother/father etc.
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