Thursday, April 26, 2012

[PL 431] Abortion and Crime

Suppose that the hypothesis presented in the following clip is true:

Based on this hypothesis, one could argue as follows:
  1. The morally right action is that which brings about the best consequences for everyone concerned.
  2. Abortion of "unwanted" children leads to reduction in crime, which is the best consequence for society as a whole.
  3. Therefore, aborting "unwanted" children is the morally right thing to do.
What do you make of this argument? Are consequentialists committed to this line to reasoning? 


  1. This argument is tough because the best counsequence for an unborn child is for the child to have a chance at life. I feel that though they may have been "unwanted" by thier soon to be birth mother and father there are plenty of people in the country looking to adopt. I feel that the correlation between abortion and lower crime rates is fallacious because its main backng is just numbers. If there is less 20 year old then yes there will be less crime but using abortion as the means to achieve that doesnt make it morally right. Everyone wants lower crime rates, but many people would not change thier stance on abortion just to achieve it. They would look for alternate methods such as beefed up law enforcement tactics and better society awareness.

  2. A consequentialist only cares about the outcome and not the route that one takes to get there. Therefore, even though some people may oppose abortion, the fact that allowing it actually reduced the crime rate would actually lead many consequentialists to support abortion. However, it is also important to note that the study may be flawed because there are many variables that are involved. In particular, perhaps crime rates decreased because the education system improved. Moreover, perhaps psychiatry has developed more to assist those people who need counseling in order to be persuaded not to commit crimes. As one can see, the decrease in crimes rates may not be the direct result of abortion but rather a mixture of all of these different factors. Therefore, the conclusion of the argument, which makes abortion permissible just because crimes rates decreased, is not necessarily true.

  3. I think the implications of accepting the argument presented here would be disastrous to society.

    First, if we accept the premises that the morally correct thing to do is what brings about the best consequences to everyone concerned, and that sometimes the moral thing to do is to "reduce" the amount of unwanted children in society because of the reduction in crime, then there is no reason to reject the argument that ending someone's life for the greater good is the moral thing to do.

    Clearly, the abortion of unwanted kids entails taking away their ability to live. In other words,if the abortion does not take place, the kids will retain their ability to live. So if it is morally permissible to limit the unwanted baby's ability to live for the greater good (for the best consequences of everyone concerned), then it is morally permissible to limit any human being's ability to live (its OK to kill) if that action will bring about the best consequences to everyone concerned.

    I highly doubt the proponents of this hypothesis are willing to take the argument that far.

  4. I believe that from that point of view of doing what is better for the general public, than yes abortion is seen as a tool to prevent unwanted births that could result in child being raised in conditions that could lead him to a life of "crime".
    Statistically they're many studies that show how having a early pregnancies affects a mother's( or father's) life negatively due to the fact that the burden of raising a child usually inhibits the parents from completing school,or working which in the longer run can cause them to raise a child in "sub par"conditions which could lead to a rougher life because of an unstable environment.
    Parents that raise a child in more stable conditions can usually provide more for the child causing a difference in upbringing which may provide them with a higher probability of a better future

  5. I don't think that abortion is an action that should be thought of in terms of what's best for everyone concerned. It should only be thought of in terms of what is best for the unborn child. Essentially in the video they implied that it was better for a child to not be born at all then into an unwanted family. They also said that abortion equated to reduction in crime and because of that a consequentialist would agree with this because the end result was something positive - relative to the majority.

  6. Based on this argument, the woman carrying the child would be concerned in determining what the best consequences are best for those involved. What if the child is wanted by the mother but not wanted by the father, it would therefore be unwanted by someone. But would it be okay for that father to push that mother down the stairs as a form of killing the embryo/fetus--a cheaper abortion? That would be a crime (possible homicide) and not in the best interest of the mother--who would probably be hurt as well and have the emotional trauma of losing the child she wanted, therefore the consequences would not be in the best interest for everyone involved. It would not be beneficial for this to be allowed in a society because then mothers who don't want their daughter to be pregnant could push them down stairs and then when would it stop. Who is the child unwanted by--I think that is major factor.


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