Abortion: John Rawls vs. Robert Nozick

Categories: Abortion

Abortion is a complicated debate that has been discussed throughout the years. When does the fetus become an actual person? Is it morally right to terminate a pregnancy? These are some of the questions that many females ask themselves when they are thinking about getting an abortion. This debate used to be a social issue, but situations and people change. Now abortion has become a political and moral issue, as well. An abortion can be classified as removing or terminating a fetus or embryo during pregnancy.

Abortion can happen in two ways: medication or in-clinic. A Medication Abortion means that you take tow pills that will soon cause your pregnancy to end. The first pill will be taken at a health care facility and the second can be taken in your own home. This procedure takes about 2-3 days. The other procedure is called the In- Clinic Abortion. Doctors use medical equipment and suction to remove the pregnancy. This usually takes about 15 minutes.

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Deciding whether to go forward with an operation like this is a difficult decision. these women are asked to talk to nurses and doctors about if this is the right option and having an exam to see if you are qualified for one. In this discussion over abortion there are three main classifications of people: pro-life, pro-choice, and intermediate. Pro-life believes that abortion should be banned to maintain human life and do not support pregnant women that terminate their fetus or embryo.

Pro-choice supporters believe that abortion should be legalized.

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This is because women should always have a choice in the matter whether they want to be mothers or not. Intermediate supporters think that abortion should be legalized but should have regulations. These regulations are there to help pregnant women who were impregnated because of rape or incest, Also, for pregnancy that will be dangerous for the mother involved. The mother, and only the mother, has that decision to sacrifice her life for her baby or not. In my paper I will evaluate John Rawls and Robert Nozick’s points of view on abortion and my view of abortion.

John Rawls was a Professor of Philosophy from Harvard University who died in November 24, 2002 in Lexington, Massachusetts. He is an American political philosopher. He is best known for his work in A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism. In A Theory of Justice, he makes a claim that without equality we will not all be free. This means that he believes everyone has should have the same rights under the same law. There should not be loopholes where government official or people of wealth can use their money to get ahead in life. John Rawls discusses the idea of “a veil of ignorance”, where everyone was stripped away from their social status and began society a new and different person. People would not know what privileges they would get. Wouldn’t you want to have, then, a society where everyone is equal? “Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise, laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.

Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason, justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. Being first virtues of human activities, truth and justice are uncompromising.” (Gensler 2004, 229-230) From this quote in A Theory of Justice explains Rawlsians think that it would be best for the society to change our laws and make them more equal and fitted towards everyone. People would not have to worry about how their social standards would change and they would be looked at in a different light. He believes that we should think about the greater good in society and how that will affect them in the long run. Furthermore, he wanted to propose an experiment where citizens of different privileges came together. When the citizens would come together, they would not know what position they would be getting. They could be a rich doctor, a poor family, a high standard government official, a pregnant woman, who wants an abortion, or the fetus that is in the pregnant women's womb.

He defends the idea of “justice as fairness” as equal rights and equality. (Gensler 2004, 229) In this book he talks about the “original position”, which is an experiment that John Rawls would conduct. It is about how people would choose to live in a certain society, but they do not know what position they would be, “a veil of ignorance”. (Gensler 2004, 230) If John Rawls was to make a claim about abortion, he would give everyone this example about how you would feel if you became the fetus or embryo. How would you feel if your mother was going to have an abortion? “Since each desires to protect his interests, no one has a reason to acquiesce in an enduring loss for himself in order to bring about a greater net balance of satisfaction. In the absence of strong and lasting benevolent impulses, a rational man would not accept a basic structure merely because it maximized the algebraic sum of advantages irrespective of its permanent effects on his own basic rights and interests. Thus, it seems that the principle of utility is incompatible with the conception of social cooperation among equals for mutual advantage”. (Gensler 2004,229) This goes into a deeper explanation about how it would be better to have a government that everyone has the same rights and fairness in a community. If John Rawls had to relate abortion to his theory, he would describe in detail about how the fetus or embryo does not have a choice in the matter that involves it being suctioned or terminated in the womb. Rawlins would say that it would be against equal rights that the baby does not have a say.

Robert Nozick was an American philosopher, who is best known for his contributions in political philosophy. As well as John Rawls, Robert Nozick attended Harvard University. While teaching at Harvard he published his most famous book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. “Not all actual situations are generated in accordance with the principle of justice in acquisition and the principle of justice in transfer. Some people steal from others, or defraud them, or enslave them, seizing their product and preventing them from living as they choose, or forcibly exclude others from competing in exchanges. The existence of past injustice raises the third major topic under justice in holdings: the rectification of injustice in holdings. If past injustice has shaped present holdings in various ways, what now, if anything, ought to be done to rectify these injustices? I do not know of a thorough or theoretically sophisticated treatment of such issues. Idealizing greatly, let us suppose theoretical investigation will produce a principle of rectification”. (Gensler 2004, 235-236) In his political physiological book, Robert Nozick believes in “minimal state; to protect the rights of individual, a state's authority to regulate private property out to be severely restricted”. (Gensler 2004, 235) Robert Nozick explains minimal state as having the state not have much power anymore. They will be limited to only being in control of police protection, national defense, and courts of law. If they are necessary during theft or violence that is when the citizens need the state. In addition, a minimal state will be in control of keeping the state equal. Robert Nozick thinks that citizens should have the same amount of income, becoming equal. The same amount of income means that everyone will have to pay the same amount of taxes, have the same health care, and education. Making people have the same rights as everyone else, making no one greater than the rest.

The entitlement theory of justice in distribution is historical; whether a distribution is just depends upon how it came about. In contrast, current time-slice principles of justice hold that the justice of a distribution is determined by how things are distributed (who has what) as judged by some structural principle(s) of just distribution. A utilitarian who judges between any two distributions by seeing which has the greater sum of utility and, if the sums tie, applies some fixed equality criterion to choose the more equal distribution, would hold a current time-slice principle of justice. According to a current time-slice principle, all that needs to be looked at, in judging the justice of a distribution, is who ends up with what”. (Gensler 2004, 236) From his text in Justice and Goods Robert Nozick would be in support of pro-choice, where the mother gets to choose if she wants to go forward with abortion or not. He believes in self-ownership, which means that people own themselves and no one can tell them what to do with their own body. He would see abortion as being the mother’s choice and no one else. These women have the right to choose if they want to become mothers in this time in their life. If they do not, then these women should not be forced into a big decision that will change their life forever.

Now I will be discussion my view of abortion and if I think abortion should be legalized or not. In my opinion abortion should be legalized but have restriction to it. I genuinely believe that abortion should only be used in certain circumstances. Judith Jarvis Thomson gave a great explanation about how abortion could be used in this situation. The example is called “the violinist case”, “It sounds plausible. But imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself in bed with a famous unconscious violinist. He has a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood. The director of the hospital tells you, “Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you—we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist now is plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment and can safely be unplugged from you.””. (Gensler 2004, 267) This is a great example of a situation where abortion should be legalized. When you are raped you are physical assaulted without any consent. You should not be forced by the government to have a baby that you did not want in the beginning. If this law is passed you are taking away the right of a women to choose what she wants. Also, if a mom is not equipped for the responsibility of taking care of a child that child would not have a good life. What would be the point in bringing he/she into the world if he/she is going to suffer. Many children go into foster care because their mother did not want them, so they gave them up, or are in jail, or was abusive towards the kid so the kid was taken away. Having an abortion is an extensive idea and it is not a simple decision.

If abortion was to ever be illegal the government would have to make sure that the mothers who would have wanted an abortion were taken care of. Government should make sure that these mothers are provided life coaches, like an AA coach, to help mothers having a difficult time with parenting. Most mothers after having a baby at a young age do not know how to nourish the baby, they are still kids in a way also. These pregnant women should be required to take a class before having their child. In these classes they will describe how the mother will be feeling, how to take care of your body and the baby's body during pregnancy, what the mother should attain before giving birth, or how to take care of your baby when the pregnancy is over.

Updated: Apr 21, 2021
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Abortion: John Rawls vs. Robert Nozick. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/abortion-john-rawls-vs-robert-nozick-essay

Abortion: John Rawls vs. Robert Nozick essay
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