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Utilitarianism on the right to a child. By: Ebun, Zoe, Dan & Daisy. What is the right to a child?. There is an on going debate about whether everyone has the right to a child especially with infertility treatment

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utilitarianism on the right to a child

Utilitarianism on the right to a child

By: Ebun, Zoe, Dan & Daisy

what is the right to a child
What is the right to a child?
  • There is an on going debate about whether everyone has the right to a child especially with infertility treatment
  • Although it is said that in most countries apart from China, not matter what age, race, religion etc a person is, they have the right to a child
  • However, does everyone has the right to a child? When looking at laws about infertility treatment it seems otherwise.
how can utilitarianism apply to the right to a child debate
How can Utilitarianism apply to the right to a child debate?
  • Laws such as the Embryology Act (1990) “A woman should not be provided with infertility services unless account has been taken of welfare of any child who may be born as a result of the treatment or any other child who might be affected by the birth” clearly take a utilitarian approach towards infertility treatment as it focuses on minimising the pain of every one in that situation and reduces the possibility of that situation proving worse for other people.
  • With Utilitarianism it is very hard to judge the consequence of a situation as no one has the omniscience to know exactly how a circumstance will unfold and so with infertility laws a woman’s past is scrutinised in order to judge whether she is a good mother. Is that fair?
how can utilitarianism apply to the right to a child debate1
How can Utilitarianism apply to the right to a child debate?

Bentham:

  • Teleological- if the consequence is more important then, the act itself must not be considered meaning that it might be seen that having a child would be the right to do as the consequence is a happy and positive one.
  • Hedonistic- If the aim is to seek pleasure and reduce pain then it would also be right to have a child as the person has achieved their aim in seeking pleasure
  • Act Utilitarian- if each situation must be assessed separately then there cannot be a general rule about infertility which is why many women are scrutinised
  • Principle of Utility “greatest good for the greatest number”: is having a child the greatest good for the greatest number, it may seem so as the mother gets her child and the baby gets a loving family, but will the mother be able to look after the child?
how can utilitarianism apply to the right to a child debate2
How can Utilitarianism apply to the right to a child debate?

Mill:

  • Higher and lower pleasures: As it is not clearly defined exactly what is a higher pleasure, having the right to a child could be seen as obtaining justice, something stressed in Mill’s Utilitarianism or attaining some new knowledge about life.
  • Rule Utilitarianism “act as if the rules, if generally followed, would provide the greatest balanced of pleasure over pain” : If providing fertility treatment created a perfect balance of pleasure over pain, with more families being more happy that those disappointed or in abusive situations then, the right to a child should be a law.
the problem with applying utilitarianism to ethical issues
The problem with applying Utilitarianism to ethical issues
  • The biggest problem with Utilitarianism is the problem of judging the future. Can the consequence of anything ever be certain enough to be used a basis of a law? No one can every really know.
  • Another issue with Utilitarianism is whether increasing pleasure and reducing pain is a good way to solve situations, pleasure and pain can mean different things for different people.
  • Lastly, there is great difficulty in calculating and working out both forms of Utilitarianism. The hedonic calculus can be very tricky in working out as many people are not able to remove personal beliefs from calculating the consequence. With Mill, it is difficult to work out what exactly is a higher order as it further complicates exactly what pleasure is.