Modern Relativism & Abortion


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Introduction To Relativism & Abortion

The topic of the philosophical essay is modern relativism and abortion. The statement of the thesis is how modern relativism and abortion are linked to one another and how the two concepts match. The problem with the statement is that just because one might think that something is right or wrong does not mean that it is right or wrong for the other person.

The problem is to evaluate whether an absolute right or wrong in society is correct or it should be judged by the individual concerned.

The concept of modern relativism does not accept this belief that there is something called absolute right or wrong in a given situation. It is dependent on the individual to let him or her judge about the situation. The statement of solution is that moral relativism neglects such a belief which is reflected in the arguments related to that of abortion.

No doubt there are certain issues where everything is totally dependent on the choice and preference of an individual to decide what is right or wrong in any given situation. Modern relativism is a critical element that is prevailing in the postmodern thinking of modern society (Giersson and Margaret).

The politically correct viewpoints are seen as more open-minded by modern relativists.  Moral relativism tends to be less prescriptive in nature and more descriptive in their attitude and behaviour. The subjective grounding of relativism is such that it puts moral thoughts solely on each and every individual (Steffen).

Moral relativism occurs when subjective truth is replaced by objective truth. Subjective truth is based on a personal preference or a truth claimed by an individual. On the other side, subjective truth is based on the reality of the world which cannot be changed by internal feelings. For example, earth is round is a universal or objective truth (Donnelly, pp.107-129).
Moral relativism is predicted when there are claims of one own preference and is a component of subjective feelings.

Similar is the issue related to that of moral relativism and abortion. According to Christianity, the bible teaches that abortion is wrong and believes in objective truth and considers protecting innocent life. But moral relativism is that it claims to be morally neutral.

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Morality is not about imposing of moral values on others but means sharing wisdom and giving reasons to others so that they believe you (Moral Relativism & Abortion).

According to relativism, there should be a right for all to decide what is right and what is wrong. It is not necessary that the practice of abortion is always wrong according to one person and right according to another (Nassehi, Saake and Mayr, pp.129-156).

This depends on the choice of the individual to undergo an abortion or not. “The issue ultimately involved is whether there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of, man; and the answer to the question is decisive for one’s view of the nature and destiny of man” given by Richard M. Weaver.

This is so as it is the right of a woman to decide what she wants to do it her body and what not. Every human being has the right to own his or her own body and fetus is a part of a woman’s body so she has the right to decide whether she wants an abortion or not (Abortion and Moral Relativism).

In addition to this, it can be argued that the concept of moral relativism in relation to abortion holds true in many aspects (Harman). This is so as there should be no such law that frames policies against abortion because this only creates unfairness upon execution. This is so that those who can carry on the process illegally can do it safely while others have to bear the children they cannot afford to grow.

This problem of moral relativism and abortion needs to be solved as there are various issues regarding this. Views regarding this are different for different people and everyone holds different views. It is true that one woman should have the right to abortion and make her decision on her own as she herself is also a human being and she also has the right to live freely and according to her own choice (Abortion is moral relativism at its most lethal: Part 1).


Books and journals

  • Donnelly, John. “Development Ethics and Moral Engagement: Some Political and Ethical Dilemmas in Development Research”. Studies in Qualitative Methodology. 8 (2007):107-129.
  • Giersson, Heimir and Holmgren, Margaret. Ethical Theory: A Concise Anthology. Broadview Press, 2000.
  • Harman, Gilbert. Explaining Value and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Kegode, George. Abortion and Morality Debate in the African Context: A Philosophical Enquiry. African Books Collective, 2010.
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