Ethics Essay - Rights to a child. 20th January
AO1: Explain how a follower of Kantian ethics might approach the issues surrounding the right to a child.
Immanuel Kant was a respected ethicist of the 18th Century. He is known mostly for his works on the ‘Groundwork of metaphysics of morals’ and it is within this work Kant proposes the Categorical Imperative, an absolute, deontological, objective and secular approach to making moral decisions. Kant’s theory is based on the principal that the only thing which is truly good is a good will or duty. He continues to say that we must endeavour to use our ...view middle of the document...
If one classes an embryo as a person this rejects Kant’s second formulation as the moral agent is led to question whether the potential murder of the other embryos is justified in order to create one life. IVF also goes against Kant’s first formulation, “Always act in such a way that you can also will the action of your maxim could be a universal law.” In Vitro Fertilisation is not a method that can be universalised as not all people who wish to receive the treatment can afford it nor can the government afford to pay for it. Following this a Kantian ethicist would not undergo IVF in order to have a child or believe that this is a viable option.
Artificial Insemination by Husband is another method. A follower of Kantian ethics’ concerns with this method may be that the father might be being used as a means to an end. This criticism is pertinent when one considers that the sperm can be frozen for the future; his sperm may be used later without his consent. This violates the second formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative and so a follower of Kantian ethics would condemn this approach. However a conflict arises if one feels that it is their duty to procreate in which case the moral agent must question whether the second formulation applies to their situation, and if no formulation is being violated one may approach this method in a positive manner.
Artificial Insemination by Donor may also be a method considered when approaching the issues surrounding the right to a child. A Kantian ethicist may see that this method can be universalised although AID is not suitable for all fertility problems. One could also argue that the couple are treating the donor purely as a means but the fact that s/he is paid diminishes this argument. It is likely that Kant would not be concerned with the ‘rights’ of the unborn child, so any criticisms regarding this would be negated.
Another issue a Kantian ethicist may come across when approaching the issues surrounding the right to a child is who has the right to a child and who does not. For example, a Kantian ethicist may take the view that homosexuals do not have the right to a child as one can argue that we wouldn’t be treating the child as an ends if it was creates for a homosexual couple as the child may suffer in life because of this.
Similarly, followers of Kantian ethics may also view that single parents do not have the right to a child as the child wouldn’t be treated as an ends but as a means to please the parents desire or need to have a child. The child may not be treated as an ends due to the fact that the single parent may not be capable of raising a child on her own as the parent may struggle to provide both financial and emotional support.
AO2: “The right to a child is an...