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“Ethical relativism is the theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one’s culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practiced.” (Markkula Center at SCU) Ethical relativism is based more on morals and as we know not everyone shares the same morals. As women we have always been questioned by men, family, friends, and even other women of the choices we choose. Our choices are never our own it seems. Mainly when it comes to the decision making of pro-life and pro-choice. In this paper I am going to discuss and destroy the idea that relativism is, or could be an accurate theory, as well as discussing a major issue right now in women’s autonomy. Which is the pro-life and pro-choice decision. In discussing this issue, I will elaborate on the pro-life option as well as the pro-choice option and the issues that arise when making that choice.
Relativism is not an accurate way of looking at life nor handling a situation. A single person cannot be right all the time, nor can he/she be wrong all of the time. If relativism is solely based upon morality then there’s no-way we can think that it is practical, or that it is even the slightest bit reasonable. The reason why we can understand that, is because we as people do not share the same morals always. What might work for one person’s morals may not work for the other. There are two kinds of ethical relativism and the one I will be referring to in this paper is individual relativism, which is often referred to as ethical subjectivism (Shafer-Landau 293). Much like relativism, ethical subjectivism is not the same and actually varies from person to person. Every person that has a different view on situations, we were all raised differently with different morals. Just because something is morally right for one individual does not mean that it is morally right for another individual and that alone destroys relativism all together.
There are a few different criticisms against relativism one of them is moral infallibility, which is being incapable of being wrong or incapable of error (Shafer-Landau 294). Whereas, us humans know that it is absolutely impossible! As stated previously, it is impossible to be right all of the time. Even if someone believes he/she is right all the time, others will clearly disagree at some point, thus crushing moral infallibility. While there are many people who share similar morals, not everyone does which causes us to find it hard to believe that relativism is a real thing. For example, if one person’s morals state that it is okay to kill someone who killed their family member whether it was accident or intentional, does not mean that it is okay or even humane for that person’s family to kill the individual who murdered their family member. In reality, we would allow the justice system to sort things of that nature out. Another way to prove that relativism just simply does not exist is through moral equivalence. Moral equivalence is when an individual think’s that one thing is morally equivalent to something else (Shafer-Landau 296). Nothing could possibly be morally equivalent to another thing, if that was the case, we would live in a very chaotic world filled with much more violence and more unexplainable issues. If relativism is true than a soldier killing someone in the line of duty while defending his self, country, and his people would be morally equal to an individual killing a random person on the street just because they felt the need. That individual that killed someone randomly cannot be compared, nor can it even be morally equivalent to the soldier defending his country. Moral infallibility and moral equivalence both show that relativism is just not an accurate theory, due to many of examples and suggestions that show otherwise.
A major topic right now in women’s autonomy and the discussion of pro-life and pro-choice. As a woman, I believe that women should have the choice between carrying their child full term or terminating the pregnancy. There are many reasons why a woman should be able to have the final say in what goes on with her body; because despite what society says, women do not have it near as easy as men do in this world. The women are the nurturers and also the ones who put in most of the time to raise the children, but what happens when the man decides he wants to up and leave out of the picture? The woman has to then figure out a way to take care of her children, feed her children and herself, as well as make enough money to support their needs and bills, etc. A poll was taken in 2004 that consisted roughly about 1200 women post abortion, and 23% of the abortions that happen that year were from women that could not afford a baby (Guttmacher Institute, US Abortion Statistics). What about the young ladies, young women as well as the older women that end up pregnant due to being raped, should they have the option of pro-life or pro-choice? I believe they most definitely should. Some women cannot go through childbirth due to their bodies, which means they could actually die during the process. Why should we take the chance of killing two lives? There was a poll taken in Florida in 2018 for all the abortions that took place which was a total of 70,083 and 1.48% of the women stated it was due to a threat of their physical health (Guttmacher Institute, US Abortion Statistics). There are some women that do accidentally end up pregnant despite taking precautions and cannot take care of herself much less a child. When taking these choices away from women, I believe that the maternal suicide rate will rise in women, and the death rate will rise in newborns that did not make it during childbirth due to the woman hiding the fact that she was pregnant and not seeking help. There are many issues that I feel will surface when that choice is completely taken away from women. Society says that women should not be able to make a choice for their unborn child, but what society fails to understand is that the option between those two choices could be life or death for the woman. I truly believe that women should have the final say in what happens to her life and her body, because she knows what is best for herself, despite what society says about choosing pro-choice.
- Santa Clara University. “Ethical Relativism.” Scu.edu. 1 Aug. 1992, https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/ethical-relativism/
- Shafer-Landau, Russ. The Fundamentals of Ethics. Third edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
- “U.S. Abortion Statistics”. Abort73.Com, 2019, https://abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/
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