Good Example Of Creating A Life To Save A Life Essay
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Utilitarian is an ethical theory that focuses on the end results of a course of action. What is wrong or right is determined by people’s happiness and the absence of pain (Cahn and Peter, 365). From a utilitarian perspective, the means to a goal does not matter as long as it brings happiness to the people involved. The principle of greatest happiness states that actions are right if they bring happiness and wrong if they bring pain (Cahn and Peter, 365). Theorists of utilitarian are John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham.
In the Whitaker family case study, the utilitarian theory justifies the action sought by the parents of Charlie. The Whitakers wanted to use science and technology to create new life that will help cure their other sick child- Charlie. This was to happen with government approval. Therefore in this case, there were four parties namely; the Whitakers, their son Charlie, the child to be created and the English government. I shall analyse the position of each of these four parties in relation to the utilitarian theory of ethics.
The Whitakers had a problem because their son Charlie’s body was unable to produce the red blood cells. This condition could possibly affect their other children should they choose to have more kids. With science however, they could be able to mitigate this problem as well as cure their son Charlie. According to Mill’s Greatest Happiness Principle, the Whitakers will get maximum utility from this course of action because the new life created will not only be able to cure Charlie, but it will also be free of the condition that ails Charlie (Cahn and Peter, 374).
Charlie is the main victim in this case. If his parents are allowed to pursue the above course of action, then he would be the greatest beneficiary. It would rid him of the pain and bring happiness in his life. This is the main definition of utilitarian theory (Cahn and Peter, 365).
It is difficult to analyse the unborn child, but given that it shall be created through science and technology, we at least know that it shall be free of Charlie’s condition. If the parents were to be permitted to go through with the procedure, they will be happy to have another child and even happier to know that it shall be born free of Charlie’s condition. A happy home is a perfect environment for any kid to grow up.
The government declined to approve the request because it was morally incorrect to create a life for the purpose of saving another. According to the government, what is morally correct should also be achieved through correct means (Cahn and Peter, 364). The government only approves vitro fertilization in cases where it is impossible or risky for someone to have a baby the normal way. In this case, the Whitakers have no medical condition or natural disabilities that make them unable to have a baby the normal way. Therefore the government was obligated to decline this request as the procedure ignores what is wrong and right (Cahn and Peter, 363).
In conclusion utilitarian principle holds that when considering our own happiness and that of other people, we should ensure that our actions ultimately minimise pain as much as possible and maximise happiness. Happiness is qualitative and therefore to determine whether the greatest happiness has been achieved we take into consideration an individual’s experience before and after an action (Cahn and Peter, 368). The Whitaker family was denied this happiness by the government when the utilitarian principle clearly allowed them to pursue their chosen course of action.
Cahn, Steven M, and Peter J. Markie. Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
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