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Position on Abortion: Durkheim, Marx, and Weber

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Sociology Position Paper on Abortion: Durkheim, Marx, and Weber Abortion has become a social dilemma in the last decade. Abortion can be defined as the ending of a pregnancy by removing the embryo or fetus before it is able to survive outside the womb of the mother. The topic is no longer a taboo the way it was some thirty years back. Those who are pro this practice argues that women have a right over their own bodies and should therefore be allowed to make a choice on whether to keep a pregnancy or not.

The pro-life on the other hand say that the child is a human being and should therefore not be killed prematurely. Several sociological standpoints have been brought forward to be able to analyze these important social issues. Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim bring out different viewpoints on the issue. This treatise attempts to explain these viewpoints in order come to a conclusion on the most agreeable stand. Karl Marx is known to be the first individual to popularize the conflict theory which with has found widespread application in sociology (Kornblum, 2009).

In the modern society, Marx would come out as a pro- choice person. Despite this being the case, Marxists may not be in support of all cases of abortion. According to Kornblum (2009), there are specific stages of history that occur to open way to other historical events. All these are believed to eventually lead to a flawless society. In one of his works, Karl Marx talked about the struggles that were witnessed between bourgeois and the proletariats. Without this particular struggle, the society may have had no classes.

To him, abortion in the society gives the upper class an advantage over the class uprisings. The Marxists are of the opinion that personality and other human values are imparted by the environment in which people live (Babbie, 2005). As such, decisions that people make are not inherent spiritual values or biological processes. With this in mind, they say that the fetus only becomes a person when it is judged by someone who has a higher wisdom. The humanity of a fetus will depend how the mother perceives it and the relationship that exist between them.

The mother will only keep the child if she wants to do so, to be able to give it personhood. Max Weber agrees with Karl Marx that human ideas and values are key in bringing social changes as well as economic benefits. In his view, certain people are destined to be the way they are. This is an idea that was based on American capitalism. In the book “Protestant Ethics and Spirits and Capitalism”, he says that there are some individuals who are, for example, predestined to be saved even before their birth (Meštrović, 2004).

Moreover, he argues that there are societies that are destined to be below others in terms of values and economic successes. He however notes that the values in the society result in social changes. On this grounds, it is quite evident that Marx Weber would have supported abortion on the basis of the notion that there are some people who are predestined to live and there are those who are not supposed to live.

As such it is not wrong for the mother to decide to terminate a pregnancy for a given reason. Durkheim on the other hand is a supporter of the functionalism theory. He believed that every individual has a role to play for the society to function (Durkheim, 1938). This is a pro-life stand. He argues that each and every aspect of the society has a function that is intended to benefit the members. Durkheim would come out to oppose the practice of abortion since he is a functionalist. He argues that most of the challenges that face the society today like suicide are not caused by the society itself Kornblum (2009).

They are as a result of the rapid changes in life. In the case of a pregnancy, the mothers who think about abortion believe that they are solving the problem that they have by killing the unborn. This does not end up that way as it only prevent the unborn from growing up to play his role in the society. The stance that is taken by Durkheim appears to be the most appropriate one.

Women should not be allowed to decide to terminate pregnancy when they want since it will not be correcting anything. Every member of the society including the fetus has a role to play and when they play their roles effectively the society becomes fully functional. References Babbie, E. (2005). The Practice of Social Research. London: Cengage Learning. Durkheim, E. (1938). The Rules of Sociological Method. New York: Free Press. Kornblum, W. (2009). Sociology in a Changing World. London: Cengage Learning. Meštrović, S. (2004). Emile Durkheim and the Reformation of Sociology. Lehman: Rowman & Littlefield.

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preview essay on Position on Abortion: Durkheim, Marx, and Weber
  • Pages: 3 (750 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Sociology
  • Level: Ph.D.
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