In this essay I will be discussing, in agreement, that the refusal to serve a 36 week pregnant woman alchohol is not a legitimate violation to her liberty. More specifically, I will be addressing firstly, that Mill’s harm principle allows society to interfere with the liberty of competant-thinking and acting adults on the basis of preventing harm done to others and that the consumption of alchohol while pregnant, does constitute harm to the unborn baby. Also, the roles of individuals in society does have some merit and duty where liberty can be violated; and lastly, I will portray how Mill’s view on paternalism and its relationship it has with the liberty of choice.
In the article posted by TVNZ under the program ONENEWS, a decision to refuse a heavily pregnant woman alcohol raised the question whether it was a violation of her rights after being told that as an adult, consenting female, she could not be served alcohol for the risk it may carry to the unborn child. I have aforementioned that using Mill’s harm principle allows society to interfere with the liberty of competent adults on the basis of preventing harm to others. In this article, the prevention of harm to others extends to a living unborn baby inside the pregnant woman, despite not causing harm to herself. The harm principle states that; “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” There is much controversy in the discussion of when fetus can be considered human beings however, it has been stated that by the 35th-38th week, the fetus is suffuciently developed for life outside the uterus. Furt...
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...and when she becomes pregnant. On the advise of the Ministry of Health, no alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy because there are no safe levels of ensuring that the baby would not be harmed by physical or mental alterations or deformaties due to the consumption of alcohol by the woman. Just like the example of how society is advised to give up their seat while traveling on a bus or a train (which negates utilitarianism because who likes to stand?), pregnant woman should play a role to deliver the baby safely and not risk the chances of causing abnormalities in the baby’s condition by drinking alcohol. Therefore, the waitress refusing to serve alcohol to the pregnant did not violate her rights as it is on the advise of authorities and the role of society to ensure the general well-being of the woman even if she does not believe her rights has been violated.
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