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Other areas of morality

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There are other areas of morality regulated by the law


Freedom of expression

Pornography is easy to identify difficult to define. In so far as, what is the deference between pornography and art?  We can ask whether, hard core, page 3 or advertising exploitation is more demeaning. The argument in favour of pornography is the “self-censorship argument”, where to an extent you can “switch off”.


Does the permissive society justify the lowering of standards?  What happens if it incites violence or racial hatred?


Embryo experiments and surrogate motherhood


The Warnock Committee 1984 lead to

  • The establishment of independent statutory body to control the embryology and surrogacy. 

  • Embryo experiments are lawful up to the first 14 days.

  • Sperm and egg donation are regarded as producing a legitimate child should one develop.


Generally the agreement for embryonic experimentation was the benefits of scientific experimentation were the benefits of scientific research. Nobody questioned the possible ulterior motive of the scientist.


Warnock failed to decide the issue of when human life comes into being. At conception? Or at 3 weeks or 12 weeks etc, this is often a matter of religious or moral conviction.


Is there sufficient respect for human life. Warnock was against the testing of drugs on embryos - in which case why test at all?


The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology (the Warnock Committee (1984)) stated:-

"The law itself, binding on everyone in society, whatever their beliefs is the embodiment of a common moral position. It sets out a broad framework for what is morally acceptable within society."

Many people disagree.



There is an argument that if you don't like it you don't have to do it.  The idea of 'money' tends to 'cheapen' the idea. What of the problems of separating the surrogate mother from the child, and is the a potential for fraud.


Cultural and religious differences

Some practices span cultures and religion, but are considered barbaric and rendered unlawful in the UK.  The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (in force March 2004) prohibits the "surgical" interference with female genitalia, practiced in some cultures. This practice illustrates cultural mores and morality.


An estimated 135 million of the world's girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and two million girls a year are at risk of mutilation - approximately 6,000 per day. It is practised extensively in Africa and is common in some countries in the Middle East. It also occurs, mainly among immigrant communities, in parts of Asia and the Pacific, North and Latin America and Europe.




Sale of human organs


The Suicide Act 1967


The Abortion Act 1967


The Divorce Reform Act 1968



Are their victimless immoralities, like prostitution and drug abuse?  Or, do they have such significant negative effects upon society as a whole that legal regulation of these activities, is justified.  If the effect is “harm to others”, how can the carnage of the roads be justified?

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