Are the concepts of free choice and personal responsibility fundamentally different in Germany and the USA? - A research proposal

by: Maxi Gülay

GRIN Verlag , 2017

ISBN: 9783668561151 , 11 Pages

Format: PDF

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Are the concepts of free choice and personal responsibility fundamentally different in Germany and the USA? - A research proposal


Research Paper (postgraduate) from the year 2016 in the subject Psychology - Social Psychology, grade: 1,0, ?zmir University of Economics (Psychology), language: English, abstract: Free choice is a gain as well as a burden for humans. As the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre put it, freedom does not just give you the gain of free choice but also the burden of being responsible for all your actions. This proposal wants to explore the concepts of free choice and personal responsibility in two individualistic countries, namely Germany and the USA. The Freedom of Choice Act was passed in 2007 by the American Congress. This bill protects the right of women to choose if they want to bear a child (Guttmacher Institute, 2016). This basically means that women can have an abortion until the fetus is able to live on its own. It is important to notice that the Freedom of Choice Act is only legal in seven states of the US. For all arguments, it holds true that laws vary very much from state to state. Anyway, the important point is that most states allow abortion within a certain time frame and the woman has to make the final choice. She has full responsibility for her decision. In Germany, abortion is technically always illegal. Nevertheless, there are exceptions within the first 12 weeks that make an abortion free of punishment (Strafgesetzbuch §218). A pregnant woman has to undergo a pregnancy conflict consultation which is offered by social institutions. The consultant talks with the woman about her wish to get an abortion explaining her about the consequences of an abortion and informing her about all the possibilities she has, e. g. adoption, governmental support etc. In the end, the woman receives a confirmation about undergoing this consultation. With this confirmation she can have an abortion. So in both countries, the reality is the same. Within a certain time frame, woman have the legal freedom to have an abortion. The idea behind is different: In the USA, full responsibility lies with the woman. In Germany, noticing that abortion is a troubling situation for a woman, the state takes responsibility to inform her about all possibilities so that she is able to make a responsible decision on her own. Hence, the USA applies a radical view of free choice resulting in total personal responsibility. Germany applies a more egalitarian view of free choice resulting in socially embedded personal responsibility.