With the Klingons involved as well in "Friday's Child", I think the Federation would be looking at a larger political landscape.
Frankly, it came down to getting a mining agreement with these people and having them be independent but friendly to the Federation, or having them fall into Klingon hands or at least be a Klingon minion. In Klingon hands no laws in that culture would be respected. Indeed, the entire culture may be stifled. What Kirk did to try to avoid the Klingons getting their way on the planet was minor compared to that. It may not have been his shining moment, but occasional moral and legal ambivalence was a hallmark of the Cold War.
I don't think that when Kirk saved Eleen, he was thinking "I need to ensure this baby is born so that there is a legitimate claimant to the throne and Maab's claim will be invalidated." I think he was thinking "I can't let them execute a pregnant woman because that's just wrong." He was imposing his personal and cultural morals onto a society with different morals -- and specifically he was forcing rescue on Eleen herself, who wanted no part of it. Of course personally I agree with his position, but the Prime Directive means respecting other cultures' right to their own laws and customs even when you find them abhorrent.
I wonder how many Cultures were contaminated from the pre-Federation Era of Star Fleet... ? ...
During all those years that Archer and associates began flying to the stars.
By the time of TOS, my guess is that most of the planets within reach of Earth with it's warp 5 & 6 starships, had probably been contacted and were aware of things they probably shouldn't have been at that point.
Not to mention all the other starfaring civilizations out there that don't honor the Prime Directive and wouldn't hesitate to contact a pre-warp world.
Given what we know about Kirk, I'd agree that his motive was probably guided more by his morals than by politics. We also don't know for sure if his attitude towards this law was atypical in that culture. Look at the death penalty debate in the U.S. Maybe Kirk was acting out a form of civil disobedience. The question is, if he had failed and been caught, would he have been willing to face the punishment on that planet for violating their laws?
I'd think that in the 23rd century among multiple worlds full of sentient people and civilizations, there would be highly intellectual political and philosophical writings and discussions about basic universal rights of sentient beings at any level of development, too. Much like human rights, today. And some practices in some cultures may be condemned and discouraged. I don't know.
The problem I have is that the Prime Directive is completely amoral. To me, it's ridiculous to be relativistic to the point where everything
is relative and every cultural practice or interpreation of truth or law deserves the same level of respect.
Out of universe, I'm not sure why the Prime Directive was created for the show other than to be employed as a dramatic device within stories, and to also show that imperialsim didn't go out into space with mankind in a time period on Earth (the mid-1960s) when imperialism and self-determination were big geo-political buzz words.