Effective healthcare does not only require expertise and knowledge, but a set of skills for doctors and nurses to communicate to patients openly about the important decisions they would potentially have to make. Thus, it is crucial for medical professionals to provide patients with an opportunity to make their own choice. Nurses and doctors have to remain unbiased while laying out all the options available to patients and the scenarios they may inevitably lead to. This paper is going to examine a case study dealing with the moral status of an unborn child, who will be born disabled. It will explore and discuss the worldview theories regarding the moral status of the fetus that the main characters identify with.
Christianity dictates that an embryo has a particular standing before the Lord, which means that an unborn child should have a special status among human beings. Firstly, according to the Bible, humans are created with the breath of God (Kwaku Opoku & Manu, 2015). Therefore, fetuses should be considered people, which makes abortion a sin. Secondly, the biblical view implies the belief that humans are creations directly in the image of God (Kwaku Opoku & Manu, 2015). Thus, Christian commandments, which constitute the core of the Christian faith, must be extended to include embryos.
Dr. Wilson acts as a scientific force in the moral argument presented in the case study. As a doctor, he informed Jessica, her husband, and her aunt of all the possible options and risks associated with each path they will choose to take. However, utilizing the theory of cognitive properties, Dr. Wilson advises the couple to consider abortion. The theory states that an embryo does not have the moral status of a human since it does not possess any level of awareness or rational thought. Therefore, according to Dr. Wilson, the recommended course of action would be aborting the fetus in order to eliminate potential struggles the child might face as a disabled individual with Down syndrome.
As for aunt Maria, she pleads with her niece to consider her relationship with the Lord and the obligation she has to her unborn child as a mother. It is evident how important God is to Maria as she prays for the child’s well-being and urges Jessica to phone the priest. Thus, Maria recommends Jessica avoid abortion, which falls under the theoretical framework based on relationships. In addition, Maria’s religious reasoning is an example of the divine command theory, which dictates that the Lord is the only one, who has the authority to rule on morality, as the sole creator of life. Moreover, Maria’s worldview, which is rooted in Christian principles, puts an emphasis on caring for the sick and providing aid to those in need. Maria simply cannot turn her back on her family, which is why she considers abortion ethically egregious.
Jessica and Marco
Marco sides with Dr. Wilson in his preference for abortion, which is a way to minimize the possible financial burden related to the child’s disability for him. Therefore, Marco acts in accordance with the hedonist theory, which means that he prioritizes the option that will be the most beneficial for him and his wife exclusively. Marco puts individual well-being and financial stability before the possibility of considering the fetus a human being. In short, Jessica’s husband follows the rules of materialism and ignores spirituality as he considers abortion. Therefore, for Marco, his and Jessica’s disabled and mentally handicapped child is a potential barrier to their economic security and prosperous future. Although Marco does not support any decision in the case study and remains neutral for the most part, it is clear that he is more likely to advise his wife to take the abortion route. In the case study, Jessica acts as the moral agent, who needs to make the final decision. Marco is willing to support Jessica either way, which demonstrates the theory of relationship again. Marco’s relationship with his wife dictates his view of the embryo’s moral status.
As for my personal view of the ethical dilemma, Jessica and Marco are facing, I lean towards the blended theory approach and side with Dr. Wilson and Marco. Although it is heartbreaking to make a decision to go through with the abortion, Jessica and Marco must think of their child’s quality of life due to them being physically disabled and potentially mentally handicapped. Apart from using rational thought to focus on the unfavorable consequences of giving birth on the child themselves, I use the theory of cognitive reasoning to emphasize the questionable moral status of the embryo, which does not have consciousness or awareness. Additionally, I tend to adopt Western ideas and support the concept of egoism, when it comes to abortion. I believe in the theory of hedonism and prioritizing one’s well-being and economic security over the embryo that is not born yet.
To sum it all up, Jessica and Marco face an immensely hard decision they have to make in order to move forward in their lives: they can either keep the child (who will be physically and possibly mentally disabled) or go through with the abortion. The case study presents a wide range of worldview theories that define the moral status of the fetus through the rays of Dr. Wilson, aunt Maria, Marco, and Jessica. It is crucial for medical professionals to navigate the labyrinth of moral dilemmas their patients might be going through. This skill helps doctors and nurses to provide patients with the necessary care and support, while remaining unbiased, offering medical advice, and not personal opinions.
Kwaku Opoku, J., & Manu, E. (2015). The status of the human embryo: An analysis from the Christian and Islamic viewpoints. European Journal of Biology and Medical Science Research, 3(3), 24-60. Web.