In this case study, Jessica and Mario are immigrants from Mexico City. The couple had been facing financial challenges and had to be housed by their Aunt Maria. Three years of hard worked, where, Jessica worked for 50 hours in a restaurant and Marco working in construction have seen them manage to acquire an apartment. Jessica discovered that she was pregnant, and the ultrasound later reveals that the fetus has an abnormality and further scan indicates that the fetus had a condition that inhibited the development of arms. There are chances the fetus may be having Down Syndrome. The physician presents the options available to this couple. Marco promises to support Jessica in any decision that she would make. Aunt Maria is totally against abortion and makes calls to Jessica to let the will of God to prevail. This puts Jessica and Marco at a crossroad and has to make a moral decision on whether to continue or to terminate the pregnancy.
Determination of Moral Status
Theory Based on Human Properties
This theory proposes that every entity that has human properties should be accorded the appropriate moral status. The human properties described here include being sired by human parents or carrying the human genes. From this description, it is clear that that fetus in the case study satisfies these conditions for a human entity since it is born of human parents and possesses human genes (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). In the case study, Aunt Maria, who is against the abortion of the fetus may be seen as subscribing to this theory. She holds that life of a human being in all stages of life is sacred and should not be taken just because of disabilities. Maria proposes that Jessica needs to let the will of God prevail. On her part, Jessica is inclined towards the proposition of this theory but her socioeconomic status makes her wonder whether she would be able to provide for their kid who would have extra financial needs due to disability.
Cognitive Properties Theory
This theory proposes that it is not just any form of biological criteria that should be considered to accord an entity to the moral status. Instead, the theory supposes that it is the cognitive properties that provide moral status upon a being. Cognition in this context refers to the processes or the awareness including perception, memory, understanding, and thinking (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). The fetus in this case study is likely to have Down’s syndrome, which affects the cognitive abilities of an individual and causes intellectual abilities and slow adoption of speech and motor abilities. The fetus at this stage of life and in the condition present, cannot express the traits described above. This implies that the fetus cannot be accorded the moral status. It is most likely that Dr. Wilson is inclined to this theory as he makes recommendations, which includes carrying out an abortion.
Theory based on relationships
This theory takes into account the relationship between being when making the decision on the moral status of the individual. These relationships introduce roles and obligations to an individual. The relationship established may compel an individual to abide by the moral status of the other individual (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). It is this theory that Marco bases his decision on. Marco declared that he would support Jessica in whichever decision that she made. Marco and Jessica are bound together as a family and thereby causing the need to act united as one family.
Recommendation for Action
In this case, I would support the theory based on human properties. This theory highlights beings with human properties such as human parents and human genes need to be accorded full moral status. This implies that by this virtue the fetus could be regarded human, and therefore, had to receive the full moral status. This theory would influence the recommendation for action by providing a framework of considering the fetus to establish whether it deserved a moral status (Moses, 2013). In doing this, the following conclusions would be made; the fetus’ parents are human and therefore by extension, the fetus should be considered human. The fetus also had all other human features apart from the hands, which were yet to develop. This makes the fetus to qualify as a human and be accorded moral status.
For this case study, I would recommend that Jessica follows through with her pregnancy and in so doing allow the will of God to be carried out. It is clear that Jessica’s fundamental beliefs hold that life is sacred, and therefore, a choice to abort would be against her personal belief and was likely to lead to self-guiltiness. The scans that have been carried have not been conclusive but have merely provided the likelihood of the arms not developing or the presence of Down’s syndrome. This implies that there is hope that these things would not come to be. What is worrying Jessica is her current socioeconomic status and she fears whether they will be able to cater for the child’s expenses. However, this condition is not permanent and may change to the better. There are also federal funds set apart to support people with disabilities and they would greatly benefit from such initiatives. Jessica is also assured of the support of her husband. It is for these reasons that I support the idea of Jessica following through with the pregnancy.
Beauchamp T. L., & Childress, J. (2013). Principles of biomedical ethics. (7th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Moses, E. A. (2013). The ethics of pain: Moral status, emotion, cognition, and the law of laboratory animals in pain research (Doctoral dissertation, Wake Forest University).
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