The moral status of abortion

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Introduction

Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson are facing an incidence of fetal abnormality. Dr. Wilson’s examination of Jessica’s pregnancy reveals the possibility of abnormality with the fetus. Jessica, Marco, the doctor, and Aunt Maria react differently to the abnormality of the fetus. The doctor has lain out that abortion is an option. In this case, the parties concerned react differently to the doctor’s idea of abortion. This case study will assess the theories used by the individual parties in determining the moral status of the fetus. These theories will influence the recommendation these individuals make concerning their respective action plans. Despite many arguments being in support of abortion in the case of fetal abnormality, the act is immoral and not acceptable in the public domain.

Discussion

Aunt Maria uses Albert Schweitzer’s reverence for life theory in her arguments to keep the pregnancy. She pleads with Jessica to keep the pregnancy and allow God’s intention for the fetus to prevail. The theory of reverence for life in moral standing implies that all living things should be accorded equal moral considerations. The theory argues that every human being has the responsibility to other living things not to harm them. According to this theory, every human being, including the fetus in Jessica’s womb has the right to live. This theory is in support of the conservative view of abortion. The theory holds a conservative view that mostly holds its opinion about the right to live from various religious backgrounds. The theory argues that every living creature should let be given the right to life to serve its purpose on earth in its unique way (Dickenson, 2012).

Dr. Wilson uses Aristotle’s rationality theory in his determination of the pregnancy issue. The doctor gives Jessica the option of conducting an abortion due to the condition of the pregnancy. In his decision, he acknowledges the fact that human beings are rational and are unique when it comes to matters of moral standing. Rationality theory acknowledges the uniqueness of human beings in terms of moral standings. Some groups are excluded and others include in issues of moral standing. The theory of rationality in human beings recognizes man’s unique characteristics that enable him to be virtuous. Moral virtue requires the fulfillment of humans’ unique characteristics. In applying moral virtue, one has to consider putting reason to act. The doctor has applied this theory to acknowledge that moral standing is applied differently (scholarsarchive.library.albany.edu). In this particular situation, the abortion of the fetus is morally acceptable due to its abnormality.

Marco, Jessica’s husband sets his decision on Jeremy Bentham’s theory of sentience. Marco wants the doctor to conduct the abortion since he views the economic hardships and pain of struggling with a disabled baby as unbearable. This theory is based on utilitarianism and rejects the ideas of the theory of rationality. The theory focuses on the human beings’ capacity to experience pleasure and pain as the primary concern when issues of morality occur (Dickenson, 2012). The theory argues that since every human being strives to attain pleasure and avoid pain; the objective principle of morality should balance an individual’s pain and pleasure. Marco has applied this theory in consideration of the consequences of his decision not only to him as an individual but also to others. He proposed the idea of abortion but later acknowledges that he would support Jessica in whatever decision she would make.

Jessica sets her mind to following Jon Wetlesen’s multi-criteria theory. Jessica is torn between the hopes of having a better socioeconomic position and the conviction of all life is sacred. This theory argues that a hierarchy of moral standing exists among all living things. Human beings rank the highest in this hierarchy. According to the theory, the level of moral standing is directly proportional to the level of similarity of its capability as opposed to the rational determination of the moral agents themselves. The degree of similarity of moral standing in this theory is determined by three factors; self-awareness, sentience, and consciousness. Jessica’s dilemma is brought about by the self-awareness of the decision she has to make. She has sentience feelings in which she has an option to go through an abortion and live a better socioeconomic life. The other option is the consciousness that she has the option of leaving with the guilt of abortion (Roth, 2005).

Conclusion

Among the four discussed theories, the multi-criteria theory is the most applicable in influencing the action plan. This theory incorporates and builds upon the other theories. For Jessica to make an action plan, she has to be self-aware of the moral standings taking into consideration sentience and consciousness. Jessica should decline the offer to abort since she is aware of the situation at hand. From the multi-criteria theory, it is evident that it is immoral to have an abortion despite the incidence of fetus abnormality occurring.

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  1. (2016). library.albany.edu. Retrieved 29 September 2016, from: http://scholarsarchive.library.albany.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=cas_philosophy_scholar
  2. Dickenson, D. (2012). Bioethics. London: Hodder Education.
  3. Roth, J. (2005). Ethics. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press.
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