Essay Example: Fetal Abnormality

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907 words
Wesleyan University
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It is not uncommon for physicians to differ with patients on the appropriate medical intervention that should be implemented to address abnormalities. In this case, Dr. Wilson, Jessica, Marco, and Maria give varying views on how to approach the problem of Jessicas pregnancy. Maria is opposed to the decision of terminating the pregnancy. Her views are shaped by the deontological perspective. Her conviction is that God would intervene. The moral agency theory also informs her views as evidenced in the advice that implores Jessica about impending responsibility of motherhood. Dr. Wilson's decision can be explained by the utilitarianism theory. The doctor sees his opinion as moral because the net effect of such action promises to offer more benefits than harm. From a relations perspective, Jessica is restricted from accepting the option of abortion due to the potential of such action to contravene the standards she considers as moral. Moral agency theory also is evident in influencing her decision to reject abortion due to the special relationship she has with the fetus. Similarly, Marco bases his opinion on the moral agency theory due to his relationship with Jessica.

Utilitarianism informs Dr. Wilson's decision as seen in his propositions. The theory holds that actions are determined as morally right or wrong depending on the outcomes of such actions. As such, the actions themselves do not matter. Utilitarianism proposes that the purpose of morality is to improve the quality of life of humanity while reducing the amount of suffering and pain that people undergo in their daily course of life. This theory rejects moral standards that have been developed by customs, traditions, supernatural forces, and leaders (Riley, 2010). In context, Dr. Wilson considers the option of conducting an abortion as the most appropriate option. According to Wilson, this action would reduce the suffering of the Jessica and her family. All other options do not make sense to Wilson since they would bring emotional and financial costs to the family that it cannot sustain.

As indicated earlier, the relational theory informs morals of Jessica. This theory holds that people make decisions by the relationships with their internal self.' This is because the relationship with others is determined by the mental representation of others and themselves. The theory focuses on the concept of self and morality. Research has found that women are guided, to a large extent, by the postulations of the relations theory to make decisions about abortion. For instance, their moral decisions are based on the best interest of the baby and not theirs. As such, their experiences and concern with relationships inform much of their judgment about the morality of decisions they make (Freedberg, 2015). In the case, Jessicas position is based on the best interest of the baby and not that of hers. The moral agency theory can also illustrate Jessica's decision. The theory stipulates that a person respects others rights because they have a relationship with them. For instance, the relationship between the mother and the fetus illustrates that the expected harm of the decision on the fetus informs the decision to terminate the pregnancy (Bandura, 2002). This theory also highlights Marcos decision as he does not want to harm Jessica due to the special relationship these individuals have with one another.

Maria's morality stems from the view that some moral choices may be forbidden or permitted depending on the conceptions of the choices in a given society. The theory focuses on what we ought to do and what we ought not to do. For instance, she invokes God in shaping her views. Her actions can also be explained from a moral agency perspective (Misselbrook, 2013). Notably, she urges Jessica to think of her responsibility as a mother which means that, as a mother, it is not morally right for Jessica to contemplate an abortion.

I side with utilitarianism theory due to the pragmatic nature of its consequences. As indicated in the case, Dr. Wilson opines that abortion should be carried due to abnormalities of the fetus and the cost of such condition on the family. For one, the emotional demands of raising a child who lacks arms and has Down Syndrome may be overwhelming to the immigrant family. The socio-economic situation of the family is also another hindrance for a happy life after the birth of the disabled child. As documented in the case, the couple has just immigrated to the United States and do not have stable jobs. An abnormal child will require an extra commitment of resources and parental care. These demands cannot be supported by the economic status of the family. Additionally, the child would need more attention from the parents which is likely to hinder their effort of working for many hours to meet the socio-economic demands of living in the United States. Therefore, I would recommend that an abortion to carried out. However, it is important to note that other theories are a valid and important source of morals for the individuals involved in the case. Also, the opinion of the patient should be respected and, as such, is critical to the resolution of this issue.



Bandura, A. (2002). Selective Moral Disengagement in the Exercise of Moral Agency. Journal of Moral Education, 31(2), 101-119. doi:10.1080/0305724022014322

Freedberg, S. (2015). Relational theory for clinical practice. London, UK: Routledge.

Misselbrook, D. (2013). Duty, Kant, and Deontology. British Journal of General Practice, 63(609), 211-211. doi:10.3399/bjgp13x665422

Riley, J. (2010). Mill's extraordinary utilitarian moral theory. Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 9(1), 67-116. doi:10.1177/1470594x09351952

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