CASE STUDY ON MORAL STATUS PHI 413
Moral status encompasses ethical principles when considering the importance of living things and their value in life. In the assessment of models of moral status, different theorists advance that life is equal regardless of the individuals’ situations. Present theories consider various levels of assessment on moral standing (Pardo, 2018). In this case study, the paper examines the moral status of a deformed fetus and the moral choices that the individuals involved make based on the Christian worldview. The paper also presents the author’s position on the kind of theories that determine the decisions made by those involved in the case.
According to the Christian worldview, human beings have full moral status by virtue of being humans right from conception. Christians advance that human beings are created in God’s image and likeness and have inherent right to life irrespective of any disabilities or deformities that they may possess. The Christian worldview is founded on the biblical and Christian teaching that God is the creator and author of morality and moral regulations (Beckwith & Thornton, 2020). As such, life is sacred and should be protected. No one has a right to take away life even when in the worst situation.
Christian worldview is compatible with the theory of moral standing which is founded on human properties. The moral status model is a religious as well as philosophical perspective that illustrated the essence of humanity and the need to understand that people are superior to other living organisms. The moral status theory asserts that human beings have moral status among all other living organism that were created to serve their interests (Brown, 2018). The theoretical model advances that during conception, all human beings get full moral standing. This implication that the Christian and philosophical model is founded on human aspects which means that a fetus has same moral status just like a grown up human with all cognitive functions in place. These realizations are associated with the intrinsic human value and dignity as full moral status occurs during conception. The implication is that equal moral status is intrinsic and humans get the moral ability because their lives are sacred.
Theories Demonstrated by Jessica, Marco, Maria and Dr. Wilson
The case study is about a fetus that is deformed and has high possibility of suffering from Down Syndrome. If born successfully, the new born will have increased possibility of suffering from mental health issues and other significant challenges as a result of cognitive deficiencies. The four people in the case study includes Jessica the expectant women with the deformed fetus, Marco, who is Jessica’s husband, and Maria, Jessica’s aunt (GCU, n.d). The fourth person is Dr. Wilson, a physician who is trying to give the family possible options and their effects on their lives. These four individuals have different ways of looking at the situation and various theories concerning the moral status of the fetus.
Jessica is experiencing a moral dilemma about her beliefs and the eventual circumstance of the child if she keeps the fetus to full-term pregnancy. Jessica understands the financial burden and health complications that the child will create on the family. At the same time, her religious beliefs are core to any decision that she would make. Her religious beliefs oppose the termination of the fetus or abortion. Jessica is a moral agent that implores her to make the most effective decisions. The approach demonstrates that Jessica is following the moral agency as she will decide the moral status of the unborn baby. Again, her decision is influenced by her religious beliefs since she is a Christian (Beckwith & Thornton, 2020). According to her aunt, Jessica has a relationship with the fetus by virtue of being its mother and should only act in its best interests. Jessica and her aunt, Maria demonstrate the religious theory of moral status founded on human properties. Both advance that human beings have full moral status right from conception despite their mental and physical deficiencies. Maria tells Jessica to consider her duties as a mother to the child and respect God’s will. Jessica is the fetus’s mother and a believer. These relationships provide the fetus a moral status which makes termination wrong. Both Jessica and her aunt Maria illustrate the divine command theory that is based on God being the creator and basis of morality.
On his part, Marco is worried about the expected burden of having a child with disabilities but is ready and willing to support Jessica irrespective of the decision that she makes. Marco believes that whatever decision Jessica makes is critical and based on her appreciation of the moral nature of the child. therefore, Marco shows relationship theory as the moral status of the fetus can change based on the decision that Jessica makes. Dr. Wilson provide critical medical advice and possible options for the family. However, he shows significant support for termination of the fetus based on his medical knowledge and the disabilities that it will possess. Dr. Wilson utilizes the cognitive properties’ model which asserts that the moral standing of any person is based on their ability to show and possess certain level of awareness and logic. In this case, the fetus does not possess these attributes and lacks the moral status (Brown, 2018). As such, the physician believes that the Jessica should terminate the fetus.
Influence on Determination of Each Recommended Decisions
Theories affect the recommendations as they base their positions on different ground. For example, Dr. Wilson uses a utilitarian approach which allows him to provide various choices to the family. However, Marco shows relationship theory where his decisions will be based on the choices that his wife, Jessica, makes. Marco makes decision based on his relationship with Jessica and the fetus. He also considers the financial and health burden of the unborn fetus. Jessica’s relationship with the fetus and her capability as a moral agent to make decisions affect her overall decisions in this case (Pardo, 2018). Jessica must consider the impact of her decisions on her moral perspective and religious background. Maria shows both relationship theory and divine command perspective as she encourages Jessica to factor in her relationship with the fetus and God.
I think that the moral status of the fetus should be founded solely on the Christian worldview about the sanctity of life. In this case, the fetus has a moral standing. However, it is essential to consider the quality of life that the newborn will live, especially with the permanent condition of Down Syndrome. Therefore, Jessica requires sufficient support and effective interventions that could assist her have a healthy baby than terminating the pregnancy (Pardo, 2018). These interventions should consider how she can raise the child better irrespective of its condition. life is sacred and God’s gift. However, medical experts should improve the health of the child.
Moral status of unborn child is similar to a grown up person. In this case, the fetus has a moral standing based on the moral theory. The fetus may have deformities but the mother should be supported to make an effective decision. As demonstrated, the mother faces moral dilemma based on the financial burden of the child and her religious beliefs.
Beckwith, F., & Thornton, A. K. (2020). Moral status and the architects of principlism.
The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, 45(4-5): 504-520.
Brown, M. K. (2018). The Moral Status of the Human Embryo. The Journal of Medicine and
Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, 43(2): 132–158, https://doi.org/10.1093/jmp/jhx035
Grand Canyon University (GCU) (n.d). Case Study: Fetal Abnormality.
Pardo, R. (2018). The Moral Status of the Embryo from the Standpoint of Social Perceptions. In
Clinical Ethics at the Crossroads of Genetic and Reproductive Technologies (pp. 149-193). Academic Press.
Based on “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality” and the required topic Resources, write a 750-1,000-word reflection that answers the following questions:
- What is the Christian view of the nature of human persons, and which theory of moral status is it compatible with? How is this related to the intrinsic human value and dignity?
- Which theory or theories are being used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson to determine the moral status of the fetus? What from the case study specifically leads you to believe that they hold the theory you selected?
- How does the theory determine or influence each of their recommendations for action?
- What theory do you agree with? Why? How would that theory determine or influence the recommendation for action?
Remember to support your responses with the topic Resources.
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