ACase Study: Fetal Abnormality
ACase Study: Fetal Abnormality
Themoral status of fetuses is a controversial issue in variousdisciplines. Central to the controversy are the theories surroundingthe obligation of the parents towards the unborn child regardless ofits health condition (Allyseet al., 2015).Though various theories attempt to solve the issue by examining itfrom various perspectives, there has never been a definitiveconclusion on the best way forward in cases of fetal abnormality. Thepresent case of Jessica`s unborn child is a perfect example of themoral dilemma that faces parents when an abnormality is detected inthe fetus. All parties involved in Jessica`s case have their moralstance concerning the fate of the unborn. The theory that each playerrelies on, even unwittingly, significantly affects theirrecommendations on the way forward. Therefore, the present paperwill explore the different moral theories in this case and suggestthat the theory of cognitive properties embraced by Dr. Wilson is themost befitting philosophy since the fetus lacks awareness andrationality, which are the fundamental features that grant organismsa moral status.
Dr.Wilson and Cognitive Properties
Evidently,the doctor supports abortion since he believes that the fetus doesnot possess any major cognitive properties, such as awareness andrationality. Moreover, he wishes to spare the parent from thefinancial and emotional torture that the family could face if thechild is born with the abnormality. The doctor reveals that there isa substantial likelihood that the child might end up with a Downsyndrome. Furthermore, it is worth noting that most couples withabnormal children are more likely to divorce than the rest. As such,Dr. Wilson feels that executing an abortion will save them a lot. Theunborn child cannot make rational decisions nor is it aware of itself(Blanco,2016). The fetus cannot also communicate with other organisms throughany established language, implying that despite having humanproperties, its cognitive features have not yet developed. Mostopponents of the cognitive properties theory believe that humanproperties should prevail in such cases since it simply involveshuman beings.
AuntieMaria and Human Properties
Contraryto Dr. Wilson’s stance, Maria holds a position that seeks to defendthe rights of any organism that harbors human properties. In fact,she is a staunch disciple of the moral status of the fetus resultingfrom the application of the human properties. Maria holds that thevery fact that the fetus is inside a human being grants it the moralstatus to be recognized as also hominoid. It has a concrete humangenetic code (Blanco,2016). Maria pleads with Jessica to have her consider the fact thatshe is the mother of the child in her womb. In this case, herunderlying human features are undeniably replicated in it and cannotbe altered even if an abnormality has been detected. She believesthat delivering the child would pave the way for unexploited optionson how to deal with the situation.
Marco,Jessica, and the Theory of Relationship
Thetheory of relationship manifests itself is different ways in thecurrent case. Impliedly, when Maria pleads with Jessica regarding theobligations she has to the abnormal fetus, she is insinuating thatJessica should consider the relationship that has already been formedwith the child since the time it was conceived. Another relationshipis that that Jessica has with God, the creator of the fetus. Marco’srelationship with Jessica and the respect he has for his wife rendershim supportive of any decision that she makes (Hardwig, 2015).Apparently, all these relationships enhance the moral status of thefetus.
Jessicaand Moral Agency
Inthe present case, Jessica has the absolute power of moral agency andany decisions that she chooses to make will be held as final.Nonetheless, there are several factors that she must consider beforemaking this decision. Firstly, their financial status is at stake ifthe fetus is successfully delivered. In this case, she understandsthat it will be very challenging to have an abnormal child in thefamily, especially given the high medical costs of taking care of it.Worse still, they are currently struggling to make their ends meet.Secondly, the emotional turbulence that might present itself upon thedelivery of an abnormal child might have detrimental ramifications onboth parents (Blanco,2016). Jessica acknowledges that it is not easy to handle such asituation. Thirdly, Jessica does not want to hurt their auntie,Maria, who holds that God’s decision to bless the couple with anabnormal child should not be compromised through an abortion.Overall, she holds the key to the child’s moral status.
Notwithstandingthe delicacy of the present moral dilemma, a decision has to be made.The doctor’s stance, though founded on scientism and rationality,seems to hold more water given the available alternatives. Thedecision to abort may not be moral per se, but it presents the couplewith lesser financial and emotional burdens in the future, which ismorally plausible. It also acts in the best interest of the fetus,which currently does not have cognitive features. Dr. Wilson believesthat the decision to have an abortion is founded on both medical andscientific premises.
Severaltheories affect the moral status of a fetus in the womb of themother. The case of a fetal abnormality makes it difficult to reach adefinitive conclusion on whether an abortion is morally acceptable ornot. Dr. Wilson feels that the fetus does not have the cognitiveproperties to warrant a moral status. Auntie Maria, however, holdsthat it has the human properties necessary for its defense. She alsoinsists on the relationship that Jessica has with God and with thechild. Since Jessica is the moral agent, she is expected to come upwith the best decision. Dr. Wilson`s premise is the best for her andMarco, particularly considering the financial and emotionalimplications of any other choice.
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Blanco,D. V. (2016). Global reproductive health: Perspectives, challenges,and future directions. Asia-PacificSocial Science Review, 16(1),62-80.
Hardwig,J. (2015). Men and abortion decisions. HastingsCenter Report.pp. 41-45. doi:10.1002/hast.432.