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Case Study
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Moral Status Assignment: Fetal Abnormality (Case Study Sample)


Write a 750-1000 word analysis of "Case Study: Fetal Abnormality." Be sure to address the following questions:
Which theory or theories are being used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson to determine the moral status of the fetus? Explain.
How does the theory determine or influence each of their recommendation for action?
What theory do you agree with? How would that theory determine or influence the recommendation for action?
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide
Case Study: Fetal Abnormality
Jessica is a 30-year-old immigrant from Mexico City. She and her husband Marco have been in the U.S. for the last three years and have finally earned enough money to move out of their Aunt Maria's home and into an apartment of their own. They are both hard workers. Jessica works 50 hours a week at a local restaurant and Marco has been contracting side jobs in construction. Six months before their move to an apartment, Jessica finds out she is pregnant.
Four months later, Jessica and Marco arrive at the county hospital, a large, public, nonteaching hospital. A preliminary ultrasound indicates a possible abnormality with the fetus. Further scans are conducted and it is determined that the fetus has a rare condition in which it has not developed any arms, and will not likely develop them. There is also a 25% chance that the fetus may have Down syndrome.
Dr. Wilson, the primary attending physician, is seeing Jessica for the first time, since she and Marco did not receive earlier prenatal care over concerns about finances. Marco insists that Dr. Wilson refrain from telling Jessica the scan results, assuring him that he will tell his wife himself when she is emotionally ready for the news. While Marco and Dr. Wilson are talking in another room, Aunt Maria walks into the room with a distressed look on her face. She can tell that something is wrong and inquires of Dr. Wilson. After hearing of the diagnosis, she walks out of the room wailing loudly and praying aloud.
Marco and Dr. Wilson continue their discussion, and Dr. Wilson insists that he has an obligation to Jessica as his patient and that she has a right to know the diagnosis of the fetus. He furthermore is intent on discussing all relevant factors and options regarding the next step, including abortion. Marco insists on taking some time to think of how to break the news to Jessica, but Dr. Wilson, frustrated with the direction of the conversation, informs the husband that such a choice is not his to make. Dr. Wilson proceeds back across the hall, where he walks in on Aunt Maria awkwardly praying with Jessica and phoning the priest. At that point, Dr. Wilson gently but briefly informs Jessica of the diagnosis, and lays out the option for abortion as a responsible medical alternative, given the quality of life such a child would have. Jessica looks at him and struggles to hold back her tears.
Jessica is torn between her hopes of a better socioeconomic position and increased independence, along with her conviction that all life is sacred. Marco will support Jessica in whatever decision she makes, but is finding it difficult not to view the pregnancy and the prospects of a disabled child as a burden and a barrier to their economic security and plans. Dr. Wilson lays out all of the options but clearly makes his view known that abortion is “scientifically” and medically a wise choice in this situation. Aunt Maria pleads with Jessica to follow through with the pregnancy and allow what “God intends” to take place, and urges Jessica to think of her responsibility as a mother.


Case Study: Fetal Abnormality
Case Study: Fetal Abnormality
Abortion is one of the most divisive moral issues as it intersects the individual right to one’s body and the right to life of the fetus. It compels decision-makers to also identify the moral worth of a fetus. If the fetus is treated as a human being, then it deserves to live, regardless of existing abnormalities. However, if the fetus lacks human essence, it may be morally permissible to abort it. The case of Jessica’s abnormal fetus heightens the intricacy of the moral dilemma. Each ethical theory that a person holds can impact an abortion decision since it influences the determination of the fetus’ moral status. Marco and Dr. Wilson exhibit rule utilitarianism, Maria holds Christian ethics, and Jessica shows Kantian or deontological ethics. Utilitarianism disregards the moral status of an abnormal fetus that decreases overall happiness; Christian ethics argues that fetuses are as morally valuable as human beings; and Kantian ethics considers the contentions between diverse duties and fetuses as humans and as ends. I agree with Kantian ethics that supports Christian values because a fetus is a human-being-to-be who deserves to be given the chance to live whatever the economic repercussions may be.
Marco and Dr. Wilson both hold a utilitarian perspective which states that the fetus can be aborted because it lacks moral status; however, they have different reasons for their mindsets with Marco being guided by the economic rationale, while the physician is driven by scientific thinking. For the purposes of this paper, rule utilitarianism is applied wherein it assesses the outcomes of an act if it is repeated again as a rule, given the same conditions. Marco appears to be a rule utilitarian as he is focused on the harmful consequences of having an abnormal child. He believes that the fetus must be aborted due to the economic hardship it will generate for their family. At the same time, it is highly possible that the fetus will suffer from its disability. Given the negative consequences of having an abnormal child, Marco rejects the moral value of the fetus. Similarly, Dr. Wilson is a rule utilitarian since he counts the negative effects of having an abnormal baby. He does not believe that the fetus deserves to live in light of its physical and potentially mental illnesses. He differs from Marco, nevertheless, as he emphasizes the scientific nature of abortion; abnormal fetuses are unequal to human beings and somehow must be aborted to save scarce limit...
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