The moral status of life can be regarded as the theoretical framework that tends to explain how it should be treated in terms of its moral rights, entitlements, preferences, and needs in accordance with its moral worth and substantiality. A case study on the moral status of a fetus with abnormality has been used to evaluate the different concepts of determining a life’s moral status through ethical discussions. To most people, all human lives are perceived to be of equal value and a superior moral status to the life of animals. To others, some human lives are presumed to be of a higher moral status than others based on individual characteristics such as the capacity to feel pleasure and pain among others. It is imperative to evaluate various theories that offer different interpretations of moral status in terms of moral thinking and behavior so as to comprehend nuances in determining a person’s moral worth.
The Theory Employed by Jessica and its Impact on Her Choice of Action
Jessica, the fetus’ mother, uses the Human Properties Theory to base her arguments on determining the moral status of the fetus. As per the theory, all beings that have characteristics of a person are thought to be of equal moral status (Rusthoven & Bartholomew, 2014). As a result, there is no predetermined hierarchy of evaluating whether oneВ’s life has a higher moral status than that of others since they all have equivalent moral rights and deliberations. In this regard, all beings born to a human parent should be protected simply based on the fact that they have a human genetic code. Nevertheless, the theory also acknowledges that human moral status is not universal as it is morally acceptable to kill one person to save another as they are both of equal moral status.
In this respect, Jessica has to choose between the option of a better economic life and freedom and the principle that all lives are precious and of equal moral status. Jessica’s concerns are attributed to the fact that having the child would pose a financial burden, and considering that they are of equal moral status, it would be justifiable for her to abort the child so as to attain a better social-economic position and independence. This is because the child would need special care and individualized attention after its birth. On the other hand, Jessica also views the fetus as a human being of equal moral status based on its genetics despite the anomalies pointed out by the doctor. In this regard, Jessica feels that the child deserves the right to life, and she has a duty to protect the fetus from any form of harm.
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The Theory Employed by Marco and Its Impact on His Choice of Action
Marco who is Jessica’s husband and the fetus father employs the rationality theory in determining the moral status of the fetus. As per the theory, rationality is observed as a unique character in human beings that allows them to be virtuous and apply reasoning to their actions (Camosy, 2012). As such, Aristotle claimed that all deficiencies of any being that deter them from fulfilling their unique function of a human being should be avoided through the doctrine that virtue is a mean between deficiency and excess. As a result, rationality is outlined as a necessary though not an adequate condition for evaluating a moral status. Likewise, the theory also contends that rationality is perceived in different degrees whereby the rational soul of women and children is not like that of a man since their actions are not ruled by it (Camosy, 2012).
In this prospect, Marco pleaded with the doctor to refrain from telling Jessica the diagnostic results as he feared that she was not in her right state to make a rational decision based on emotions. This is attributed to the fact that Jessica is a woman whose rationality is seen as not fully developed; thus, her actions could not be based on logic in determining the morals status of the fetus. Likewise, Marco decides to support Jessica in whatever resolution she agrees to make but finds it challenging not to view the fetus as an encumbrance. This conforms to the rationality principle of avoiding deficiencies that deter humans from performing their unique function of human beings, thus; the fetus is professed to have no moral status.
The Theory Employed by Aunt Maria and Its Impact on Her Choice of Action
On the other hand, Aunt Maria is perceived to have used two theories in determining the fetus’ moral status. First, she employs the moral agency theory which prompts an individual to define and evaluate the moral status of another being based on the principle of right and wrong. The theory calls on the doctrines of justice and law that make an individual responsible for making decisions freely as moral agents. Secondly, Aunt Maria employs the theory of relationship to determine the fetus’s morals status. According to Rusthoven and Bartholomew (2014), this theory holds that a personВ’s moral status is based on his/her relationship with others.
As such, Aunt Maria developed a relationship between Jessica and the fetus with abnormality when she urges her to think of her responsibility as a mother. She tries to direct Jessica in evaluating the moral status of the fetus by reviewing the motherВ’s responsibility for a child thereby pleading with her not to opt for abortion. In addition, she brings God into in the equation by telling Jessica to allow GodВ’s will to take place. Aunt Maria believes that it is wrong for Jessica to abort the child as it would be unjust towards not only the fetus but also God who intended the pregnancy to occur.
The Theory Employed by Dr. Wilson and Its Impact on His Choice of Action
The theory employed by Dr. Wilson towards evaluating the moral status of the fetus is the sentience theory. As per Coeckelbergh (2012), the morality of a being is evaluated based on the concept of consciousness which includes its ability to feel pleasure and pain. In this regard, the theory conforms with the moral status of being which refers to the aspect of the mind and consciousness. This is further supported by utilitarianism theory which considers the morality of an action in evaluating the moral status of a being that should be aimed at maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain (Coeckelbergh, 2012). With that, moral status is only applicable to people who can experience pain and pleasure. In this respect, the doctor does not view the fetus as having moral status based on the fact that it has no consciousness. As a result, he presents abortion as the most reasonable procedure based on the quality of life the fetus would have. His main drive is minimizing pain for the fetus and maximizing happiness for the parents who would be burdened by taking care of the child.
Personal Perspective on the Most Credible Theory and Course of Action
Considering the above-mentioned arguments, the theory that I would approve of is the sentience theory that was employed by the doctor. This is because the moral status of a person should be based on its level of awareness. In this regard, the fetus has a lower moral status compared to the parents who can feel pain from raising a child with a disability. Thus, the most probable course of action would be going for abortion as it would maximize pleasure for the parents and minimize pain for the fetus which conforms to the utilitarianism principle. This would be the best choice considering the fact that the child would significantly suffer if born with no deep interests, meaning, and cognitive ability.