Biomedical Ethics Essay on Abortion
Medical ethics entails beneficence, justice, and autonomy with relations to subjects, including patient confidentiality, conflict of interest, and informed consent that relate to healthcare. According to Mendis (2019), bioethics involves the study of ethical issues in biology and medicine. It entails moral discernment related to medical policy and practice. Additionally, it deals with the study of values related to primary care and other divisions in medicine. Abortion refers to the deliberate termination of human pregnancy under 28 weeks and is a subject under biomedical ethics as it faces significant controversy. While the proponents of abortion view it as a subject that should be allowed, the pro-life proponents see it as an illegal subject that should be outlawed.
The ethical issue related to abortion includes the perspective that it is a termination of life. A major argument on this perspective is that health workers have the responsibility of saving lives other than killing. Abu-Baker & Mrayyan (2019) elaborate that the argument suggests that abortion is a serious ethical issue and is considered a deontological fault for health workers to perform abortions. Another ethical argument presented views that parents have the responsibility of caring for their children. The role of the health practitioners focuses on initiating and accepting treatments aimed at saving the fetus. Initially, the ethical issue focused on the question of whether the embryo should be regarded as human. The discussion currently focuses on the respect of the fetus right. It questions the moral dignity of the mother following the decision to terminate the life of the embryo. The argument presented is that the mother should focus on saving the life of the unborn.
Human Subject Protections
The human subject protections related to abortion include the need to protect human dignity. The argument suggests that the fetus holds characteristics similar to those of a human being, creating the assumption that it is necessary to protect the life of the fetus. Through the performance of an abortion, the subject of protection of life of the fetus is overlooked. By virtue, having similar characteristics as humans, it is essential to respect fetus life (Moosapour et al., 2018). The life of the fetus should be accorded the same dignity as human life. Through engagement in an abortion, the dignity of the embryo is overlooked.
Strengthening Human Subject Protections
The protection of dignity in the life of the fetus could be enhanced through the creation and implementation of strict legislation against abortion. Through such legislation, abortion could be illegalized, consequently providing higher chances for protection of the fetus’ dignity. There should also be the implementation of sensitization programs to provide awareness on the necessity of protecting fetus dignity through the prevention of abortion.
Informed consent justifies the ability of the mother to engage in abortion in various countries. The mothers are allowed to seek abortion at personal will if they feel that the pregnancy is either unwanted or unplanned. In such cases, following the consent of the mother, the medical practitioners do not have the right to object, but instead, perform the abortion as requested by the expectant mother (Moosapour et al., 2018). Consent is, however, not applicable in countries that outlaw abortion. In such states, the mother does not have the legal right to undergo abortion procedures. Similarly, the law prohibits medical practitioners from performing the procedures.
The sighting of consent guides the argument for the legalization of abortion. A key view is that abortion should be freely conducted in the case that the mother gives consent. The delicate nature of the subject makes informed consent not efficiently adequate. While informed consent works for the mother, it does not apply to the life and dignity of the fetus. Through a successful abortion, while the life of the mother is preserved, the life of the fetus is lost. Deciding that the mother has the right to consent for the termination of the life of the fetus is illegal. Consent should, however, be allowed in the case that the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. The consent should only apply under strict, highly monitored conditions.
Informed consent could be sought through the advance directives or surrogate decision-makers in case the mother is not in the position to make a decision. The consent could be sought if the mother is not in the right state of mind, either as a result of an illness or other psychological issues. The consent could be given based on pre-existing rules, laws, and legislation that permit the decision criteria.
Among the recommendations used to ensure that the right decisions are made include the creation of laws and regulations to guide the circumstances under which the decisions could be made. The second recommendation entails the education of the masses on the subject of abortion. Consequently, before engagement in abortion, there could be efficient deliberation to make the correct choices. The third recommendation entails the provision and counseling services as well as other necessary assistance for the mothers seeking to undergo the procedure. The fourth recommendation entails educating and sensitizing the medical practitioners on the subject while the fifth recommendation involves educating the masses on the need to protect the dignity of the fetus.
Abortion qualifies as biomedical ethics subject due to the controversies associated with it. While some individuals suggest that it should be legalized, there are also individuals suggesting that it should be outlawed. The argument against abortion suggests that it is unethical, holding no dignity to the life of the fetus. There is, however, the application of consent to facilitate abortion. The issuance of the consent should be provided in an informed way to ensures that abortion is only done under limited, unavoidable circumstances.
Abu-Baker, R. Z., & Mrayyan, M. T. (2019). Abortion: Legal and Ethical Argumentations. International Journal of Medical and Biomedical Studies, 3(12).
Mendis, K. (2019). Introduction to Biomedical Ethics.
Moosapour, H., Mashayekhi, J., Zahedi, F., Soltani, A., & Larijani, B. (2018). General approaches to ethical reasoning in Islamic biomedical ethics discourse. Journal of medical ethics and history of medicine, 11.