Moral status determines who or what should be regarded as unique or held in high regard. Concerning the value of human life, moral status specifies who is befitting of the pleasure of having equal rights as humankind. Moreover, an organism’s moral status perceives the characteristics that a being should possess to have worth or value. Moral status concepts shape a person’s understanding of the relation between how they direct their choices, what offers a being significance, and what is right or wrong. In the “Fatal Abnormality” case study, a young, married Mexican migrant couple is trying to build a better future for themselves in America. The married couple is expecting a child and quickly discovers that their kid could have a fetal abnormality. The case study shows that Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson have different perspectives on human beings.
Christian View/ Moral Status Theory
The term imago Dei is deduced from the Christian concept of human beings. This idea is premised on the notion that God created humankind in his image, not in physical form, but in God’s attributes. Christians believe that a person should be treated with respect and dignity as God chose them. In Genesis 1:27, the Bible illustrates that all humans were created in God’s image and that each individual retains inherent dignity and moral character (Ross, 2013). Jesus is God’s human embodiment and demonstrates humanity’s worth to God. If God did not care for people, he would not have sent his son to save them from sin.
Today’s medical advancements can differentiate the medical abnormalities of a developing fetus, leading to hard decisions for parents if anomalies are unearthed. Moral status concepts about the fetus’s moral status can help decide how to progress when these anomalies are identified (Dwyer, 2010). All ethical theories concur everybody has moral legitimacy. Each participant views the best approach based on differing moral status concepts in the fetal abnormality case study. Human properties would have a moral status that is coherent with the Christian view of the nature of humanity. According to White (2020), the human properties theory indicates that every human being has a moral status since human parents conceived them and possess a human genetic code. Christians believe that every human being has intrinsic value and dignity because every being is created in God’s image. The religion’s role involves reminding Christians of the intrinsic dignity of each human being, to remind them that none exists only to profit others. However, religious ideology cannot substitute science in ascertaining whether an embryo is or not human.
Theories Used to Determine the Fetus Moral Status.
Maria’s moral position is pro-life, intending to save an unborn child through nonviolent action. Maria appears to be the most psychologically dramatic and sentient personality in the case study, “crying loudly” and “saying a prayer aloud.” Maria, Jessica’s aunt, tries to convince Jessica to “preserve the pregnancy and permit God’s will.” Maria also inspires Jessica to be a virtuous person by integrating relationship properties and reminding her of her “motherly obligation.” Her human and sentient characteristics mainly dominate Maria’s moral standing. Maria thinks Jessica’s fetus is a living being, confirming human properties in favor of pro-life.
Dr. Wilson’s ethical standpoint is pro-abortion, preferring the accessibility of medically induced abortion as a technique of aborting Jessica’s fetus. With applying scientific research methods and western medical principles, Dr. Wilson’s morality is impacted by scientism. Dr. Wilson, Jessica’s physician, provides empirical proof that the unborn child has a disorder as it has not developed any hands and would probably not grow. Moreover, there is a twenty-five percent likelihood that the unborn child may have Down syndrome. Dr. Wilson has a moral duty and responsibility to notify and suggest the best medical option to his patient, Jessica (Beauchamp, & Childress, 2013). Dr. Wilson seeks to persuade Jessica that abortion is an empirically and biologically prudent decision in this circumstance. Because of his systematic and structured approach, Dr. Wilson’s ethical ground is only focused on cognitive properties.
Marco’s stance is pro-choice, lobbying for the termination of unplanned pregnancies. As an immigrant with Hispanic roots, Marco presumes the relationship obligation of the family’s head by requesting Dr. Wilson not to notify Jessica of the tragic update of the abnormal fatality of the unborn child. Rather, Marco opts to take time to consider ways of delivering the news to Jessica. However, once Jessica is aware of the congenital malformations and the prospect of abortion, Marco strongly supports Jessica in whatever decision she makes, voicing his support and encouragement for prochoice. Marco owes his wife Jessica a moral responsibility to be a loving husband by acknowledging the intention to keep or terminate the pregnancy. In this scenario, Marco recognizes that there is no wrong or right path to follow. Although Marco is pro-choice for Jessica, he is pro-abortion for the unborn child. Relationship characteristics back Marco’s moral ground because he is reliant on Jessica’s choice.
Jessica’s moral position is indecisive as to whether to continue the pregnancy or terminate the pregnancy. Jessica’s final determination is strongly influenced by her interactions with Maria, Dr. Wilson, and Marco, each with a distinct moral position on the unborn child. Jessica agrees with Marco that the unborn child may inhibit their socio-economic progression and freedom. Religion, faith, and spirituality are devalued because of this materialistic viewpoint. On the other hand, Jessica regards life as sacred, aligning herself with her God, religious doctrine, and faith. Jessica experiences dispute because of these two opposing viewpoints, which are alluded to as dualism. Jessica’s ethical status is founded on moral agency, which implies she is the sole judge of the rights or wrongs of her deeds or inaction concerning the unborn child.
Influence on recommendations for action
Those who establish their moral standing on human traits believe that humans have significance due to innate facts that could only be attributed to beings. As a result, all people are equal irrespective of age, sex, impairment, or other variables. This would then lead those who presume in this concept to oppose abortion, euthanasia, and damaging diagnostic procedures.
A cognitive properties theory, such as Dr. Wilson’s, is premised on the idea that those with moral standing are only those with basic functioning, which is the basis for high-level functioning. As a result, something that does not seem to get these cognitive factors would be of no value. If the functioning of unborn babies or those with severe psychological disorders is limited, this concept will allow abortion. If one is a moral agent, the concept based on the moral agency is implemented to make a crucial ethical decision. If a person lacks this ability, their moral agency suffers. This approach enables them to take into account the implications of decisions and is based entirely on freedom.
Based on sentience, the moral status theory would ascertain whether a human can be aware of experiencing pain, joy, and delight. In this case, a viable fetus would indicate that the individual upholding this concept is opposed to abortion. Finally, a relationship model is premised on an individual’s relation to another or an entity’s relation to a topic. If one is linked to the other, they may presume they have equal moral legitimacy. If it is a subject, the subject is given moral standing. This concept is based heavily on the participant’s relationship to the situation or individual at hand.
I most strongly agree with the moral status theory of human-based properties. I believe that human beings have moral status since they can reason, have a soul, and are created in God’s image. For instance, even if individuals are on ventilator support and cannot care for themselves, I trust they are still human and deserve respect. The fact that they are unresponsive, unable to care for themselves, or suffering should not ascertain whether I owe them a moral responsibility. As a result, I am anti-abortion, assisted suicide, and harmful diagnostic procedures. Furthermore, I trust there are methods of caring for the baby despite the parents’ low economic background. Other services should be made accessible to them if they choose to keep the newborn.
As individuals, humans each have their ideologies, concepts, and viewpoints on life. Until such difficulty or situation is presented, it is impossible to know exactly what anyone would say, do, or assume in this scenario. Everybody has a unique outlook on life and how they perceive reality. Individuals could be unbiased, caring, and compassionate in their personal and professional relationships and cultivate an ethical compass to offer guidance in today’s modern world if they exhibit an open mind.
Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. (2013). Principles of biomedical ethics (7th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Dwyer, J. (2010). What Is Moral Status and Why Does It Matter? In Moral Status and Human Life: The Case for Children’s Superiority (pp. 9-26). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511779602.002
Ross, M. (2013, April 1). Imago Dei by Mark Ross. Retrieved from https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/imago-dei/
White, N. (2020). God, Humanity, and Human Dignity. Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in health care.