In this specific case study by GCU, (2015), about fetal abnormality there is the mother-to-be Jessica, the father-to-be Marco, the aunt named Maria and Dr. Wilson who is the attending physician in the county hospital. Jessica who is four months pregnant goes to the hospital with her husband to see Dr. Wilson. He informs them about the rare fetal abnormality and possibility of Down syndrome. The following paragraphs will explain the theories that are being used by each individual in the case study: Maria: the aunt believes that Jessica has a “responsibility as a mother” to go through with the pregnancy as “God intends” it to happen. (GCU, 2015) She believes that prayer and involvement of the priest is the appropriate action. She may believe that all living organisms have a moral status including the fetus. To her, the fetus is sentient and able to feel the mother but not yet able to smell or see her. (Sentient, 2015)
The fetus will become a person, even though it may be imperfect and deformed, it will be as God made it. Dr. Wilson: he believes that Jessica should have options and that is ultimately her final decision, no one else’s. He tells her about the “scientifically” appropriate plan of aborting the pregnancy as one of the medical alternatives due to the likelihood of the child having poor quality of life. To Dr. Wilson, the fetus may not have amoral status because he or she does not have self-awareness, language, or rationality. (Sebo, n.d.) The fetus, even if born may be mentally and physically disabled. As a fetus, it is unable to be aware for example of dangers posed by upcoming tsunami or a hurricane. Is it really a person? According to Glubilini and Minerva, (2011), “although fetuses and newborns are not persons, they are potential persons because they can develop, thanks to their own biological mechanisms, those properties which will make them ‘persons’ in the sense of ‘subjects of a moral right to life’: that is, the point at which they will be able to make aims and appreciate their own life.” (Para.18)
Jessica: she has a moral obligation to the fetus because she is responsible for him or her. It is growing inside her as God intended it and it is a living organism. It has human properties but not necessarily cognition. The fetus is unable to understand what is right or wrong yet it has a special relationship with the mother for it is growing in her uterus and it is a part of her during that time. Marco: he supports whatever decision Jessica will make but is can’t help but think about the financial burden this will place on them because even if the child grows up he or she will not be able to have all the cognitive properties but should be a sentient life form.
I believe that all living organisms have a moral status but I also believe in quality of life. The mother should be able to carry the child full term but she should also consider the consequences such as the long term care and resources the child will require. When it is born it may cause stress on the parents and likely on the aunt because they will no longer be able to move out of her house. It may break up the marriage and cause inconsistencies in the child’s care.
Grand Canyon University (GCU), (2015). Case study: Fetal abnormality. HLT310V Glubilini, A., Minerva, F. (2011). After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live? Journal of Medical Ethics. doi:10.1136 Sebo, J. (n.d). Moral status. [Web video]. Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/wi-phi/value-theory-1/v/moral-status Sentient (2015). In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sentient