Current Topic in Ethics Essay
Current Topic in Ethics
The article speaks about a recent incident that took place in Brazil, which brought in to light the ethical and moral values of humans. The story had a two sided approach the first one being from the church of Brazil and the second one from the government side. The incident is regarding a step father raping her 9 year old daughter. The girl confessed that she was under a sexual assault from her step father since the age of 6(Yahoo News, 2009). The man was also convicted of sexually abusing the girl’s 14 year old handicapped sister.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for Bishops said that the abortion carried out by the doctors under the decision of the girl’s mother was totally wrong and the twins that the girl carried had a right to live. On the other hand President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva had other views on the matter. He said that according to the law of Brazil where abortion is illegal and allowed only in case where the health of the child bearing women is endangered the Bishop is totally wrong.
The girl had actually been brought to the hospital after several stomach cramps and it was found that she is pregnant and carrying twins. At the age of 9 doctors commented that it was impossible for the girl to bear the children and an abortion was the only viable option left. As the doctor involved in the abortion Rivaldo Albuquerque said that it was important for us to save the life of the girl(Yahoo News,2009). Ethical Issues The article raised several ethical issues regarding human rights and social rights.
Firstly the rape case as the man had committed was illegal and should be punished according to the government law of the country. Secondly the issue of child abuse as an ethical issue is also being raised by this incident which is another offense of the law and needs to be punished. Third and the most important issue which has been raised by this incident are of abortion which according to the law of Brazil is illegal. The fourth issue has been raised to contradict the third one which is another face of the same law of abortion which is banned.
Abortion is only allowed in case the health of the child bearing women is endangered. The fifth ethical issue is the sexual assault of the other handicapped girl sister of the girl which was actually sexually assaulted. All these ethical issues have come forward due to this incident and need to be taken care of by the Brazilian government. Ethical Theories There are many ethical theories and fields of ethics that are present but only some that are relevant would be applied to this case. We will consider each theory one by one and apply it on the case to deduct a result. Greek Philosophy
Socrates emphasized that a person to be ethically correct needs to realize the importance of human life and existence. A person would act rightly and correctly if he or she is self aware and knows the importance of life. Bad deeds or evil deeds are a result of ignorance and if the person knows the consequences of doing wrong he or she would never commit that act (MacKinnon, 2008). According to the theory of Socrates the man who committed the assault was unaware of the consequences of the act to be specific he thought that he would get away with his actions but only the pregnancy of the girl brought up the matter.
The case of abortion according to this Greek philosophy is a bit controversial as the importance of human life needs to be considered and in this case whether to save the girl or the twins she was carrying was a decision to be made. Normative Ethics This field of ethics focuses on the rightness and wrongness of actions to judge whether they are ethical or not. The theory says that actions were mainly judged by the intentions of a person as in whether they are right or wrong (Kagan, 1997).
According to this theory the man in the case is found guilty of committing a crime and should be punished accordingly as his intention was truly wrong and hence his actions also become wrong. Then the abortion of the child was also morally ethical as the life of the girl was endangered by her pregnancy, hence according to this theory the decision of abortion is also ethically correct. Meta Ethics This approach of ethics is a bit different from other approaches as it looks at the reasons for the truth and decides up on the validity of the reasons as to whether the actions that led to the truth were ethical or non ethical (Miller, 2003).
According to this theory the actions of the man were totally unethical as the man had committed an immoral act, which is the truth. The reason for this act was his uncontrollable desires, which were unethical. Abortion was performed because it was the only option through which the girl could be saved. The reason for the abortion was the fact that the doctors had to save the life of the girl and could take no risks, hence the act of abortion was morally ethical. Descriptive Ethics
This is a newer field of ethics than normative ethics and focuses on the choices that were available to the person and the one he or she picked according to that his or her actions are judged to be ethical or not. According to this theory the man is still found to be guilty and should be punished as the choices he made were ethically incorrect and on the other hand the abortion done by the doctors was also morally ethical as they had limited choices and needed to save the girl. The doctors agreed on the fact that the girl who was only 9 years old could not carry the burden of pregnancy and hence had to be saved through abortion.
Conclusion During this paper we looked up on different theories and fields of ethics. These fields and theories were applied on the case and the deduction of whether this ethical issue were correctly dealt or not was focused. The conclusion is not merely my own decision but the result of applying the ethical theories on the case. These theories when applied clearly highlight the fact that the man should be punished according to the law of Brazil and the decision of abortion made by the mother of the girl and carried out by the doctors was a correct one in the circumstances that were presented.
References: Kagan S. (1997) Normative Ethics, Westview Press. MacKinnon B. (2008) Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues. Wadsworth Publishing. Miller A. (2003) An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics, Polity. Yahoo News (March 8, 2009). Vatican defends Brazil excommunication. Retrived on March 10, 2009 from http://au. news. yahoo. com/a/-/world/5375029/vatican-defends-brazil-excommunication/