Every well-functioning society rests on universal philosophical beliefs and assumptions which govern the way people act and behave in it. Yet, there are always some challenging areas where members of society cannot reach a consensus, and the question of moral status is one of them. The answer to it is crucial for the life of every person since it determines their attitude to other living beings and their moral obligation to them (Wireless Philosophy, 2014). Naturally, over centuries, people have come to form various approaches to this question, which now constitute different theories of moral status. The problem of determining whether it is acceptable to abort a fetus with abnormalities is also linked to this question since people may have different recommendations depending on which theory of moral status they espouse.
Christianity teaches that all human beings possess personhood, despite their moral or physical capacities, this means that every individual has worth, by their very nature. According to the Bible, every person has been created in God’s image, which implies that all people matter and their lives are inherently valuable and sacred (Stahl & Kilner, 2017). The Christian view of the human person’s nature aligns with the moral status theory based on human properties, which postulates that entities have moral status if they possess physical or non physical properties such as DNA or consciousness. The similarity is expressed through the fact that both of the approaches recognize that every being who represents the human race cannot be denied their intrinsic worth and importance as a person (White, n.d.). The idea of an individual’s value granted by God or by their human properties highlights dignity as an essential part of every human, the quality which all people have to respect.
Jessica is a believer, and her choice in the situation is considerably influenced by the Christian views on the nature of human beings, which makes her view the fetus as a person. Moreover, following the theory based on relationships, she can be considered the bearer of the moral status of the fetus, which also enables her to consider it a human. Marco does not want a disabled child, which indicates the fact that he espouses the moral agency theory because it allows him to see the child as incapable of moral decisions in the future. Maria is a religious person, and her views on the fetus are also shaped by her Christin beliefs and the relationships theory since she asks Jessica to keep the child (White, n.d.). Dr. Wilson proposes abortion as a “scientifically” reasonable decision because the fetus lacks cognitive functions, which makes it possible to characterize him as holding the theory of cognitive properties.
The Christian views espoused by Jessica enable her to decline the doctor’s offer and keep the fetus since, according to her religious beliefs, life is God’s gift. Similarly, Maria already begs Jessica not to abort the fetus because her religion teaches her that life cannot be taken from a person. Also, Jessica, following the theory based on relationships, is the bearer of the moral status of the fetus, and aborting it would mean that she would fail her obligation to it. Marco is concerned with the financial implications of having a disabled child, and the theory based on moral agency allows him to entertain the idea of aborting the fetus since it cannot make any moral decisions. Dr. Wilson is a man of science and has a lot of professional experience, and the theory of cognitive properties, which he adheres to, lets him suggest that the best option would be to abort the fetus.
I completely agree with the theory of human properties since it reflects my views concerning life and the way it should be treated. I can’t say that some living beings cannot have moral status, for example, simply because they cannot communicate their ideas. It is reasonable to recognize every person as possessive of moral status since they are, by their nature, human, and thus, have a right to dignity. Following this theory, I would decide to keep the fetus, despite the fact it would have abnormalities because aborting it would mean ending a human life, which is unacceptable and wrong. Yet, as a nurse and a professional, I must not interfere with patients’ decisions, and my recommendation would be to consider all the possible outcomes, including abortion.
The question of the moral status of a person is an important one since it has many philosophical implications, the answer to this question also determines people’s views on abortion, including of a fetus with abnormalities. The Christian belief that every human life is sacred and intrinsically valuable fits the theory of moral status based on human properties, which implies that abortion is unacceptable. The theory of moral status based on relationships postulates that a pregnant woman has an obligation to the fetus as a bearer of its moral status, which also eliminates the possibility of abortion. The theories based on moral agency and cognitive properties state that a being cannot be considered a person unless they make moral decisions or demonstrate cognitive functions, respectively, and mean that abortion is possible. I believe that abortion is immoral and agree with the theory of human properties since it reflects my views on human life.
Stahl, D., & Kilner, J. F. (2017). The image of God, bioethics, and persons with profound intellectual disabilities. Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, 6(1-2), 19–40. Web.
White, N.H. (n.d.). God, Humanity, and Human Dignity.
Wireless Philosophy. (2014). PHILOSOPHY – Ethics: Moral status. YouTube. Web.