Moral Status – A Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality

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Moral status – a case study essay on fetal abnormality

Based on “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality” and other required topic study materials, write a 750-1,000-word reflection that answers the following questions:

  • What is the Christian view of the nature of human persons, and which theory of moral status is it compatible with? How is this related to intrinsic human value and dignity?
  • Which theory or theories are being used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson to determine the moral status of the fetus? What from the case study specifically leads you to believe that they hold the theory you selected?
  • How does the theory determine or influence each of their recommendations for action?
  • What theory do you agree with? Why? How would that theory determine or influence the recommendation for action?
    Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

Moral Status – A Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality

The Case Study: Fetal Abnormality

Jessica is a Mexican immigrant of 30 years old. She and her husband Marco have been in America for three years and have finally saved enough money to move out of their Aunt Maria’s house and into their own apartment. They are both dedicated employees. Jessica works 50 hours a week at a neighborhood restaurant, while Marco performs construction projects on the side. Jessica learns she is pregnant six months before they move into an apartment.

Jessica and Marco arrive at the county hospital, a huge, public, non-teaching hospital, four months later. A preliminary ultrasound reveals a potential fetal problem. After several scans, it’s discovered that the fetus has an uncommon abnormality in which it hasn’t formed any limbs and is unlikely to develop any. There is also a 25% risk that the fetus will be born with Down syndrome.

Jessica is being seen for the first time by Dr. Wilson, the main attending physician since she and Marco did not obtain prenatal care earlier due to financial concerns. Dr. Wilson refuses to give Jessica the scan findings, and Marco assures him that he will inform his wife personally when she is emotionally prepared.

Aunt Maria enters the room with a troubled expression on her face as Marco and Dr. Wilson are conversing in another room. She notices something is awry and consults Dr. Wilson. She goes out of the room, sobbing and praying aloud, after receiving the diagnosis.

Dr. Wilson emphasizes that he has a commitment to Jessica as his patient and that she has a right to know the fetus’ prognosis. Marco and Dr. Wilson continue their conversation. He also wants to talk about all of the pertinent issues and possibilities for the next step, including abortion. Dr. Wilson, upset with the course of the discussion, warns Marco that such a decision is not his to make. Marco insists on having some time to deliberate about how to deliver the news to Jessica.

Dr. Wilson returns across the hall, where he finds Aunt Maria uncomfortably praying with Jessica and dialing the priest’s number. Dr. Wilson then kindly but briefly tells Jessica the diagnosis and outlines the option of abortion as a responsible medical approach, considering the child’s quality of life. Jessica stares at him, tears welling up in her eyes.

Jessica is divided between her desire for a better socioeconomic position and increasing independence and her belief in the sacredness of all life. Marco will support Jessica in whatever choice she makes, but he is finding it difficult not to see Jessica’s pregnancy and the possibility of having a handicapped kid as a burden and a roadblock to their financial stability and aspirations.

Dr. Wilson lays out all of the choices, but makes it obvious that in this case, abortion is a “scientifically” and medically sound decision. Aunt Maria implores Jessica to go on with the pregnancy and let what “God intended” happen, as well as to consider her responsibilities as a mother.

Moral Status – A Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality

The Case Study Essay

Four people are shown in the “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality” who are able to express their sentiments regarding aborting a baby. Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson are among them. Jessica is carrying a baby with a 25% possibility of Down Syndrome who now lacks limbs and has a poor chance of developing them. Jessica’s husband, Marco, will back her choice. Jessica’s pious aunt, Maria, argues with her about her responsibility to God and this pregnant child. Dr. Wilson is in favor of terminating the pregnancy. These people provide diverse views for assessing a fetus’ moral position.

Moral Status

Dr. Wilson has given the family all of their choices, but based on his medical understanding of the impairments, he strongly supports abortion. Dr. Wilson employs the cognitive properties hypothesis, which claims that in order to acquire a moral position, one must be able to exhibit a degree of awareness and reason that fetuses lack (“Theological anthropology,” 2015). Because the fetus has no moral value under this perspective, it is okay to terminate it.

Maria implores Jessica to consider her responsibilities as a mother to this kid as well as God’s plan. This falls under the category of connection theory. Jessica has a mother-daughter bond with this fetus, as well as a relationship with God; these ties give the fetus moral standing, making abortion illegal. This also supports the divine command idea, which holds that God is the creator and determines morality (Dunstan, 2012).

Jessica is concerned about the financial burden this kid would impose as well as her religious convictions, which prohibit abortion. Jessica is operating as a moral agent, a person working on her own behalf to make the best option possible (Purtilo &Doherty, 2011). Because Jessica will determine the child’s moral position, this illustrates the notion of moral agency. Marco is apprehensive about the additional weight of having a handicapped kid, but he is prepared to help Jessica. Because the moral position of the kid might alter depending on Jessica (“Theological anthropology,” 2015), the hypothesis based on connection is shown.

Moral Status – A Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality

This Authors Opinion

This author believes in sentience and connection theory. Moral position and connections affect moral status in sentient creatures (“Theological anthropology,” 2015). This will have an impact on abortion decisions since the author thinks that a fetus may feel pain and that the mother owes it to the fetus to protect it as well as to God not to harm one of God’s creatures.


When it came to human life, the four people in this case study, as well as the author, had diverse values. As a Christian, the author feels abortion is wrong and contrary to God’s purpose. My view as a nurse, however, should not influence a patient’s choice. Abortion is a tough decision to make, and one that a patient will have to live with for the rest of their life. We have a duty as medical professionals to present all choices in an impartial way.

Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does a fetus have moral status?

According to Mary Warren, a fetus has no moral status independent of its mother but does have a moral position upon birth.

2. What are the theories of moral status?

Utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue theory, the four principles method, and casuistry are examples of moral theories. According to utilitarians, the goal of morality is to maximize the amount of pleasure that each action produces.

3. What is the meaning of moral status?

A person must be susceptible to damage or transgression in order to have moral standing. More precisely, a being has moral standing only if it should not be injured, mistreated, or treated in any other ethically problematic manner for the sake of that being.

Additional content on the topic.


  • Dunstan, A. (2012, February 16). The Divine Command Theory Supports That Abortion is Morally Wrong. In Hubpages. Retrieved from divinecommandtheoryabortion
  • Purtilo, R. B., & Doherty, R. F. (2011). Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.
  • Theological Anthropology and the Phenomenology of Disease and Illness (2015). In Grand Canyon University lecture notes. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from Page=current&operation=innerPage&c

Moral Status – A Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality

Case Study Essay on Fetal Abnormality

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