Case Study: Fetal Abnormality

Life offers various challenges and hardships, and it is through these elements that people gain experience in life. These challenges often come in the form of decisions that people make, and they could make or break a person. However, decision-making at times is not a matter of life and death; it can be a way in which to learn to prevent future generations from making the same mistakes. In the case study presented, Jessica and Marco need to make a decision based on a report that has been submitted to them by Dr. Wilson. The doctor discovered Jessica’s fetus, and it has been concluded to be abnormal in that the fetus is unable t0 develop arms, and there is a possibility of Down’s syndrome at a rate of 25%.

In addition to this, Aunt Maria has made a suggestion that but they all had a different opinion on the type of decision they were going to make. They argued about their financial situation, individual interests, and their faith. However, in the long run, there were only two decisions to make, which was to either keep the fetus or raise an abnormal child or to do an abortion of the pregnancy. They all had different moral status theories, and this came before factoring in all the considerations before making the final decision. There are specific theories that will be highlighted to establish the type of decisions that these two individuals have made.

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Theories used to determine the Moral Status of the Fetus

Jessica feels the need to be financially independent in the future, but at the same time, she believes that life has to be protected, and this is because it is valuable. Jessica’s belief in the value of life as moral status is anchored on the basis that it is alive. She has to make a decision based on the option of keeping the pregnancy because, to her, life is sacred, and it is valuable (Minerva, 2013). 

Marco is also in the thick of it, and this situation worries him, and this is based on the fact that raising a child with an abnormality could strain their finances because the child would need special care. To add to this, Marco is unsure of the possibility of the child being born with Down ‘s syndrome because the chances of the fetus having the abnormality are at 25%, and this could mean that the child could have mental capabilities. These are the issues that show up differently in both characters. The man is more concerned about the more technical factors of the situation the woman is worried about the values and moral standpoint. Marco’s assessment seems to be logical because many people with disabilities are able to survive in the world successfully (Minerva, 2013). 

As per GCU analysis, Marco is referring to the fetus at its current age as not having moral status according to three theories, which are the theory of consciousness, philosophy of sentience, and the theory of moral agency (Bernstein, 2015). GCU further defines moral agency as the capacity to make a judgment if something is done worse or best, and whether the intentions can be morally judged. According to Minerva, s fetus cannot be able to function rationally, and it cannot be able to experience pleasure or pain until it is around 28 weeks old. As per the case study, the fetus has not yet attained the specified age, according to Minerva (Minerva, 2013). Marco could try and use the theory of agency, sentience, and consciousness while trying to avoid the issues of finances.

The theory of moral agency presents itself when Aunt Maria does not give any encouragement on the termination of the fetus by Jessica, and this is due to her maternal instinct. A person ought to respect other people’s rights and to avoid interfering with them because of their relationship (Crisp, 2014). Jessica cannot kill the fetus because of the bond between her and her unborn child. 

The theory of moral agency based on the relationship also applies to Dr. Wilson and his relationship with his patient. Dr. Wilson has to respects the rights and decisions made by both Marco and Jessica, and this is based on their contact (Chen, 2014). The main reason is that people have rights as well as their principles and values. The theory of sentience is applied in the field of medicine, and this involves the rights of animals, which is highly regarded and carried out with high respect. 

The fetus will eventually grow into a person, and this is irrespective of that fetus’s imperfection. The embryo will develop as God has intended that being to create. Dr. Wilson understands the situation, and he tells Jessica that she has to have the final word regardless of the decisions and views of the other people. A fetus does not have moral status, and this is because the fetus lacks rationality, which is based on language and self-awareness and the fact that they cannot be able to protect themselves (Bernstein, 2015). However, the fetus will develop and grow into a rational being, and this is where the conflict arises.

The fetus should be given a chance, and this is because there is a chance of the outcome being different from what people think. The baby who is born could end up being mentally capable or incapable, and this is not certain. However, due to financial constraints, everything is working against the couple and their faith. This is a dilemma, and the fact that there is a bond between the mother and the child is a massive hindrance in trying to take the most affirmative action (Bernstein, 2015).


Bernstein, M. H. (2015). The moral equality of humans and animals. Springer.

Crisp, N., & Chen, L. (2014). Global supply of health professionals. New England Journal of  Medicine, 370 (10), 950-957.Giubilini, A., & Minerva, F. (2013). After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?. Journal of medical ethics, 39 (5), 261-263.

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