Case Study on Moral Status Essay

Moral Status


The case study involves making a moral decision about aborting a fetus with a suspected abnormality. An ultrasound showed that the fetus had a 25% of getting down syndrome and the possibility of the fetus not developing arms. The doctor (Dr. Wilson); the father (Marco); the mother (Jessica); and Maria an auntie to Jessica are faced with a moral dilemma about the fetus. Dr. Wilson supports fetal abortion because of the possible down syndrome while Jessica is against abortion due to her religious beliefs. This paper will discuss different theories that everyone in the case study uses to decide about the fetus’ moral status.  Case Study on Moral Status Essay

According to the Christian view, God is supreme and the giver of life and the creator of everything. Therefore, only God has the authority to terminate life. Therefore, according to the Christian view, the fetus, the sick, the disabled, and the deformed are human beings and this should be included in the Christian image of a human (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). A fetus has a special standing before God and thus human beings should also view a fetus as special (Stahl & Kilner, 2017). The Christian view is compatible with the divine command theory. According to the divine command theory, God is the giver of life and He alone should take away life. Therefore, terminating life through abortion is wrong. The moral status of both Christian view and divine command theory is that Jessica should not terminate the pregnancy because the fetus even with the suspected possible down syndrome is the image of God that deserves to live (Bogue & Hogan, 2020).

The moral position of Dr. Wilson is due to his medical knowledge about down syndrome and thus his position is to have the fetus aborted.  The position of Dr. Wilson is informed by the theory of cognitive properties. The theory opines that the moral status of an individual is influenced by the person’s knowldge and rationality, not present in other parties (Buckner, 2015). Therefore, the doctor’s moral status is informed by scientism as he uses medical knowledge and science to inform his position.

Maria opposes the position to abort the fetus because she believes the decision belongs to Jessica as the mother. The perspective of Maria on the fetal moral status is thus informed by theory based on relationships. As per the theory, a person should respect the rights of other people and should use the relationships appropriately (Baumeister, 2017). For example, a parental relationship renders it wrong for a parent to kill an offspring. Jessica is the mother to the fetus and thus a maternal relationship in addition to having a close relationship with God. The two relationships thus confer the fetus a moral status. Therefore, the decision to abort the fetus is wrong as per this standpoint. The moral agency theory is also applicable to Maria. This is obvious when Maria prompts Jessica to be the fetus’ moral agent and use the maternal relationship to not abort the fetus (Baumeister, 2017). Maria is also using the divine command theory by arguing that God is the author of life and thus no one else should terminate a life (Stahl & Kilner, 2017).

Jessica’s position is supported by moral agency theory. Jessica is the mother and thus she is torn between the economic weight posed by the unborn child and the spiritual beliefs that go against abortion. She will also decide the fetus’ moral status and thus she will act as a moral agent. The moral agency theory postulates that moral position involves being able to distinguish between what is right and wrong (Baumeister, 2017).


The theory based on relationships applied to Marco who is the father to the fetus and partner to Jessica. According to Marcos, he will support Jessica’s decision based on their relationship. Marco’s decision to support Jessica on the decision she makes is based on the relationship he has with her.

I support the moral agency theory. Even though I am a catholic and I concur with the theory, I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion and they should make their individual decisions. Therefore, Jessica being the mother to the fetus should decide on what to do depending on what she feels is right or wrong. The decision for Jessica to carry the pregnancy to term or terminate the pregnancy is solely hers (Baumeister, 2017).


The doctor’s position was informed by the theory of cognitive properties basing on his competency and scientific knowledge regarding the risks and burden down syndrome poses. The positions of Marco and Maria were informed by theory based on relationships as their relationship with Jessica is what informs their moral standing. The moral status of Jessica is informed by the moral agency theory and thus she feels it would be morally wrong for a mother to terminate the life of her child. Even though I agree with the moral agency theory, my position is that everyone has a free will to make their own decisions and this should be respected.


Baumeister D. (2017). Social Conceptions of Moral Agency in Hegel and Sellars. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 25(2), 249-265.

Bogue D & Hogan M. (2020). Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision Making in Health Care.

Buckner C. (2015). A property cluster theory of cognition. Philosophical Psychology Journal, 28(3), 307-336.

Nilsen P. (2015). Making sense of implementation theories, models, and frameworks. Implement Sci, 10(53).

Panda B & Leepsa N. (2017). Agency theory: Review of Theory and Evidence on Problems and Perspectives. Indian Journal of Corporate Governance,1(1).

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.  Case Study on Moral Status Essay

Based on “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality” and the 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 the 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.

Case Study: Fetal Abnormality

Jessica is a 30-year-old immigrant from Mexico City. She and her husband Marco have been in the United States for the last three years and have finally earned enough money to move out of their Aunt Maria’s home and into an apartment of their own. They are both hard workers. Jessica works 50 hours a week at a local restaurant and Marco has been contracting side jobs in construction. Six months before their move to an apartment, Jessica finds out she is pregnant.

Four months later, Jessica and Marco arrive at the county hospital, a large, public, nonteaching hospital. A preliminary ultrasound indicates a possible abnormality with the fetus. Further scans are conducted, and it is determined that the fetus has a rare condition in which it has not developed any arms and will not likely develop them. There is also a 25% chance that the fetus may have Down syndrome.

Dr. Wilson, the primary attending physician, is seeing Jessica for the first time, since she and Marco did not receive earlier prenatal care over concerns about finances. Marco insists that Dr. Wilson refrain from telling Jessica the scan results, assuring him that he will tell his wife himself when she is emotionally ready for the news. While Marco and Dr. Wilson are talking in another room, Aunt Maria walks into the room with a distressed look on her face. She can tell that something is wrong and inquires of Dr. Wilson. After hearing of the diagnosis, she walks out of the room wailing loudly and praying aloud.

Marco and Dr. Wilson continue their discussion, and Dr. Wilson insists that he has an obligation to Jessica as his patient and that she has a right to know the diagnosis of the fetus. He furthermore is intent on discussing all relevant factors and options regarding the next step, including abortion. Marco insists on taking some time to think of how to break the news to Jessica, but Dr. Wilson, frustrated with the direction of the conversation, informs the husband that such a choice is not his to make. Dr. Wilson proceeds back across the hall, where he walks in on Aunt Maria awkwardly praying with Jessica and phoning the priest. At that point, Dr. Wilson gently but briefly informs Jessica of the diagnosis and lays out the option for abortion as a responsible medical alternative, given the quality of life such a child would have. Jessica looks at him and struggles to hold back her tears.

Jessica is torn between her hopes of a better socioeconomic position and increased independence, along with her conviction that all life is sacred. Marco will support Jessica in whatever decision she makes but is finding it difficult not to view the pregnancy and the prospects of a disabled child as a burden and a barrier to their economic security and plans. Dr. Wilson lays out all of the options but clearly makes his view known that abortion is “scientifically” and medically a wise choice in this situation. Aunt Maria pleads with Jessica to follow through with the pregnancy and allow what “God intends” to take place and urges Jessica to think of her responsibility as a mother.

Case Study on Moral Status Essay


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