Case Study on Moral Status

Case Study on Moral Status

In various aspects of life, human beings encounter hardships and challenging dilemmas. Often, we are required to make a decision about circumstances we face but the options we take, can either break or build our future (Doherty & Purtilo, 2015). Jessica and her husband Marco also faced a moral difficulty of the health status of their unborn child, and this necessitated a decision, but they faced a host of challenges. In this “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality,” Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson are the interested persons for this moral situation. A conflict between religious perspective and the reality of the financial status of the couple result in a dilemma on an option to take in this situation. The present study delves into Christian perspectives on human life, a description of different theories of moral status and attempts to provide a decision based on a number of options for the couple.

Christian View about the Nature of Human Persons and the Theory of Moral Status

According to the Christian perspective, human beings are viewed as sacred creatures int

Case Study on Moral Status

Case Study on Moral Status

rinsically modeled in the image of God. The religious view holds that human person ought to be preserved from conception through the entire life up to death. Besides, the Christian view illustrates that human society deserves to be renewed to sustain the Maker’s love due to the bondage of sin emancipated by Christ (Killmister, 2017). In contemporary society, Christian faith battles against physical and moral evils which contributes to the conditions pertaining to the dignity of human person. The foundations of human dignity are based on the rights to food, shelter, clothing the right to earn a living for the well-being of a family.

The moral status theory on human properties is compatible with the Christian view on the nature of the human person. According to the theory, human persons have full moral status since they are conceived by human parents and therefore have a human genetic code. Besides, the theory confers dignity to human person and that the latter have rights that ought to be valued.

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Theories used by the Four Individuals

In this case, Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson have different opinions to guide decisions on the next

Case Study on Moral Status

Case Study on Moral Status

cause of action. The response in action commences after the diagnosis made by Dr. Wilson. In proposing for abortion on medical grounds for the fetus, Dr. Wilson utilizes the theory of cognitive properties. The theory postulates that in order for a human person to have moral status, one needs to manifest a level of awareness and rationality and the fetus do not demonstrate either of these characteristics (Bernstein, 2015). In other words, the unborn child has no moral status to accept or reject abortion. Dr. Wilson also uses the theory of moral agency when he informs Jessica that the next cause of actions depends on her decision about the situation.

Jessica is trapped in the dilemma of financial independence and her belief on the value of life. She has a moral obligation and a perception that she is responsible for the well-being of the fetus. With this, Jessica utilizes the theory of moral agency, and therefore she has an option to keep the pregnancy if she considers life valuable as well as sacred (Kaczor, 2014). Likewise, Aunt Maria is opposed to the idea of the termination of the fetus. She believes that it was God’s intention for the status of the unborn child and that Jessica had an obligation to respect it (Kaczor, 2014). Based on this, Maria takes into account the divine command theory whereby God is considered as the sole creator and also the source of morality to human people. She also uses the theory of moral agency which states that an individual should not interfere with the rights of other people simply because they have a relationship with them (Killmister, 2017). This is consistent with an argument on the relationship between a parent and a child or fetus. Parents, for instance, need to protect and nurture but not to kill their child or terminate the life of their fetus.

On the other hand, Marco utilizes the moral agency theory when he reflected upon the status of the unborn child. He also takes into account the consciousness and sentience theory by focusing on the value of life as opposed to scientific or financial perspective (Bernstein, 2015). Marco reflects on the life he would lead with a Down’s syndrome child who also presents other disabilities related to deformed limbs.

How the Theories Influence their Recommendations for Action

The theory of cognitive properties is based on the evaluation of the quality of life outcome on the patient as predicted by Dr. Wilson. This may initiate the need for an abortion as Jessica and Marco may not be in a position to support the care of the child in his developmental stages after it is borne (Doherty & Purtilo, 2015). The moral agency and the divine command theories, on the other hand, compel Jessica to keep the child. The weight of the decision is against the termination of the fetus and Jessica is likely to keep the pregnancy.

The Chosen Theory and Conclusion

Based on the case presented, I choose the sentience theory since I believe that the fetus lacks the consciousness for pain or pleasure and perception or thought. My choice for the theory is also guided by an argument that the fetus has no sufficient capacity for a moral status. Based on this premise, I propose a recommendation for an abortion. This is because the fetus has developmental deformities which will be expensive for the poor parents to sustain if they want the child to have a quality life. Giving birth to a disabled child may also comprise the intimate relationship of the couple which might lead to a break-up.



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

Doherty, R. F., & Purtilo, R. B. (2015). Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Kaczor, C. (2014). The ethics of abortion: Women’s rights, human life, and the question of justice. Routledge.

Killmister, S. (2017). Dignity: personal, social, human. Philosophical Studies174(8), 2063-2082.