PHI-413V Case Study on Moral Status Solved

Case Study on Moral Status

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?

Case Study on Moral Status

The need for moral status and human dignity are intrinsic part of human nature and essential in healthcare provision. Health care practitioners, including physicians and nurses, should understand the moral status of human beings when making decisions on the type of interventions suitable for different health conditions (Smidt, 2018). Moral compass guides people in making decisions based on their worldviews. In this case, four individuals, Jessica, Marco, Maria and Dr. Wilson contemplate on different aspects of moral status of a fetus with abnormality. While the physician recommends termination of the pregnancy due to the possibility of the baby being born with Down Syndrome, Jessica, Maria and Marco have to contemplate the suggestion from different angle. The purpose of this essay is to discuss various aspects of moral status as presented in the case.

Christian View of the Nature of Human Persons related theory of moral Status and Intrinsic Human Value and Dignity

The Christian view of the nature of human persons is that human beings are created by God in His image and likeness. Therefore, human nature has intrinsic value based their likeness to God who gives them life. For Christians, each living human being has a spirit which gives them the respect and inherent human dignity. Human beings must live the love relationship and care for each other. The implication is that every human being should care and love one another and look to seek ways or justifications to take away life. Christianity advances that life starts at conception and even embryos and fetuses have dignity as other grown human beings.

The theory of moral status related to the Christian view of nature of human persons is the human properties which holds that human characteristics confer moral status upon an individual. According to this theory, the characteristics that endow a human being with moral status include being conceived from human parents and having a human genetic order (Beauchamp & Childress, 2019). Therefore, the theory aligns with the Christian view that life begins at conception and one is a human being even before they are born or are fetus. In this case, the fetus has moral status making to possess intrinsic value and human dignity that all should respect despite its condition.

Human beings possess intrinsic value and dignity by virtue of being the only creatures that are created in God’s image. This image exists equally in all human being irrespective of one’s worldview and religion or whether one is a believer or not. Any theory of moral status that equates the intrinsic values and dignity of human beings with external features or any function a human being must undertake, fails to be compatible with the Christian view on the nature of human persons. The implication is that human dignity and value should confer with the Christian conception of moral status as conferred by God.

Theories Being Used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson to Determine Moral Status of the Fetus

The individuals in the case use different theories to confer moral status on the fetus. Jessica is the mother of the unborn fetus and based on her indecisiveness, she uses human properties theory and relationship theory (Brown, 2018). Based on the human properties theory, which is compatible with the Christian view on nature of human persons, Jessica and Maria believe that the fetus is a human being that should live and not be terminated. However, Jessica is in dilemma due to the burden that the child will create on the family because of the possibility of being born with Down Syndrome. Her actions demonstrate her affectionate relationship as the mother to the unborn child while using her Christian view, she knows that life is sacred.

Maria, Jessica’s aunt, is a strong Christian who holds the view that Jessica has an obligation as a mother and Christian to bear the pregnancy and have the baby despite the cognitive disabilities that it may have like developing Down Syndrome. She uses relationship theory and human properties theory which is compatible with the Christian view on nature of human beings (Brown, 2018). According to Maria, the fetus has been conceived from human parents and has a relationship with the mother and should not be terminated. On his part, Marco uses the relationship theory as his decision is based on what Jessica will choose. He contemplates the financial burden and barrier to economic security and plans that the disabled child will constitute and leaves Jessica to make the ultimate decision. He believes that whatever decision that Jessica makes will be good for them.

Dr. Wilson is a medical practitioner who insists that the decision to terminate the pregnancy or not belongs to Jessica. Therefore, based on scientific and medical evidence, the only option is an abortion. Consequently, Dr. Wilson bases his decision on cognitive properties, moral agency theory and sentience models. according to him the fetus does not have moral status since it cannot make judgment, and lacks cognitive properties because it does not understand processes or being aware based on perception and memory. The fetus cannot think and understand. Lastly, he position is that the fetus cannot feel pain or pleasure and does not qualify as human being.

How Theories Determine or Influence their Positions

The theory advanced by each individual influences and determines their recommended actions about the fetus. For instance, Dr. Wilson’s theories of moral agency, sentience, and cognitive properties make him to base his decision as he advances that the fetus lacks moral status. Maria and Jessica’s actions demonstrate that they are believers in God and understand their religious obligations based on both relationship and human properties theories (Smidt, 2018). Marco depends on the decisions that Jessica will make and his position is relative since he cannot make the final determination as opined by the physician.

Theory Agreement and Determination of Recommendation for Action

The theory that I agree with, based on my worldview is human properties which advances that only distinctive human characteristics confer moral status on a human person. The theory advances that human properties like being conceived from human parents and having a human genetic code confer human nature, value, and dignity to persons. The theory aligns with the Christian view on nature of persons (Smidt, 2018). Therefore, the theory affects my decision as I believe that despite its complex nature, the fetus should not be terminated. Jessica needs to consider her relationship with the fetus as the mother and obligation as a Christian before God. She must keep the pregnancy and give the child an opportunity to live as a human being.


The human nature of persons depends on a host of theories and different worldviews like the Christian worldview. In this case study, it is evident that the different individuals struggle to make decisions based on the disabilities that the fetus may have or possess. However, each uses their perspective but the most important aspect is to have a theory that confers benefits to the unborn baby or fetus.







Beauchamp, T., & Childress, J. (2019). Principles of biomedical ethics: marking its fortieth

anniversary. The American Journal of Bioethics, 19(11):9-12. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2019.1665402

Brown, M. T. (2018). The moral status of the human embryo. In The Journal of Medicine

and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, 43(2): 132-158. US: Oxford University Press.

Smidt, C. E. (2018). Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters. By Christian

Smith. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017. Politics and Religion, 11(2), 439-441.


Moral status of individuals entails the deployment of ethical principles in the consideration of the importance of living things and their value concerning their life and living. In evaluation of theories of moral status, theorists advance that life is equal irrespective of living things under consideration (Brown, 2018). However, others have a contrary approach and place hierarchies or consideration levels for moral standing. Beckwith and Thornton (2020) identify five unique perspectives on the moral status and each aspect entails certain elements that act as a measure to ascertain the moral status of any creature. These include cognitive elements, human characteristics, sentience, moral agency, and relationships. The purpose of this paper is to explore the Christian belief concerning the nature of human person and examine theories applicable to the case study to ascertain the moral status of the fetus.

Christian View on the Nature of Human Persons and Moral Theory It Aligns

Christians define human person as man and women created by God in His image. Christians believe that human person entails the body, soul, and mind. They advance that the spiritual soul makes the body which is created by matter to become a living entity. Further, human persons have intrinsic value since their body is the soul and God’s temple. Christians also advance that human life is sacred and starts at conception. Further, individual’s identity is considered as the result of being a person and instead their acts of consciousness, intelligence and freedom (Brown, 2018). The Christian view on the nature of human persons implies that human beings, right from conception, have full moral status by virtue of their creation based on God’s image without any considerations on other aspects like cognition status. The implication is that human beings, irrespective of their age and social status have moral abilities because of their inherent nature and creation.

The Christian perspective resonates more with the human properties theory which is a religious philosophical model. The model asserts that only human beings possess moral status among other living organisms. Imperatively, all creations, including animals and plants, exist to serve man’s interests and aspects. The theory asserts that human beings acquire this full moral status upon their conception in the womb where they become alive (Müller, 2020b). The implication is that both a fetus and a grown up human person share same moral status and cognitive functions. The Christian view asserts that human beings are self-awareness and understand time, the past, and even the future. Based on these cognitive properties and abilities, individuals have the freedom and capacity to participate in meaningful deeds. The theory is connected to the inherent human value and dignity as it illustrates that human beings are superior to all creatures and their dignity is intrinsic upon conception. Human life is sacred and enjoys full moral status from the beginning.

Theories Used by Jessica, Marco, Maria and Dr. Wilson in the Case

The case study entails a fetus who will be born with a deformity because it will lack limbs, and has a probability of having Down Syndrome. The implication is that there is a high possibility of the child having mental health challenges with cognitive deficiencies. Based on this situation, the individuals in the case study employ diverse theories to make their decisions and perspectives. Jessica and her aunt, Maria subscribe to the theory of human properties as a religious philosophical approach. Accordingly, they believe that the fetus has full moral status from its conception irrespective of its physical and mental deficiencies that it may have or develop at birth (Colgrove, 2019). For instance, Jessica, based on her religious background knows that life is sacred and a gift from God. She is conscious of the mental and physical challenges that the infant will have but believes that all life is a sacred gift from God. Jessica also uses the moral agency theory as she needs to make a determination on the status of the fetus despite its challenges. Aunt Maria is religious and cannot entertain any idea of terminating the pregnancy and the fetus. She advises Jessica to think about her relationship with the fetus as the mother and God as the giver of life (Blackshaw & Rodger, 2021). Despite the medical evidence, she encourages Jessica to keep the pregnancy and play her role as a “mother.”

Marco uses relationship theory and believes that Jessica is a moral agent who should make a decision without any coercion. Marcos asserts that he shall support Jessica based on any decision that she makes concerning the pregnancy. Marco considers the effects of having the child with all these challenges, especially their economic and social wellbeing (Milliken, 2018). However, he asserts that he shall accept any decision that Jessica makes regarding the status of the fetus. On his part, Dr. Wilson is a medical practitioner whose suggestions and recommendations are based on the scientific approaches or evidence. Dr. Wilson holds the cognitive properties theory which suggests that something or an individual attains moral status when they demonstrate a certain level of awareness and rationality. However, a fetus does not illustrate rationality or awareness and can be terminated based on this model. The physician exhibits this theory when he enlightens the family about every possible solution to the case and the benefits accrued from each decision.

Effects of Theories on their Recommendations

These theories influence the suggestions and perspectives of each individual in this case (Colgrove, 2019). For instance, the moral agency theory sways Marco’s decision to support Jessica while the relationship theory influences Maria’s approach to the issue of terminating the pregnancy. She asserts that it is wrong and focuses on persuading Jessica to keep the pregnancy irrespective of the risks involved. The theory of cognitive properties influences Dr. Wilson’s decisions and recommendations about the termination of the pregnancy (Müller, 2020). The use of this theory by the doctor is based on the scientific knowledge that he possesses about fetal abnormalities and the implications that it will bring to the family.

Theory I Align With

The human properties theory is the most agreeable of the theories used by the individuals as it asserts that moral status begins at conception. I agree with this theory because of my Christian worldview and as a health care provider whose first duty is to protect and preserve life, especially when such life does not endanger the health of the mother (Surovell, 2018). While I believe that moral status should be offered to people or things that have cognitive abilities, I disagree that the fetus should be terminated on that basis alone. It should be offered a chance to live and enjoy whatever freedom the infant will bring to the world. God has a purpose for giving Jessica and Marco the child with deformities and possible Down syndrome.


Christians assert that human persons can comprehend, possess and make decisions independently, even when still fetuses in their mothers’ wombs. Their view aligns with the human properties theory and a bit of cognitive theory’s aspects. All people have cognition based on their level of development. In this case study, the four persons use different ethical theories to affirm the moral status of the fetus. These theories also influence their decisions and recommendations concerning the fetus with deformity.






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