Fetal Medicine: Basic Science and Clinical Practice

Abortion is one of the oldest problems in medical ethics and philosophy, jurisprudence, and theology. The awareness of the value of the embryo itself is associated with the emergence of Christianity. In the era of early Christianity, abortion was already identified with the murder of a person. Basil the Great wrote to one of the church fathers: “She who intentionally killed the fetus conceived in the womb is to be condemned as murder” (Stevens & Banks, 2018, p. 264). In the Christian tradition of attitudes to abortion, an important place is occupied by the question of when the embryo acquires an immortal soul. The church’s view of abortion can be compared to the virtue theory put forward by Aristotle. This view is characterized by virtue leadership in decision-making rather than pragmatism or personal gain. This approach is consistent with Christian morality about helping a person’s neighbor. Various moral theories form different attitudes towards childbirth in fetal anomalies, depending on value systems’ characteristics.

The church’s opinions and the foundations of morality are directly related to intrinsic human value and dignity. According to the cited religious and ethical arguments, abortion deprives a person of their inherent virtue by birth. In the framework of Christianity, this approach is unacceptable. Various methods to moral dogma can interpret abortion differently, from the complete inadmissibility of such actions to the hypothetical possibility of having an abortion to create a safer environment for parents.

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According to the case study provided, all four characters have different points of view regarding abortion. Dr. Wilson takes a neutral position, giving the mother all the information about fetal pathologies. According to the Hippocratic Oath, which all physicians pronounce before starting work, the doctor has no right to take the life of even an unborn child. However, the words of Dr. Wilson demonstrate that he has a deontological point of view (Dondorp & De Wert, 2019). He is ready to provide Jessica with all possible options, understanding the situation’s seriousness, without excluding any of them.

Maria adheres to the traditional Christian theory that man cannot resist the will of God. Marco accepts the idea of utilitarianism and does not regard the fetus as a complete human being (Lazar, 2019). He realizes that having a child with congenital health problems will forever negatively affect the married couple’s life. Consequently, he strives for comfort, recognizing a burden a child with congenital disabilities can become. Nevertheless, he is ready to accept any decision of his wife. According to the case study, Jessica’s position on abortion cannot be determined. However, it is possible to assume that, by her actions, she manifests virtue theory (Palacios-González, 2018). Depending on the adherence to a particular approach, the record participants react differently to Jessica and Marco’s problems with the fetal abnormality. Such an issue appears because each of the theories presupposes its priority values, around which the individual’s system of orientations is built.

I partially agree with all the ideas provided since each has a right to exist depending on the current situation. If I decide based on the provided scenario, the deontological point of view is closest to me in spirit. When a mother needs to give birth to a child with severe congenital diseases, the question arises about such an act’s advisability. It is worth considering the factors that will determine the development of the personality over time after birth and the difficulties that a person will face when parents can no longer support them. Unfortunately, in the modern world, people with congenital diseases are not yet full-fledged members of society. Therefore, the martyrdom of a person that follows childbirth, in my understanding, can hardly be called a full life.

However, at the same time, virtue theory based on righteousness is close to me. If most of the people on the planet shared the values ​​of honesty and dignity, the birth of a child with disabilities would not cause so many problems for them and the parents. In this case, I will adhere to the deontological theory, within which a recommendation for action will be expressed in an abortion at an early stage of pregnancy.

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Dondorp, W., & De Wert, G. (2019). Ethical issues in maternal-fetal medicine. In Fetal medicine: Basic science and clinical practice (3rd ed., pp. 139-148). London, England: Elsevier.

Lazar, S. (2019). Moral status and agent-centred options. Utilitas, 31(1), 83−105. Web.

Palacios-González, C. (2018). Does egg donation for mitochondrial replacement techniques generate parental responsibilities? Journal of Medical Ethics, 44(12), 817−822. Web.

Stevens, R. P., & Banks, R. (2018). The complete book of everyday Christianity. Singapore, Singapore: Graceworks.

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