Healthcare Ethics


HealthcareEthics — The Abortion Dilemma Case

Thedilemma at hand is whether to leave the fetus to grow or to abort it,especially considering the prognosis has detected some abnormality.The characters involved in the situation are stranded betweencompeting ethical positions, which can be broadly classified asreligious ethics and utilitarianism.

Religiousethics essentially call upon subjects to make decisions by followingthe religious teachings (Swanton,2012).In the case scenario, religious ethics would require the actors leavethe fetus to develop, considering the Christian religious teachingsthat life is sacred and need to be protected. The position ofreligious ethics in the subject is exemplified in Aunt Maria’s callfor Jessica to think of her responsibility of a mother as mandated inthe religious teaching, advising she should let the fetus growbecause ‘God intentsd’. Even Jessica, having raised in Christianbackground by Aunt Maria, acknowledges the necessity to consider thisview.

Utilitarianismtheory requires the actors to take the decision that avoids orminimizes the adversity of consequences (Russell,2013).In relation to the present case scenario, utilitarianism would demandthe actors to examine all the alternative actions available fordealing with a fetus with a developmental abnormality, and decide onthe action that would minimize adverse implications while assuringdesirable outcomes. The position of utilitarianism is exemplified byDr. Wilson’s advice that that abortion would still be a responsiblemedical alternative, considering the child will not lead a fulfillingquality life. Utilitarianism also plays out clearly in Marco andJessica thoughts, in which they are torn between chasing the hopes ofa better socioeconomic position and increased independence,considering that the child, if born, would compromise their abilityto fulfill these goals.

Thereligious and utilitarian ethical theories provide competing positionconcerning the morality to terminate the fetus or let it grow. On onehand, religious ethics lays emphasis on the need to protect lifebecause it is sacred. If Jessica follows this principle, he would letthe fetus to grow. On the other hand, utilitarianism asserts thatregardless of rules, values and norms, what should particular matteris the question of what would most likely maximize outcomes of thetwo. Utilitarianism tends to be a little liberal and open toaccommodate either of the competing positions, depending on theirsuitability.

Iconsider that the most popular theory is utilitarianism. The choiceis informed by its tendency to be open to consider all the availableoptions. As opposed to religious teaching that dismisses otherpositions while asserting the primacy of religious values,utilitarianism is less radical in the sense that it creates theallowance for one to weigh options of either of the available optionsand decide what best fits (Russell,2013).Indeed, the tendency of being open creates the flexibility for one tomake a choice that maximizes outcomes. Since chasing the hopes of abetter socioeconomic position and increased independence is whatseems to matter for Jessica and Marco, utilitarianism principle wouldbe the most favorable ethical guide.


Russell,D. (2013). TheCambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics.New York: Cambridge University Press.

Swanton,C. (2012). VirtueEthics: a Pluralistic View.Oxford: Oxford University Press.