Discussions on the value of human life and dignity have been ongoing for centuries among philosophers, religious thinkers, and ethicists. This paper explores the Christian perspective on human nature and moral status theory within the Fetal Abnormality case study. In addition to analyzing the fetus’s moral status, the paper will also examine how Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson’s theories affect their recommended actions. The paper will elucidate my agreement with a certain theory and how it determines or influences recommended actions.
Christian View of the Nature of Human Persons and the Theory of Moral Status:
The Christian perspective regards humans as created in the likeness of God and possessing innate value and honor. This standpoint argues that humans are not just animals; they possess a spiritual aspect that sets them apart from other beings. Being created in the image of God grants human beings moral status. The Christian standpoint states that this moral position is independent of their abilities, accomplishments, or other external factors. Intrinsic value theory supports the compatibility of this view. According to this theory, certain things hold inherent worth apart from their usefulness or individual preferences.
According to the intrinsic value theory, inherent worth and dignity are attributed to human beings due to their nature. Furthermore, Christians claimed in 2015 that external forces could not remove this worth. Hence, treating human beings with respect and dignity is crucial irrespective of their abilities, accomplishments, or other factors. The view of human persons according to Christianity is coherent with this theory. Also, it accepts that all individuals possess an innate value and worth independent of their abilities or accomplishments.
The Theories Used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson:
To determine the moral status of a fetus, Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson employ varying theories. Jessica thinks every living being deserved respect and innate worth and importance. Despite any abnormalities it may have, she sees the fetus as a human being with moral status. Consequently, according to her beliefs, terminating a pregnancy is morally wrong, and proceeding with it despite potential disabilities in the fetus would be right. In contrast, Marco perceives the fetus as a burden that hinders their economic stability and progress toward their objectives. He believes that the fetus lacks moral status. Hence, he believes that choosing abortion as an alternative would help them terminate the pregnancy and ease their financial constraints.
Aunt Maria firmly believes that God has a plan for every child and that all life is sacred as a devout Catholic. To her, the fetus holds moral status just like any other human being, thus rendering abortion immoral. A medical professional, Dr. Wilson, considers the fetus a patient with a medical condition. He believes that the fetus lacks moral standing. In addition, he believes that abortion is a responsible medical alternative given the quality of life such a child would experience.
The theory held by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson conforms to intrinsic value, consequentialism, and deontological theories.
Theories of intrinsic value and Jessica are aligned in their views. This theory asserts that humans’ natural qualities give them a fundamental worth and respect that no external factors can deprive them of. Their consequences dictate the moral correctness of actions, both in Marco’s and consequentialist theories. He believes that having a disabled child would be detrimental to their financial security and plans. He believes that abortion is a feasible choice, thus.
According to the deontological theory, which argues that specific actions possess an intrinsic morality regardless of their results, Aunt Maria’s theory is consistent. Because it goes against God’s plan for every child, she thinks that abortion is morally incorrect. The notion that ethical truths are subject to personal beliefs and societal customs, also known as moral relativism, is consistent with Dr. Wilson’s theory. Because of its widespread acceptance within the medical community, he believes that abortion can be a responsible medical alternative in this scenario.
How does the theory determine or influence each of their recommendations for action?
The theory held by an individual directly influences their recommended course of action in this scenario. The decision is challenging for Jessica because of her intrinsic value and dignity theory. Despite that, she seeks to advance her socioeconomic condition. Considering his consequentialist theory, Marco thinks of abortion as a feasible option, regarding the birth of disabled offspring as a duty that could imperil their monetary safety. Abortion contradicts the moral principles and divine plan for Aunt Maria as per her deontological theory. In light of his relativist theory, Dr. Wilson suggests abortion as a responsible medical alternative.
I support the idea of intrinsic worth and esteem since I believe everyone possesses a natural value and dignity despite their capacities (Vaughn, 2015). This theory coincides with the Christian outlook on individuals’ essence. As per this perspective, each individual is formed in the likeness of God and hence has innate value and respect.
The recommendation for action
I recommend that she continue the pregnancy and prepare herself for raising a disabled child if I find myself in Jessica’s shoes. All individuals are entitled to live, and we should not determine the worth of someone’s existence. The difficulties of raising a disabled child need to be accepted while providing them with the affection and assistance required for their success.
Careful consideration of various moral theories is necessary when dealing with the complex situation presented in the Fetal Abnormality case study. The Christian outlook on human persons maintains that humans have an innate value and honor because of their nature. This opinion aligns with the concept of intrinsic value. Jessica determined the fetus’s moral status using intrinsic value, while Marco relied on a consequentialism. Maria employed the deontological theory, whereas Dr. Wilson chose virtue ethics. Their recommendations are shaped by their beliefs as Dr. Wilson recommends abortion while Aunt Maria believes in following God’s path; meanwhile, Marco focuses on the potential consequences of raising a disabled child, and Jessica struggles with reconciling her desire to improve socioeconomic status against preserving human life.
Christians, C. G., Fackler, M., Richardson, K., Kreshel, P., & Woods, R.H. (2015). Media ethics: Cases and moral reasoning. Routledge.
Vaughn, L. (2015). Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton & Company