Moral Status Case Study

Those having the obligation, responsibility, and authority to evaluate the moral status of a fetus are artistically illustrated in the case study. In order to determine the moral status of the fetus, each of the characters employs and illustrates a different theory.

Dr. Wilson employs cognitive property theory. According to this view, moral position is determined by one's ability to display consciousness and rationality ("Theological Anthropology," 2015). The doctor reveals to her that her fetus has a case of possible abnormality which include delayed development of limbs which may lead to underdevelopment of arms and a 25% probability of developing Down syndrome. Based on the complications cited, according to the theory the fetus it is legible for abortion. Dr. Wilson explains to Jessica all the diagnostics and their implications and options regarding the next step, that is, whether to keep the baby or abort it. Although Dr. Wilson is ethical in revealing and explaining to Jessica and Marco all the options at their disposal regarding how to handle the fetus, he is in more support of abortion. He cites the burden the baby will impose on not only them in terms of taking care of the baby, being that they were financially unstable immigrants from Mexico, but also to the baby itself once born.

Maria, on the other hand, uses both the theory of relationship and the theory of divine command to determine the moral status of the baby. She tries to persuade Jessica to keep the baby. Maria tells Jessica to think of his maternal obligation to take care of the baby and to allow the divine intent of God to take its course. The fetus has a relationship with Jessica as the mother and divine relationship with God and thus has a moral status and should not be aborted. The theory of divine command states that God is the sole creator and determines morality of all beings (Dunstan, 2012).

Jessica, however, acts as a moral agent. This means that she is evaluating her options and acting on behalf of herself in order to make the best decision for herself (Purtilo & amp; Doherty, 2011). She is antagonized and conflicted. While she feels burdened by the financial implications of keeping the baby, she is obliged to keep it as a result of her religious beliefs and her relationship to the baby as a mother which are all in opposition of the idea of abortion. Jessica is thus the moral agent and presents the case study of this paper. She has to weigh and consider all the theories of determining the moral status of a fetus, determine the fetus’s morality and make a decision on whether to keep the baby or proceed with abortion as advised by Dr. Wilson.

Marco’s case uses the theory of relationship. Marco was bouncing between jobs and was finally settled at a construction site. He is concerned about the financial status of his family and the burden that the baby will impose on him and Jessica if given birth to. He is thus in support of abortion and asks the doctor to delay revealing the sad status of the fetus’s morality. He is, nonetheless, willing to support his wife’s decision should she decide to keep the baby. This proves the theory of relationship since the decision regarding the baby’s actual birth and survival lies on its mother, Jessica (“Theological Anthropology,” 2015).

How Does the Theory Determine or Influence Each of Their Recommendation for Action.

Dr. Wilson’s theory of cognitive properties influences his decision to propose abortion to Jessica and Marco as a step forward. He is influenced in several ways. Being the primary attending physician attending to Jessica, he is obliged to inform Jessica about the results of the fetal diagnosis including a discussion of options pertaining to keeping the baby or abortion. Based on the complications discovered by the physician, the fetus has cognitive disabilities including underdevelopment of limbs and possibility of Down syndrome. Medically speaking, the baby should be aborted since it will be a burden to itself in terms of survival once born. Financially, it may also be a burden to Marco and Jessica. Dr. Wilson thus reveals all the diagnostics results to Jessica and their implications and options regarding abortion.

Maria uses a combination of the theory of relationship and theory of divine command. She utilizes both theories to convince Jessica to keep the baby. Being religiously staunch, she asks Jessica to consider her divine obligation to take care of her baby regardless of its condition. She also urges Jessica to let God’s divine intentions take its course since He is the sole creator of all beings.

Jessica is the moral agent in the case study. She presents the case study to the reader as she has to evaluate all options presented to her by her life situation, relatives and the physician and act on behalf of herself and her family. The theories of cognitive properties, relationship and divine command all affect her action. She will determine the moral status of the fetus depending on her conviction to listen to Dr. Wilson and decides to have an abortion, listen to her husband Marco regarding their financial status and have an abortion of heed Maria and keep the baby regardless of its condition.

Marco’s recommendation for further action is significantly influenced by the theory of relationship. An immigrant from Mexico, he struggled to secure a job and a steady income to support his family. Financially, he felt burdened by having to raise a disabled child and cater for all its special needs. On the other hand, he is obliged to support the decision of his wife Jessica. As a result of his relationship with her, his recommendation is abortion but he is on the same boat with his wife regarding the next step.

What Theory Do You Agree With? How Would That Theory Determine or Influence the Recommendation for Action?

I agree with the theory of divine command. The theory states that God is the sole creator and reserves the right to determine the moral status of every being. No human being should thus sentence a fetus to abortion due to its medical state. The theory is also closely linked to the theory of relationship which hinges on the mother’s realization of her maternal obligation to her unborn child. The two theories influence the recommendation for action by advocating for the delivery of the baby and are against abortion. However, the decision of the physician and the nurse are not final and do not determine the next course of action. The verdict on moral status lies with the mother and is a decision whose outcome she has to live with her whole life.


Dunstan A (2012). The Devine Theory Supports that Abortion is Morally Wrong. In Hubpages. Retrieved from

Purtilo R. B & amp; Doherty R. F (2011). Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions (5th Edition). St. Louis, Mo.

E. Saunders (2015). Theological Anthropology and the Phenomenology of Disease and Illeness. In Grand Canyon University Lecture Notes.

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