Case Study: Fetal Abnormality Assignment

Case Study: Fetal Abnormality Assignment

Case Study: Fetal Abnormality Assignment

Write a 750-1000 word analysis of “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality.” Be sure to address the following questions:

Moral status encompasses when considering the importance of living things and their value in life. In the assessment of models of moral status, different theorists advance that life is equal regardless of the individuals’ situations. Present theories consider various levels of assessment on moral standing (Pardo, 2018). In this case study, the paper examines the moral status of a deformed fetus and the moral choices that the individuals involved make based on the Christian worldview. The paper also presents the author’s position on the kind of theories that determine the decisions made by those involved in the case.

Christian Worldview

According to the Christian worldview, human beings have full moral status by virtue of being humans right from conception. Christians advance that human beings are created in God’s image and likeness and have inherent right to life irrespective of any disabilities or deformities that they may possess. The Christian worldview is founded on the biblical and Christian teaching that God is the creator and author of morality and moral regulations (Beckwith & Thornton, 2020). As such, life is sacred and should be protected. No one has a right to take away life even when in the worst situation.

Christian worldview is compatible with the theory of moral standing which is founded on human properties. The moral status model is a religious as well as that illustrated the essence of humanity and the need to understand that people are superior to other living organisms. The moral status theory asserts that human beings have moral status among all other living organism that were created to serve their interests (Brown, 2018). The theoretical model advances that during conception, all human beings get full moral standing. This implication that the Christian and philosophical model is founded on human aspects which means that a fetus has same moral status just like a grown up human with all cognitive functions in place. These realizations are associated with the intrinsic human value and dignity as full moral status occurs during conception. The implication is that equal moral status is intrinsic and humans get the moral ability because their lives are sacred.

Theories Demonstrated by Jessica, Marco, Maria and Dr. Wilson

The case study is about a fetus that is deformed and has high possibility of suffering from Down Syndrome. If born successfully, the new born will have increased possibility of suffering from mental health issues and other significant challenges as a result of cognitive deficiencies. The four people in the case study includes Jessica the expectant women with the deformed fetus, Marco, who is Jessica’s husband, and Maria, Jessica’s aunt (GCU, n.d). The fourth person is Dr. Wilson, a physician who is trying to give the family possible options and their effects on their lives. These four individuals have different ways of looking at the situation and various theories concerning the moral status of the fetus.

Jessica is experiencing a moral dilemma about her beliefs and the eventual circumstance of the child if she keeps the fetus to full-term pregnancy. Jessica understands the financial burden and health complications that the child will create on the family. At the same time, her religious beliefs are core to any decision that she would make. Her religious beliefs oppose the termination of the fetus or abortion. Jessica is a moral agent that implores her to make the most effective decisions. The approach demonstrates that Jessica is following the moral agency as she will decide the moral status of the unborn baby. Again, her decision is influenced by her religious beliefs since she is a Christian (Beckwith & Thornton, 2020). According to her aunt, Jessica has a relationship with the fetus by virtue of being its mother and should only act in its best interests. Jessica and her aunt, Maria demonstrate the religious theory of moral status founded on human properties. Both advance that human beings have full moral status right from conception despite their mental and physical deficiencies. Maria tells Jessica to consider her duties as a mother to the child and respect God’s will. Jessica is the fetus’s mother and a believer. These relationships provide the fetus a moral status which makes termination wrong. Both Jessica and her aunt Maria illustrate the divine command theory that is based on God being the creator and basis of morality.

On his part, Marco is worried about the expected burden of having a child with disabilities but is ready and willing to support Jessica irrespective of the decision that she makes. Marco believes that whatever decision Jessica makes is critical and based on her appreciation of the moral nature of the child. therefore, Marco shows relationship theory as the moral status of the fetus can change based on the decision that Jessica makes. Dr. Wilson provide critical medical advice and possible options for the family. However, he shows significant support for termination of the fetus based on his medical knowledge and the disabilities that it will possess. Dr. Wilson utilizes the cognitive properties’ model which asserts that the moral standing of any person is based on their ability to show and possess certain level of awareness and logic. In this case, the fetus does not possess these attributes and lacks the moral status (Brown, 2018). As such, the physician believes that the Jessica should terminate the fetus.

Influence on Determination of Each Recommended Decisions

Theories affect the recommendations as they base their positions on different ground. For example, Dr. Wilson uses a utilitarian approach which allows him to provide various choices to the family. However, Marco shows relationship theory where his decisions will be based on the choices that his wife, Jessica, makes. Marco makes decision based on his relationship with Jessica and the fetus. He also considers the financial and health burden of the unborn fetus. Jessica’s relationship with the fetus and her capability as a moral agent to make decisions affect her overall decisions in this case (Pardo, 2018). Jessica must consider the impact of her decisions on her moral perspective and religious background. Maria shows both relationship theory and divine command perspective as she encourages Jessica to factor in her relationship with the fetus and God.


I think that the moral status of the fetus should be founded solely on the Christian worldview about the sanctity of life. In this case, the fetus has a moral standing. However, it is essential to consider the quality of life that the newborn will live, especially with the permanent condition of Down Syndrome. Therefore, Jessica requires sufficient support and effective interventions that could assist her have a healthy baby than terminating the pregnancy (Pardo, 2018). These interventions should consider how she can raise the child better irrespective of its condition. life is sacred and God’s gift. However, medical experts should improve the health of the child.


Moral status of unborn child is similar to a grown up person. In this case, the fetus has a moral standing based on the moral theory. The fetus may have deformities but the mother should be supported to make an effective decision. As demonstrated, the mother faces moral dilemma based on the financial burden of the child and her religious beliefs.


Beckwith, F., & Thornton, A. K. (2020). Moral status and the architects of principlism.

The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, 45(4-5): 504-520.

Brown, M. K. (2018). The Moral Status of the Human Embryo. The Journal of Medicine and

Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, 43(2): 132–158,

Grand Canyon University (GCU) (n.d). Case Study: Fetal Abnormality.

Pardo, R. (2018). The Moral Status of the Embryo from the Standpoint of Social Perceptions. In

Clinical Ethics at the Crossroads of Genetic and Reproductive Technologies (pp. 149-193). Academic Press.

Case Study: Fetal Abnormality

Jessica is a 30-year-old immigrant from Mexico City. She and her husband Marco have been in the U.S. for the last three years and have finally earned enough money to move out of their Aunt Maria’s home and into an apartment of their own. They are both hard workers. Jessica works 50 hours a week at a local restaurant and Marco has been contracting side jobs in construction. Six months before their move to an apartment, Jessica finds out she is pregnant.

Four months later, Jessica and Marco arrive at the county hospital, a large, public, nonteaching hospital. A preliminary ultrasound indicates a possible abnormality with the fetus. Further scans are conducted and it is determined that the fetus has a rare condition in which it has not developed any arms, and will not likely develop them. There is also a 25% chance that the fetus may have Down syndrome.

Dr. Wilson, the primary attending physician, is seeing Jessica for the first time, since she and Marco did not receive earlier prenatal care over concerns about finances. Marco insists that Dr. Wilson refrain from telling Jessica the scan results, assuring him that he will tell his wife himself when she is emotionally ready for the news. While Marco and Dr. Wilson are talking in another room, Aunt Maria walks into the room with a distressed look on her face. She can tell that something is wrong and inquires of Dr. Wilson. After hearing of the diagnosis, she walks out of the room wailing loudly and praying aloud.

Marco and Dr. Wilson continue their discussion, and Dr. Wilson insists that he has an obligation to Jessica as his patient and that she has a right to know the diagnosis of the fetus. He furthermore is intent on discussing all relevant factors and options regarding the next step, including abortion. Marco insists on taking some time to think of how to break the news to Jessica, but Dr. Wilson, frustrated with the direction of the conversation, informs the husband that such a choice is not his to make. Dr. Wilson proceeds back across the hall, where he walks in on Aunt Maria awkwardly praying with Jessica and phoning the priest. At that point, Dr. Wilson gently but briefly informs Jessica of the diagnosis, and lays out the option for abortion as a responsible medical alternative, given the quality of life such a child would have. Jessica looks at him and struggles to hold back her tears.

Jessica is torn between her hopes of a better socioeconomic position and increased independence, along with her conviction that all life is sacred. Marco will support Jessica in whatever decision she makes, but is finding it difficult not to view the pregnancy and the prospects of a disabled child as a burden and a barrier to their economic security and plans. Dr. Wilson lays out all of the options but clearly makes his view known that abortion is “scientifically” and medically a wise choice in this situation. Aunt Maria pleads with Jessica to follow through with the pregnancy and allow what “God intends” to take place, and urges Jessica to think of her responsibility as a mother.

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