Abortion & Maternal Fetal Conflict




Abortion & Maternal Fetal Conflict

1. Abortion impinges on the border of medical ethics based on the different and valid interests pitted against the health of its stakeholders, the fetus and the mother. Apparently, the conflict between the fetus and the mother has grown resulting from the increase in knowledge regarding the mother-fetus relationship. The conflict is based on the mother undergoing various procedures bent on ensuring the welfare of the fetus and at the same time ignoring the interests of the mother.

2.a) Principle of Human Dignity

The principle of human dignity regards every living human as a valuable constituent of the society. Regarding abortion and maternal fetal conflict, the principle describes the right to life and seeks to protect the dignity of the person, whether the mother or the fetus. The principle of human dignity seeks to protect the rights of the fetus by regarding the organism as a person in social context. Moreover, by advocating for the principle, protection of life is granted by encompassing the fetus and other disregarded elements as worthy of life (Garrett, 2010: 200).

b) Principle of Double Effect

The principle of double effect describes the consequences resulting from the performance of a moral action. The concept asserts that a moral action has two effects: a projected and not rationally achieved good effect and an unanticipated but forecasted evil effect. Abortions occur by either by spontaneity or human intervention. Under human intervention, an abortion can be direct or indirect. The indirect abortion is an unanticipated effect when certain actions are performed while direct action is an intended result that achieves an immoral effect (Garrett, 2010: 198).

c) Principle of Autonomy

The principle of respect for autonomy emphasizes that a person should be recognized and respected as autonomous. In this context, autonomy refers to the privilege of person to make preferences and act based on their principles and thus should be free from compulsion (Garrett, 2010: 214). The principle is illustrated by the right of the woman in choosing to perform abortion hence limiting the action to privacy or autonomy as per the legislation (Garrett, 2010: 203).

3. Regarding Jerry and Thomasina’s decision to abort, the reason provided is not substantial for the removal of a fetus. This is because the reason provided is considered non-therapeutic since it is based on the economic needs of the couple. Moreover, such a decision is not medically indicated but is generated to preserve their lifestyle despite the autonomy of the couple to make such a decision (Garrett, 2010: 203). Since the couple is economically successful, the society’s intervention is influenced by the decision the couple make. However, the society should still intervene in their private choices because of the distribution of scarce resources that influence the reasons to perform non therapeutic abortions. Because of their economic status, the couple has an advantage in the provision of better care and health services hence assuming adoption cannot be a problem and a bad decision since they are not limited by scarce resources (Garrett, 2010: 209).

4a) The arguments against abortion should apply for all types of abortions in order to prevent biased interpretations. This statement is contradictory since not all abortions are anticipated strategies. For instance, a miscarriage is considered a spontaneous abortion and most of the time, it occurs unconsciously. Moreover, abortions can also occur from human intervention directly or indirectly. In direct abortions, the objective is the intended destruction of the fetus. However, indirect abortions generate unintended consequences. For instance, abortion can be because of surgical procedures or anesthesia (Garrett, 2010: 198).

b) It is factual that making pregnancy mandatory is limited by maternal risks. This is because the birth of the fetus can result to the deterioration of the mother’s life. Because of this, the life of the fetus is pitted against the life and the psychological or physiological wellbeing of the mother. Hence, the action that generates common good and minimizes risk is chosen. Furthermore, there are uncontrollable factors that limit making pregnancy compulsory. Factors such as famine heighten the need for accepting abortion since they limit an individual’s chance of survival.

c) Law is created for regulation of behavior and protection of rights. Moreover, law should accommodate public conscience in order to prevent its contempt by the public (Garrett, 2010: 195). However, abortion is already contempt. This is because laws cannot legislate morality, which is a decision, made by an individual. Due to the various motives given for abortion, which the law does not account for, the practice is a matter that cannot be prevented. Concerning the wedge principle, abortion is considered an illegal act if its effects are injurious to the society.

d) One assertion alludes that a fetus becomes a person from the time of conception, hence all fetus are human beings. Another assumption asserts that life commences when the brain develops as the determinant of the beginning of life (Garrett, 2010: 199). However, the society acknowledges conception as the start of life. This notion influences abortion with regard to the moral status of the fetus. Hence, the wedge principle is applied in order to regulate the practice of abortion because if the act is not regulated, the hypothesis is that the same practice of killing will be accorded to other people who are regarded as less important in the society.


Garrett, T. M. (2010). Health care ethics: Principles and problems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


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