PHI 413V  Fetal Abnormality Case Study Assignment

PHI 413V  Fetal Abnormality Case Study Assignment

PHI 413V  Fetal Abnormality Case Study Assignment

            Many theories have been proposed but have not fully answered the question of the origin of human beings. Knowledge and research in science have grown rapidly regarding human beings. However, many aspects of human beings exist that science alone cannot clarify. Theological and philosophical ideologies are presented to supplement areas deficient in scientific explanations. Religions have unique explanations of human beings’ origin, values, and definition. Both religion and science ascribe humans to moral status. According to Shepherd (2018), for an individual to possess moral status, they must be vulnerable to harm or wrongdoing. An entity with moral status should not be disrespected, harmed, or treated in just any way one pleases. This paper analyzes the presented case study to examine theories used to determine the moral status of the fetus and explore the Christian view on the nature of human beings. The paper also analyzes theories used by the different presented characters to influence their recommendations.


Christian View on the Nature of Human Persons

            According to the Christian faith, every human being in the world is made in the image and likeness of God. The image of human beings concludes with Christ’s mystery, the perfect image of God and the only human and heavenly being revealing God to human beings. Muller (2020) asserts that the human being is one entity containing the body, soul, and mind. Christians should consider their bodies as honorable and good as God’s creation. Christians also believe in eternal life and resurrection after death. In addition, one’s identity is the result of one being human, not their acts of freedom, consciousness, and freedom (Muller, 2020). Moreover, all economic, social, and political activities should be for the benefit of the people.

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The cognitive properties theory is congruent to Christians’ view of the nature of human beings. The cognitive properties theory holds the assumption that all people possess cognition. Perception, understanding, awareness, thinking capacity, and memory are inherent to cognition. According to the Christian view, humans have self-awareness of time, the future, and the past. Stahl and Kilner (2019) state that according to the theory of cognitive properties, human beings have the freedom to act and engage in purposeful acts. Additionally, humans can give reasons for engaging in a specific action. They can also communicate, unlike other creatures. This demonstrates that humans are superior to other creatures and have inherent dignity and value that must be respected (Stahl & Kilner, 2019). Lastly, the theory perceives people as possessing a high order of volition and rationality.

Theories Used to Determine the Moral Status of the Fetus

            In the provided scenario, Jessica uses the moral agency theory to assist her in determining whether the fetus has moral status. Moral agency refers to the ability to make ethical decisions based on wrong and right. Lowe et al. (2021) state that any moral agent who differentiates between right and wrong must possess rational thinking and deliberation skills, and they can be held accountable for the consequences of their actions. Jessica is the mother and will bear the ultimatum of the outcomes. Therefore, she will make the decision to determine whether or not the fetus will enjoy the right to live as an infant. Based on Jessica’s intrapersonal conflict, she holds the theory of moral agency. She is torn between the sacredness of life and hopes for an improved socioeconomic status and life independence. Lowe et al. (2021) state that moral agency encompasses the concepts of moral competency of the person in question and situational constraints influencing decision-making. Same as Jessica, Marco also uses the theory of moral agency. His considerations show that their unborn disabled child could significantly weigh them economically.

            Maria braces the theory of relationships. This is evident when she pleads with Jessica to keep the pregnancy and let the will and purpose of God to prevail. Maria also requests Jessica to consider the motherly responsibilities she has to the potential infant. The theory of relationship in ethics is based on the trustworthy and fundamental relationship one has with another human being and is characterized by common protection and trust rather than by any abstraction (Matteson & Metivier, 2022). According to the theory, the fetus possesses moral status, and abortion is immoral. Dr. Wilson braces the view of cognitive properties. The theory holds that one should demonstrate a degree of rationality and awareness to have moral status (Stahl & Kilner, 2019). A fetus lacks rationality and awareness and can be terminated. Dr. Wilson demonstrates the theory of cognitive properties when he educates the family on all possible solutions for the pregnancy.

Theories Determining Recommendations

            The theory of moral agency moves Marco to support Jessica in the final decision she will make. The theory of relationships impacts Maria’s perception that abortion will be immoral and urges Jessica to keep the pregnancy. Dr. Wilson uses the theory of cognitive properties to stress the alternative of aborting. This can be related to the doctor’s scientific and medical knowledge of the consequences of bringing the pregnancy to term and living with congenital abnormalities. This may be associated with his scientific understanding of the implications of fetal abnormalities and the effects of carrying the pregnancy to term.

The Theory I Agree With

            The cognitive properties theory is the most agreeable one in this scenario. It proposes that for an entity to be given a moral status, it must demonstrate volition, self-consciousness, capability for acts of purpose, reasoning, and language. (Beckwith & Thornton, 2020). Based on the theory, I would recommend that Jessica procures an abortion on medical grounds. The fetus should not be given a moral status as it does not meet all the determinants or requirements for cognitive ability.


            According to Christians, human beings can make decisions and demonstrate understanding across various settings and scenarios. Christians’ view on human beings is in line with the theory of cognitive properties, which holds the assumption that all human beings have cognition. The case study presents a dilemma on whether to terminate the pregnancy or not. Ethical decisions should be based on individual cases and analysis of various ethical decision-making theories to settle for the most appropriate one.


Beckwith, F., & Thornton, A. K. (2020, July). Moral status and the architects of principlism. In The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine (Vol. 45, No. 4-5, pp. 504-520). US: Oxford University Press.

Lowe, R., Jackson, K., Lowe, T., Wilson, K., Chukwuemeka, U., & Bell, J. (2021). Moral Agency (A. Sturm, Ed.). Physiopedia.

Matteson, M., & Metivier, C. (2022). Morality from relationships.

Muller, G. C. (2020). The Christian Understanding of the Human Person | Principles. Principles.

Shepherd, J. (2018). Preliminaries. In Routledge.

Stahl, D., & Kilner, J. (2019). The Image of God, Bioethics, and Persons with Profound Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, 6(1-2), 19-40.


Assessment Traits

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Assessment Description
Based on “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality” and the required topic Resources, write a 750-1,000-word reflection that answers the following questions:

What is the Christian view of the nature of human persons, and which theory of moral status is it compatible with? How is this related to the intrinsic human value and dignity?
Which theory or theories are being used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson to determine the moral status of the fetus? What from the case study specifically leads you to believe that they hold the theory you selected?
How does the theory determine or influence each of their recommendations for action?
What theory do you agree with? Why? How would that theory determine or influence the recommendation for action?
Remember to support your responses with the topic Resources.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.


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