Introduction to Biomedical Ethics
An ethical action is one that is moral and therefore acceptable to the society. Ethical virtues should be applicable to everyone irrespective of their religious, cultural or personal beliefs. As such, biomedical ethics should go across the board. Physicians should be governed by professionalism, etiquette, values and morality. Ethics surrounding health care had been left to be the decision of the physicians. This has; however, changed and academic bioethicists have gathered together various reviews and theories to shed light on what is morally good.
Abortion refers to termination of pregnancy and happens when a fertilized egg or embryo is removed out of the uterus either by using pills or through gentle suction. A pregnancy can also be lost naturally and this is called miscarriage. Women perform abortion because the pregnancy was not planned for and they cannot take care of the baby due to lack of money or because they are in abusive marriages or they are too young or too old to have a child or because their lives are at risk if they keep a pregnancy or the baby will interfere with some planned activities. Research shows that in the united states, nearly half of the pregnancies are unplanned and four out of ten end up in abortion.
Abortion and Ethics
Every person has a right to life. No one is mandated to end the life of the other. Abortion has been a subject of discussion without getting the right answers to it as to whether it is legal or ethical. Debates have centered on the rights of the unborn. While considering a pregnancy, at what stage is a fetus considered human? Does a mother or a physician has a right to decide the fate of the unborn? What is the take of the father during abortion? What does the society perceive of abortion? Should abortion be legalized?
A fetus is considered innocent. It is not right to take out life of anyone innocent. It is therefore immoral to perform abortion that results in the dead of a fetus. A fetus is also considered human and it is morally wrong to kill a human being. However, some arguments give women reasons to abort without any fear. Mothers have a right to privacy, right to express themselves, to feel accepted, to decide on their future and a right not be forced to do what they do not wish, including bearing a child they do not want. Jane English, a philosopher, gave an analogy of being hooked up to a violinist having been rendered unconscious. One has a right to unhook themselves. The same way, one has a right to terminate an unplanned pregnancy. When a woman voluntarily gets involved in unprotected sex resulting in pregnancy, it will be argued she had intentions of getting pregnant and the fetus has a right to live. However, the woman still has a right to decide for their bodies and a fetus is part of their body. The decision made should be for the best interest of the fetus.
Human Subject Protections
The abortion Act (1967) places women seeking abortion as seeking health care and urges that women should be given independent counseling. It also argues that abortion should not be taken as a conflict between the mother’s right to autonomy and the life of the unborn but rather as a way of protecting human dignity (Halliday, 2016). Women have right to life, right to be free from degrading treatment, right to information, right to decide on the number and spacing of children and the right to enjoy the progress of science among others. In order to strengthen human protection, physicians to treat abortion seekers as any other health seeker and ensure that they give them the necessary information and risks relating abortion and give them chance to decide on what they want to do. In any case performing a private legal procedure in a clean environment is much better than illegal abortion which may subject patients to complications and discrimination.
Informed Consent to Abortion
Informed consent requires that a patient is given all the necessary information regarding a medical practice before they make up their minds as to whether they will proceed with the medication or not. In most occasions, this information tends to display the moral side of the doctor and may in some cases includes exaggerated and deceptive information targeted to discourage the patient from undergoing the medication. As far as abortion is concerned, the state law mandates the doctor’s attempt to stop a patient from considering an abortion (Ian V., 2012). However, the doctors should not give deceptive information but provide factual information regarding abortion and give a patient a good ground to make an informed decision.
Informed consent regarding abortion in inadequate. Some doctors approach the patients with an aim to discourage abortion instead of making them understand related risks. They end up instilling fear on the patient instead of giving them a favorable environment to decide on what they want. The patient will leave the doctor and still proceed with what they want through illegal means. Research have shown that such abortion performed illegally have ended up complications and many deaths.
Recommendations to Ensure Ethical Choices are Made
Firstly, the doctors must disclose material risks to the patient regarding abortion. Secondly, the doctors should not target to discourage the patient or appear to make them look immoral. They should just state the facts to them. Thirdly, there should be laws to regulate the provision of deceptive information. Some doctors provide deceptive and exaggerated information which end up scaring the patient. Fourthly, the patient to be left to freely decide having received the right information. Lastly, physicians should be keen to identify situations where informed consent does not apply such as an emergency and life-threatening cases.
Abortion still remains a subject of discussion on moral and legal aspects. A fetus has a right to live and at the same time, a woman has right to decide on their bodies. It is, therefore, very crucial that those seeking to carry out abortion receive the necessary materials risks to enable them to make informed decisions. They should be coerced or discouraged but be given the best platform to make informed choices.
Halliday, S. (2016). Protecting Human Dignity: Reframing the Abortion Debate to Respect the Dignity of Choice and Life
Vanderwalker, I. (2012). Abortion and informed consent: How biased counseling laws mandate violations of medical ethics. Mich. J. Gender & L., 19, 1.
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