Debate on Abortion


Abortion is a controversial issue today due to conflicting ethical principles that inform divergent perspectives on the subject matter. Women and healthcare professionals are at the epicenter of the debate. The pro-choice perspective on abortion advocates for the autonomy of the patient to make independent and informed decisions. In this context, the woman or patient should be provided with all the information they need to make an informed decision, and no attempt should be made to influence them (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013).  However, the freedom to make an independent and informed decision undermines the fairness and impartiality of the decision. The decision must be fair and impartial, whether it relates to new treatment or limited resources. The decision must be just to all the parties involved. 

            Over the years, several ethical decision-making frameworks have been developed to provide guidance and mechanisms for resolving ethical dilemmas. The Oberle and Raffin model has emerged as a suitable framework to address the ethical dilemma that healthcare professionals and women often encounter regarding female sexuality. The framework provides four stages that enable the parties involved to walk through the ethical dilemma.

Assessing the ethics of the situation, relationships, goals, beliefs, and values

            As an intern nurse at a local public hospital, I am responsible for providing a wide range of healthcare services. In my capacity, therefore, it is inevitable to serve women seeking abortion services. Women seeking abortion from the local hospital provide a wide range of factors that cause them to procure an abortion (Sumner, 2017). During my internship, I had the opportunity to attend to a female college student in need of abortion services. She was a second-year student at a local college who felt the need to abort in order to focus on her studies after her boyfriend abandoned her. She was concerned that carrying the pregnancy to term would adversely affect her career prospects because she would have to drop-out to take care of the baby. In addition, she was disillusioned by her failed relationship and felt incapable of taking care of the baby alone. To compound her problems, she was keen to ensure that her parents never came to learn of the issue because she believed it would be an embarrassment to them. I empathized with her because I understood the feelings associated with uncertainty, particular career prospects. Thomson (2020) also noted that being abandoned by a spouse or a partner arouses feelings of betrayal and anger. As such, the decision to procure an abortion is influenced by innate emotions that are unique to every individual.

Reflecting on and reviewing potential actions

            The ethical dilemma pertaining to abortion presents a number of options and potential actions for the parties involved. These options are attributed to conflicting nursing ethical principles that inform the pro-life and pro-choice perspectives on abortion. The pro-choice perspective emphasizes the autonomy or the right of the women to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term or terminate it (MacKinnon & Fiala, 2018). On the other hand, the pro-life perspective emphasizes the need to consider the rights of the embryo besides the mother (MacKinnon & Fiala, 2018). In the context of the case study, my patient had a number of options based on the two perspectives on abortion. From the pro-life perspective, there are a number of options that were available for my patient. Rather than terminating her pregnancy, she had the option of carrying it to term and offering her baby for adoption in order to continue her studies.


This option is informed by the justice nursing ethical principle, which emphasizes the need to consider the right to life of both the mother and the embryo. Carrying the pregnancy to term would maximize the outcome for both the patient and the baby because the latter would have the opportunity to continue with her studies while the baby is given a chance at life with another family. Meanwhile, the pro-choice perspective emphasizes the need to consider the independence and autonomy of the patient in making informed decisions (MacKinnon & Fiala, 2018). Therefore, the patient was at liberty to opt for the termination of the pregnancy to avoid impeding her career prospects. This option would maximize the outcome for the patient to enable her to continue with her studies and postpone the parenting issue until when she’s ready.

Selecting an ethical action

            The pro-choice and pro-life perspective on abortion informed by autonomy and the justice nursing ethical principles, respectively, present two options with differing outcomes. As a healthcare practitioner, I have the responsibility of informing the patient of the merits and demerits of each option with the aim of maximizing the good with regard to the outcome. In this respect, the pro-choice perspective on abortion maximizes the good for the mother by prioritizing the independence to make informed decisions (MacKinnon & Fiala, 2018). The patient was at liberty to prioritize her need to pursue a career rather than raise a family without the support of her lover. On the contrary, the pro-life perspective on abortion advocates to carry the pregnancy to term and offer the baby for abortion after delivery (Furedi, 2016). This option ensures that the rights of both the parent and the baby are upheld, and the latter is still able to continue with her studies. Therefore, the pro-life perspective maximizes the good for both the baby and the mother. As such, I advised her to carry the pregnancy to term and offer the baby for adoption instead of procuring an abortion that would terminate the baby’s life. This option would allow her to pursue her career while giving her baby a chance to live with another family. The good in her decision would be maximized by allowing her baby to live and the freedom to pursue her studies after delivery. Eventually, she made an informed decision to carry a pregnancy to term and offer her baby for adoption in order to continue with her studies.

Engaging in ethical action

            Adopting the pro-life perspective on abortion was the right decision for her to make because it allowed her to continue with her studies while giving her baby an opportunity to live with another family. The chosen action was in line with the CNA ethical responsibility of a nurse to uphold justice by safeguarding human rights, fairness, equity, and promoting the public good (CNA, 2017). I provided impartial advice devoid of any form of discrimination based on the patient’s physically identifiable features such as gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, gender identity, health status, lifestyle, social-economic status, or any other attributes. In addition, I made an effort not to label, judge, humiliate, or stigmatize my patient based on her decision to procure an abortion. I recognized and understood her right to make an independent and informed decision regarding her sexuality (CNA, 2017). In addition, I provided my patient with factual information about the options available to her to enable her to make an informed decision. I also made an effort not to judge her because of her failed relationship with her boyfriend because every individual has the right to associate with whoever they feel comfortable with. Therefore, the outcome of their failed relationship had no bearing on my professional responsibility as a nurse.


            The theoretical knowledge and practical skills that I have gained throughout this course will have a significant impact on my practice as a professional nurse. Learning achieved in the classroom environment complimented my passion and longtime desire to provide health care to those in need. Thus, I am knowledgeable and skilled in providing quality nursing care. The case study assignment provided an opportunity to practice some of the concepts that I have learned in class. The experience was both exciting and thrilling because I was able to address and provide a solution to an ethical dilemma that is common in nursing practice today. The assignment reinforced my personal values on abortion because I am a pro-life advocate, as I believe an embryo has a human right to live. Therefore, I am against terminating a pregnancy in favor of carrying it to term and offering the baby for adoption. The outcome of this action maximizes the good for both the mother and the baby.           

free essay typer




Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. K. (2013). Ethics and issues in contemporary nursing. Sydney: Delmar.

CNA. (2017). Code of Ethics for Registered Nurse. Toronto: Canada Nurses Association.

Furedi, A. (2016). The Moral Case for Abortion. London: Palgrave Macmillan, UK.

MacKinnon, B., & Fiala, A. (2018). Ethics: theory and contemporary issues. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Sumner, L. W. (2017). Abortion and Moral Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Thomson, J. J. (2020). A Defense of Abortion / Eine Verteidigung Der Abtreibung: Englisch/Deutsch. [Great Papers Philosophie]. Berlin: Reclam Philipp.