Moral Status

Abortion is a common subject in legal, moral, and ethical talks about religion. It becomes complicated since both pro-life and pro-choice members derive their conclusions from either legal, ethical, or religious guidelines, which are often intrinsic. In the case study presented for this course, Jessica and Marco face a major dilemma which entails aborting or maintaining a pregnancy. The couple may be identified as financially unstable as seen in the number of hours they work and the nature of their jobs. Besides, they fail to seek early prenatal care. Four months later, preliminary results of the ultrasound test indicate that the fetus is disabled – without arms, and has a quarter chance of suffering Down syndrome. Dr. Wilson, the attending office affirms that from a scientific and medical viewpoint, abortion is the best option for the couple. Aunt Maria, who hosts the couple is adamant that the pregnancy should be maintained. Marco is ready to support his wife through the decision that she makes. However, Jessica is indecisive as both choices have underlying consequences. Since Christianity is represented in the case, the recommendations each makes are based on moral theories in relation to the Christian view of the nature of humans.

From a Christians’ perspective, the nature of humans is such that humans are a valuable species created by God in his likeness. The fundamental understanding is derived from the account of creation recorded in the Bible, Genesis 1:26-27. The verse depicts God saying “Let us make man in our image…,” a verse that is accepted by other major religions. In addition, theologians expound that the in-God’s likeness, a fundamental meaning is that all humans are created perfectly, as God himself is perfect. That is, every human species is perfectly suited to their purpose, which is largely influenced by how God fashioned them. Rather, each person has a gift that is tailored to suit specific purposes during their lifetime. In regard to the observation that all humanity has a purpose for each person, the uniqueness of an individual does not categorize but treats all humans as equals (Holy Bible, Galatians 3:28). In other words, beyond any logical conclusion, Christian teachings insist that people should have the will power to treat other humans as equals, noticing their unique perfections, as all are images of God. Such a conclusion is in line with the moral agency theory of moral status.

Moral status entails “specifying entities or beings towards which we believe ourselves to have moral obligations, as well as something of what we take those obligations to be” (Warren, 1997, p. 9). In other words, an entity or subject has moral status if and only if its aspects morally matter to some degree of its own wellbeing (Jaworska & Tannenbaum, 2018). For instance, a person may be considered to have moral status if subjected to situations that are morally bad to them less concerned about the impact of their suffering on others. Note that the phrase “morally bad” or “morally good” in contrast if open to the definition by the subjects in the moral context. Different contexts have different moral statuses which are categorized into five moral theories of relationship, sentience, cognitive properties, human properties, and moral agency.

Aunty Maria makes her recommendations on grounds of moral agency. As mentioned earlier, the human will power to do what is morally right plays the central role in decision making through the moral agency (Cristina, 2009). Hence, in the Christian perspective that all humans are created perfect and deserve equal treatment and intrinsic dignity, she recommends that the pregnancy be maintained. Wilson, recommends that Jessica be told the true results of the diagnosis and that aborting the fetus is the best decision that the couple should make. As a medic, Wilson as the ethical obligation to take care of Jessica, and ensure the wellbeing of humanity. His recommendation of abortion is based on the human property theory which persuades his professional will in ensuring the recession of normal and strong species, and reduction of genetic anomaly. Marco, the husband and the father to the fetus is subject to the decision taken in the end. That is, he is willing to support his wife through abortion or raising his child. Marco makes his choice based on relationship theory. He is concerned about the consequences that may arise on the final decision. In the case of abortion, he is worried about underlying consequences, and if the pregnancy is maintained, he is worried about the well being of the child and the burden the baby will create on Jessica. According to Shelly &miller (2006), through relationship theory, people are held accountable in relationships, and further define the role and responsibilities of parties. Lastly, Jessica’s indecision arises from her Christian judgment against abortion and critique of their financial status as a couple. However, she is obliged to make the final decision, which will entail the termination of the development of life. Depending on what she deems right, she has the moral status to make the choice regardless of the consequences it might have on others. Notably, her dilemma and choice align with the definition of moral agency (Cristina, 2009). Hence, like her aunt Maria, she has the personal will to decide on what is morally right according to her.

In my perspective, the couple should abort the child. My decision is based on the grounds of human property and to some extent the moral agency. Firstly, the couple is not financially stable. The case depicts them as immigrants who are hosted by a family member in the United States. Jessica works many hours in her regular job, while Marco casually finds work in construction sites. Thus, neither is financially stable, and their moving out to another apartment is a struggle. Raising a child will increase the dependence they impose on their aunty Maria and will crush their financial stability. Notably, for a good period of time, Jessica will have maternity leave. That means Marco and their aunty will support the family, which is not a favorable dependency. Besides, given that the child has no arms, his or her dependency will prolong possibly throughout his life. Marcos’s family will require an additional support system to train and support the child throughout his life. Besides, Downy syndrome poses another challenge. Besides medical cost, one or both parents will commit to taking care of the child, rather than work. Without work-life will be miserable rather than a miracle. Therefore, to secure the wellbeing of human property, and to avoid the miscellany of financial constraint with a  sick child, human property and moral agency theories support the decision to abort.

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Cristina, T. (2009). Children and Moral Agency. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, 29(2), 19-37. Retrieved from

Jaworska, A., & Tannenbaum, J. (2018). The Grounds of Moral Status. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

Shelly, J.A., & Miller, A.B. (2006). Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic/InterVarsity Press