Ethics in Healthcare and American Society
The passionate disputes surround the abortion issue in the American society. Baillie, McGeehan, Garrett and Garrett (2013) point out that “abortion is the expulsion or removal of a nonviable fetus; that is, a fetus that cannot live outside the uterus at that time” (p.200). The ethical and lawful conflict between the rights of the woman, her interest and fetus interests is in the center of this ethical dilemma. In other words, there is a conflict between selfishness and innocent life as well as whether a woman has the right and ability to control her body and life.
As it is stated in the ICN code of ethics for nurses (2012), if a nurse as a medical professional is asked by the patient about the morality of the abortion, in particular, partial-birth abortion, he/she should respond that “inherent in nursing is a respect for human rights, including cultural rights, the right to life and choice, to dignity and to be treated with respect” (p.1). If a fetus has serious abnormalities or a woman has severe life circumstances that do not allow her to have this child or her health is threatened, then a nurse should respect the right of a woman, her autonomy to make a decision about her life. According to Giubilini and Minerva (2012) risks for the psychological and/or physical health of the pregnant woman and severe disease of the fetus are the major arguments for abortion.
Schonhardt-Bailey (2008) highlights that in one Supreme Court case Stenberg v. Carhart Court refused to consider Nebraska law making partial-birth abortion illegal. The root for this decision is the exception for the woman’s health. In another case Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court overturned the bans on Georgian laws on abortion. From the Kantian imperative view, if the right to autonomy and privacy including the aborting issues is provided under the Constitution, then any individual state has no right to violate it.
According to Baillie, McGeehan, Garrett and Garrett (2013) human being autonomy is the expression of his dignity. The informed consent is the fundamental concept in the autonomy and privacy of a pregnant woman. Even in second trimester (as partial-birth abortion or “dilation and extraction” Schonhardt-Bailey, 2008), it is a woman right to make decision on her own about the abortion. After receiving professional consultation about both sides of abortion, it is a pregnant woman who makes the final decision. If a fetus requires treatment, he cannot receive this treatment without interference in the health and well being of the mother. Therefore, the fundamental concept of informed consent should be considered.
My opinion about whether the fetus has rights is supported by Giubilini and Minerva (2012). The moral status of a fetus should be described in the sense that it does not possess those properties which are inherent to the individual claiming the right to life. A fetus certainly is potential person and human being. However, he is not a “person” as the “subject of a moral right to …