Ethical Theories on Abortion – The Moral Dilemma Approaches

This essay presents a discussion of different ethical theories on abortion, revealing moral and ethical considerations surrounding the abortion dilemma. The author explores the various perspectives on abortion, including pro-choice and pro-life arguments, and highlights the complex and contentious nature of the debate. You will also find implications of various laws and policies on abortion and how they impact women’s reproductive rights and health. The author concludes by acknowledging the ongoing debate on abortion and the need for a nuanced and empathetic approach to addressing the ethical dilemmas surrounding it.

Ethical Theories on Abortion

The case in question features several different theories applied to scrutinize the ethical dilemma of following the Christian ethics by giving birth to a child that is going to be impaired for the rest of his life and having an abortion. The perspective of Jessica can be interpreted as highly religious since she is hesitant mostly due to her conviction that all life is sacred.

Christian View on Abortion

The Christian philosophy has a very rigid stance on abortion, mainly due to the meaning with which it imbues the concept of human life. From the perspective of the Christian philosophy, a person is a product and manifestation of the love of God, hence the sanctity of any human life (Fleming & Robb, 2019). In addition, although every human being is born into the world with the inherent original sin according to the Biblical perspective, the Christian theory also implies that redemption and future salvation are possible since Christ introduced a thread of hope for salvation for the humankind (Fleming & Robb, 2019). Therefore, the Christian perception of human beings is most compatible with the Divine Command Theory and, by extension, the Virtue Ethics. The Christian philosophy supports the idea of the intrinsic human dignity and value, with which it justifies its stance on abortion.

Utilitarianism View on Abortion

Dr. Wilson provides the exact opposite viewpoint, which can be considered as rooted in the Utilitarianism principles. Namely, he grounds his decisions based on the outcomes that he deduces to be the most favorable for all those involved, which implies the necessity to perform an abortion in the case in point (Smyth & Lane, 2016). The specified position is justified from the Utilitarianism perspective since it suggests that the infant will be spared the suffering of living as a severely impaired individual. In contrast, Jessica will avoid possible complications associated with the birthing process. In addition, the current socioeconomic status of the couple adds to the argument that the doctor makes.

Cultural Relativism Theory and Abortion

Finally, Marco’s position aligns with the tenets of the Cultural Relativism Theory. Specifically, he appears to be hesitant and is willing to consider the available options, yet he needs further contemplations to take a side in the specified argument. Although the reasonability of the specified approach could be questioned given the urgency of the situation, Marco’s supportive approach appears to be the pivoting point in Jessica’s further decision.

Recommendations on Ethical Theories on Abortion

Even when presented with the fact that the child will experience severe suffering due to the inevitable physical and likely mental impairments, the patient will most probably select the option of giving birth, especially given her current emotional condition. The pressure of Christian beliefs is bound to drive the idea of giving birth as opposed to aborting the fetus even further, leaving the patient to feel as if she has no choice or opinion in the matter.

The theories listed above allow understanding how the participants of the case in question make their choices and what reasoning they can provide to support it. Namely, Jessica’s arguments are rooted in her Christian beliefs of the sanctity and importance of life, as well as the love for the child. Jessica is evidently ready to be a mother and is enthusiastic about it, which is why the information about the certainty of the physical impairment of her unborn child and the need to consider abortion is so emotionally devastating to her.

In turn, the premises of Utilitarianism combined with his professional ethics define the choices that Dr. Wilson makes quite clearly. Namely, the obstetrician acts on the premises of the Utilitarianism point of view, which suggests that the course of actions leading to the least harm to a patient is the best option available (Kjelsvik et al., 2019). Consequently, given the threat to the pregnant woman’s health, as well as the following complications and the challenges of raising a physically and mentally impaired child in an economically unsafe environment, the choice that Dr. Wilson sees as the only possible solution is quite reasonable.

Finally, the arguments behind the position that Marco has decided to take are also quite clear. Although he wants to be supportive of his wife and evidently values her, the weight of the decision to give birth to the child is also clear to him. After considering the theories mentioned above, it is recommended that the couple should be encouraged to consider their options and make a decision as soon as possible. Since the termination of pregnancy is impossible at later stages due to the risks associated with the mother’s well-being, the doctor will have to create an environment in which Marco will be more decisive and where Jessica could become more level-headed, composed, and reasonable in order to make the final decision. Therefore, the focus on building a comfortable setting for the couple and providing Jessica both with the needed support and with the information that will help her to make a decision is needed.

Abortion Dilemma – Personal Stance

Approaching the case of Jessica’s pregnancy from a personal point of view, one might consider the Utilitarianism position and, therefore, the choice of abortion as the most sensible concept to support in the described situation. The idea of refusing abortion and choosing to give birth to a child becomes even more questionable after considering the financial opportunities of the couple. Marco and Jessica will be unable to pursue the opportunities with which they have recently been presented in regard to their current economic status after the child is born. Therefore, the couple is likely to face significant financial constraints in the future. Consequently, when the child needs expensive health treatments and interventions, Jessica and Marco will be unable to provide them to their baby. The specified outcome will aggravate the situation for both the infant and the parents, the former suffering physically, and the latter experiencing severe emotional distress.


Fleming, V., & Robb, Y. (2019). Potential conflicts in midwifery practice regarding conscientious objection to abortions in Scotland. Nursing Ethics, 26(2), 564-575.

Kjelsvik, M., Sekse, R. J. T., Moi, A. L., Aasen, E. M., Nortvedt, P., & Gjengedal, E. (2019). Beyond autonomy and care: Experiences of ambivalent abortion seekers. Nursing Ethics, 26(7-8), 2135-2146.

Smyth, D., & Lane, P. (2016). Abortion in modern health care: Considering the issues for health‐care professionals. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 22(2), 115-120.

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NursingBird. (2023) 'Ethical Theories on Abortion – The Moral Dilemma Approaches'. 18 February.


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NursingBird. "Ethical Theories on Abortion – The Moral Dilemma Approaches." February 18, 2023.