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Doctor's Dilemma

By Dr. Jeniffer Lawrence




Doctors in their professional practice often face moral dilemmas (Carrick, 2012). In my practice as a doctor, I have faced the moral dilemma in an abortion case. Abortion is deliberately terminating a pregnancy. While practicing at the hospital, a woman in her early twenties had consulted me to conduct her abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant and did not want to continue. As I was in my service at the hospital, I could not refuse her but I felt it was morally wrong. There are for and against views on this topic, and I will argue against abortion in the current discussion. Abortion is morally wrong as it entails killing innocent human life in the fetus. I have undertaken moral reasoning and also made use of philosophical reasoning in justifying my point of view.   


Moral Reasoning

            Abortion means killing an innocent human life, which is wrong. A precious human life begins in the fetus; hence fetus is an innocent human life. Killing the fetus is wrong hence abortion is always wrong (Shrage, 2013). Every fetus has a unique genetic code; hence every fetus is a unique individual. Conducting abortion means destroying potential human life. In case the fetus could have lived, it would have grown up into a unique individual with future potential like any other. Aborting means destroying a potential fetus that could have had a future. Moreover, when the abortion is conducted the fetus is sufficiently developed by 18 weeks and goes through suffering and pain. It is totally wrong to abort after 18 weeks of pregnancy.

            There are various countries that have now legalized the process of abortion. It implies there is an increased tolerance of killing which is wrong as legalized abortion reduces people’s respect for life. Long term impacts on the society of such legalized abortion include genocide, euthanasia and increased rates of murder.

The patient opting for abortion is at high risks as she might face other health complications. Especially reprogenetics prospective patients are at high risk, a parental diagnosis can reduce risks significantly. Prospective interests of the parents are at high risks. Implications from moral are abortion is murder unless there are some ‘good reasons'. The ‘good reasons' could be pregnant as a result of rape, medical implications, the condition of the fetus or psychosocial reasons.          

Reasoning Using Philosophical Methodologies

According to the libertarian theory, many activities in the liberal states violates liberty one of which being abortion. Arguments in self-ownership state that abortion should be allowed as women are free to decide what to do with their bodies. Obama supported abortion rights stating that he was not a good Christian on the same grounds, as he felt it was justice and for common good (Sandel, 2007). Kennedy’s speech had intended not to legislate morality, in response to which John Rawl’s ‘A theory of Justice’ offered a philosophical defense. His theory of political liberalism separates the application of political power in a democracy and provides ways in which a civil society needs to operate, in spite of the diverse worldview.  

I agree with Rawl's philosophical point of view and would like to state his points in supporting my moral dilemma. In every free society, citizens from a different religion will have different views of the world. Hence, it can be understood that the citizens will have varied conceptions regarding the right and the wrong. These citizens will be different from the value of lifestyles and have interpersonal relationships. It can be also understood that democratic citizens might have contrary commitments nut a country need to be governed by a uniform law. Though imposing a unified law of diverse citizens might have challenges of legitimacy and stability. The uniform law is necessary for the betterment of society.

Following the philosophy stated by Rawl, it can be stated that a country implementing the law for punishing a murdered need to also punish abortion. Abortion cannot be regarded as any different from murder. Considering the greater good for the society, murder in all forms must be punished hence similar to murder abortion must be punished as well. Rawl stated that individual conceptions, loyalties or convictions should not hinder our moral identity of reasonable pluralism (Cahn, 2011). It can be understood from Rawl's philosophy that while defending our individual cause for supporting abortion, we cannot forget the greater moral identity that we hold as citizens. Rawl clearly stated that as an individual if we are able to separate our identity from moral and religious convictions, it allows us to engage in the broader public discourse of rights and justice. In such a situation we are effectively able to impose upon fellow citizen a law resting upon a particular religious or moral doctrine.

The philosophical statement clearly identifies that we are able to accept a unified law with public reasoning when we are able to engage in public discourse. I believe we have a greater responsibility towards our nation in setting appropriate examples. If a law is acceptable in our country, then there needs to be a unified understanding and application related to it. There cannot be variation in that moral reasoning. It is when variety in moral reasoning is accepted, a society’s citizens become confused and implications of abortion arise.                      



            Abortion is morally challenging and even considered to be illegal in many countries. The multiple abortions conducted in hospitals today. Those babies could have been lawyers, doctors, president, and even those babies could have found a cure to cancer. Abortion is destroying our culture and making our society devalue the sanctity of human life. Abortion is a form of murder and can have long-lasting physical and mental effects on the woman. Abortion at all stages of pregnancy needs to become illegal procedure. I feel abortion has a huge role to play in the diminishing moral values in our society. It dehumanizes an unborn baby. Abortion at many a time is performed for medical purposes, such as ‘Down Syndrome'. However, there cannot be any logic that can defy being dead than disabled. There are many women who refuse to abort even she was going to have a baby with Down syndrome. I can conclude by saying that abortion is a perversion of modern life that needs to be cured.     












Cahn, S. M. (2011). Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. USA: Oxford University Press.

Carrick, P. (2012). Medical ethics in antiquity: philosophical perspectives on abortion and euthanasia (Vol. 18). Springer Science & Business Media. e-book doi: 10.1007/978-94-009-5235-5.

Sandel, M. J. (2007). Justice: What's the right thing to do?. New York, USA: Macmillan.

Shrage, L. (2013). Moral dilemmas of feminism: Prostitution, adultery, and abortion. NY, USA: Routledge.


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