Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ethics Case Study #1

Dan belongs to a religious sect that has a long history of practicing astrology. According to his religious convictions, he is persuaded that his unborn child will display homosexual tendencies. His religion does not condone homosexuality, but he still desires to raise the child. However, his common-law partner Sue, a non-practicing Catholic, has determined she wants to take no chances and is seeking to acquire an abortion. Canadian Law prevents Dan from making the final decision. When first questioned about her decision, Sue insisted that she was operating within her rights and that for her, it fell into the same category as terminating a fetus that would be born handicapped. "There's no way I could feel comfortable being forced to care for a child like that" she told her doctor. Sue explained that if her doctor refused her an abortion due to her reasoning, she would turn to other methods, even suggesting Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as a means of assuring her a less controversial approach. "My doctor encouraged me to abort when I was sixteen when FAS was discovered." Sue was overheard saying, "I hope it doesn't come to that, but I can't make this decision based on what makes people happy." What is the most ethical outcome for this scenario?

I've always had a deep fascination with ethics. Not the least of which is exploring how personal values dictate opinions. In the fictitious case study above, a number of controversial issues are presented. This is done so, not to create adversity, but to explore the assumptions that go into the formulating of our conclusions. How does the prioritizing of issues dictate the expression of our worldview?

For example,
Priority 1: Woman's rights - Sue must not be made to do anything against her will.
P2: Religion - Faith groups must not be forced to abide by societal restrictions
P3: etc....

What's your priority list? Again, the purpose of this post is not provide an arena for explicit slander, it is an opportunity to examine how conclusions are formed. Feel free to even include why you put certain priorities where you do. Have fun and keep it clean!

Jake Rivers


  1. Awesome post and ensuing conundrum!

    Personally I go by God/religion first, Authorities/law second, everyone else third, and myself last.

    Hope things are going well in Brazil!
    We miss you. :)


  2. The baby has the right to life, without which all other rights are null and void. Therefore, Sue is bound not to abort the baby. Period.