any topic related to healthcare ethics
Gender is a term that describes interactions between people and their environment. Gender is different from sex yet they are inseparable. Traditionally different sexes were expected to perform specific roles, and this formed either male or female gender. Gender is constructed culturally through beliefs and behavior, and expectations of the society for each person. Gender role can be defined as the roles that individual are expected to play domestically and at the workplaces. The roles at workplaces vary based on the gender of a person; although some duties can be handled by any genders. For instance, men are entrusted with heavy manual work and women could be given some clerical duties in the same workplace. Another instance, women are more likely to be hired for secretarial posts and men for the executive and managerial posts. In the second example, this is less of gender oriented role and more of a gender stereotyping role as shown in (Blackstone, 2003 p.337). Traditional gender role was created by the assumption that a particular sex is more inclined to some duties. For instance, women were inclined more into indoor activities and men for outdoor activities as indicated by (Blackstone, 2003 p. 338). For the non-traditional ones, gender role is not created by their sexual orientation.
Abortion as an ethical healthcare issue
Universal human rights suggest that all persons have a right to life, in America committing murder is a big legal offense. Life starts at conception, and a baby is formed. Ethicist suggests a fetus is a person, and abortion is similar killing, which is equivalent to murder. The moral-ethical concern comes when the mother is supposed to decide on aborting or keeping the pregnancy as explained in (Hinman, 2014 p. 14). Another dilemma arises when analyzing the situation of whether the abortion is moral or immoral. It is also suggested that not all immoral acts are illegal. For instance a cheating partner in a relationship commits and immoral act but it is not illegal as explained by (Hinman, 2014 p. 15). Philosophers like Jane English and Judith Thompson support the act of abortion, but suggesting that it have to be necessary and the reason for its procurement must be sufficient, for the abortion to be not a moral concern. Jane suggested that ending the life of a fetus that would endanger a mother life would an appropriate move (Jelen, 1984). Thomson suggests the same and says if the fetus would contribute the mothers’ death then preventing it would be okay by conducting and abortion as explained in (Hinman, 2014 p. 23). Thompson limits the need for abortion to only the instances of rape or other unwanted emergencies that the pregnant mother did not willingly indulge.
An ethical healthcare issue requires various individuals to make a decision. The persons involved include the patient, the family, and the healthcare provider. The patient has to agree with the family and still the patient has to agree with the physician before the abortion is conducted (Engelhardt, 199, p. 146). The consultation part makes the act ethical since the decision is not just a simple one as the life of another unborn person is at stake. Some feminist suggest that women have the right to be the only one making the decision whether to abort or not. They suggest the act of consulting their mates, family, and the doctors is the form of undermining women that should not be accepted in the modern society.
Statics shows that abortion cases within the USA are dropping, this could be linked to most American taking up more control over their sexual and reproductive health outcomes. The use of contraceptives has been embraced. In 2006, the highest number of unwanted pregnancies and consecutive abortions numbers were recorded. 49% of all pregnancies were unwanted, and 40% were aborted (Hinman, 2014 p. 7). Unwanted pregnancies were recorded more among women of low social and economic status than those who were wealthy. More unwanted pregnancies were recorded among the blacks. The Hispanics and least among white women based on race. Some of the reasons that necessitated the abortion included not being capable of caring for a child, still in school and being young, some never wanted to end up single parents. Some suggested that according to their family planning, they reached the maximum number of children they wanted.
Annually in the USA two percent of women in the reproductive age bracket, 15-44, half of this number in their lifetime must have conducted an abortion previously as indicated in (Hinman, 2014 p. 8). From the trend, by age 45 half of American women would have landed into an unwanted pregnancy. One in every ten women in America will incur and abortion by the time they will have attained age 20 (Hinman, 2014 p .8). Teenager accounts for 18% of all abortions in America, which included the person of between ages 15-19. Of the 18%, between age 15-17 year and age 18-19 years, and those below 15 years account for 6%, 11%, and 0.4% respectively (Hinman, 2014 p 9). Women in their 20s that is 20-29 years account for more than half of all abortions in America .20-24 year and 25-29 years account for 33% and 24% respectively. 61% of abortion are sort by women who has incurred at least one abortion in their lifetime. Women with less that 100% of the required by the federal government to define poverty levels account for 42% of the pregnancies. Those with the range of 100 %-199% contributes to 27% of the abortion. These statistics reveal that there is a link between poverty levels and unwanted pregnancies that contribute to abortions.
54% of women who procured an abortion they must have used a contraceptive model either a pill or a condom in their month of pregnancy. Those who used the pills and the condom inconsistently registered 76% and 49% of the abortions respectively ((Hinman, 2014 p. 10). For those who consistently used the pills and the condom, registered lower values of abortion cases, that is 13% and 14% respectively ((Hinman, 2014 p. 10).
Principles of healthcare ethics
Commonly in healthcare setting whenever a healthcare dilemma is faced, a given pattern guided by principles is used as explained in (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001 p. 9). Four principles are used to help decide on the moral, ethical issue in healthcare settings. They include autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Nonmaleficence is a principle that emphasizes on doing no harm to the patient. This principal defines harm in five perspectives as explained by (Summers, 1988, p. 47). The first one is consequentialist perspective where harm is defined as any action that prevents good from persisting or occurring. The second is the view of the ethical egoist; this one suggests that harm is what go against ones-self-interest, any activity that does not promote the interest of a particular person is considered harmful. The third one is a deontological perspective; it defines harm as anything that creates a hindrance when we want to perform our obligation. Also, it states that anything that prevent the prevailing of moral law qualifies to be harm as shown by (Summers, 1988, p.47). The fourth perspective is called natural law, the ethicist from this point of view suggests that harm is whatever that opposes our rational nature. They also suggest harm as anything that prevents us from reaching our full potential. The last perspective is called virtue, where ethicist from this point of view, defines harm as anything that prevents us from showing our ends as human and only concentrates on the mean (Summers, 1988, p.47).
Beneficence is the second principle and states that one should avoid doing harm since our primary obligation is the duty to ourselves, in healthcare it is the opposite. The patients’ health comes before yours. For this reason, the egoist perspective is avoided since it encourages selfishness. Healthcare workers should show kindness and courtesy to patients even though they are strangers. The other principle is autonomy, in this context the patient should be consulted and informed before any medical procedure is performed on them. Autonomy promotes the idea of self-rule, which implies respect of other persons as they are. In a healthcare setting two competent before autonomy is granted are considered. The first one is whether they have the sound mind to make a choice and the second one is the patient free from forced decision making. The healthcare provider is obligated to explain the healthcare issues related to the problem and available options for the patient to choose as they make a choice. The last principle is justice, here two forms of justice are provided. Procedural and distributive justice. Procedural justice states that similar cases deserve the same treatment, without bias or discrimination. In healthcare terms, all patients of abortion should be treated similar since they all seeking the same service. (Summers, 1988, p.51) The constitution of America states that any woman has a right to procure an abortion for a pregnancy in its early stages. The second form of justice is called distributive justice. In this context those required to make the decision are put to task in sharing the burdens and positive outcomes as shown by (Rawls, 2009). For instance, the one paying for the procurement, and the path to taken in case an emergency had occurred.
Ethical theories are used by researchers to study healthcare topics especially those with moral concerns like abortion in our case that requires a moral approval before they are performed as shown in (Kvale, 1996 para 1). Three major philosophical and ethical perspective include a virtue ethics of skills, a utilitarian ethics of consequences, and the last one is ethics of principles that have been explained above under principles of healthcare ethics. Where deontological, natural law have, and other have been expressed as shown in (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001 p.26) Utilitarian position emphasizes on the outcomes of an act to help make a choice. If the consequence is negative, a different decision is taken. If the end purpose does not benefit other people, the decision is avoided (Kvale, 1996 para 3). The virtue of ethics considers whether the decision is morally sensible as defined by the community. For instance, abortion would not be considered morally reasonable by Catholics and so would not be supported by such community.
In conclusion, abortion is controversial but healthcare ethics gives a chance to make a moral choice before it is procured. It is evident that poverty is linked to more unwanted pregnancy cases that lead to abortion. The challenge can be faced by improving the social, economic status of such persons. More sensitization on the use of contraceptive correctly and consistently should be launched.
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Blackstone, A. (2003, August 1). Gender Roles and Society. Retrieved November 7, 2015, from http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/
Engelhardt, H. T. (1996). The foundations of bioethics. Oxford University Press.
Hinman, L. (2014, July 8). Abortion: An Overview of the Ethical Issues. Retrieved November 7, 2015, from http://ethics.sandiego.edu/presentations/AppliedEthics/Abortion/abortion.pdf
Jelen, T. G. (1984). Respect for life, sexual morality, and opposition to abortion. Review of Religious Research, 220-231.
Kvale, S. (1996). Ethical Theories, Ethical Guidance for Research with Human Participants, Lancaster University UK. Retrieved November 7, 2015, from http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/resources/ethics/resources/ethical_theories.html
Rawls, J. (2009). A theory of justice. Harvard university press.
Summers, J. (1988). Principles of healthcare ethics. Retrieved November 7, 2015, from http://samples.jbpub.com/9781449665357/Chapter2.pdf