Ethical Decision Making

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EthicalDecision Making

Fora long time, humans have developed laws and policies intended toguide coexistence. The policies are important as they help inexplaining whether n action is right or wrong. For instance,assisting someone to commit suicide has received criticism andapproval in equal measure. Similarly, the legality of abortion isalso contentious. The differences emanate due to conflicting ideals,culture, and rules in the society. There exist three primary fieldsnamely metaethics, applied, and normative ethics. Metaethics isgreatly concerned with universal truths and the will of God. Normative ethics explore moral standards and rules that stipulatewhether a given conduct is right or wrong. The field helps inelucidating the expected healthy habits, including the consequencesto other people. Applied ethics examine controversial matters such asabortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, and homosexuality that drawdivergent views from the people. The paper will examine ethicalconsiderations in societies that allow euthanasia. The practice isa deliberate move where an individual is assisted to commit suicide.Moreover, the essays will also argue that irrespective of somenations legalizing and striving to provide abortion services in thepublic hospitals, the practice is barbaric and unacceptable in themodern civilized society.

Peoplemake decisions that have direct or indirect implications on otherindividuals and society. Euthanasia continuesto generate diverse opinions, with many societies disapproving it. Inexamining the matter, it is appropriate to look at the practice inspecific societies. Adherenceto moral and ethical values is an appropriate step towards enhancingthe quality of decision-making process. Although it is a painlessprocess, euthanasia may encourage people to engage in unethical andimmoral deeds that show no respect to humanity. Similarly, abortionwill remain immoral irrespective of the reason people give to justifytheir action. In some cases, women claim that they abort because theyconceived unexpectedly. Such reasons should not be valid as everyoneshould face the consequences of their actions. Euthanasiaand abortion should not be allowed as it contradicts religious andsocietal values on respect for life.



Humanlife is guided by morals, rules, and traditional norms (Staub, 2013).In particular, people ought to take up behaviors and actions thatreflect healthy living. How one acts or behaves has significantinfluence on his or her relationship with other individuals in thesociety. Both ancient ethics and modern morality detail importantguidelines on human expectations. Nonetheless, the differences inrules and norms make it difficult to generate a standard approach.People define good living in the context of their inherentcharacteristics and norms in the society. It is recognizable thatvirtue ethics, for instance, cannot appropriate answers to ethicaldifficulties (Williams, 2012).Euthanasia and abortion practices are classified into severalcategories, namely, voluntary, involuntary, and non-voluntary. Manycountries around the world have entrenched laws that outlaw theseactions while others remain silent on the matter. Scholars offersocial, religious and philosophical arguments that either support ordenounce the acts.

Accordingto Fieser(2015), abortion comes handy when a woman conceives unintentionally.She cites the example of the 16-year old girl, Jenny, from NorthCarolina town, who got pregnant with his high school boyfriend. Shedelivered in her bedroom secretly, and allegedly killed the infant bysuffocating it in a polythene paper. Although she was not chargedwith the offence, it is presumed that she killed baby because she wasafraid of her stern father. She had been raised in strict religiousbackground that condemns premarital sex. According to the school ofutilitarian reasoning, the action of killing an infant is morallyright because it gives the maximum good. It kept Jenny, her parents,friends and her boyfriend joyful. Nevertheless, from the perspectiveof virtual reality, the action is immoral considering that she killedanother human being.

Incountries such as The United States, abortion is legal because thepolicymakers believe that termination of a pregnancy in the firsttrimester does not amount to killing a human. Moreover, thepro-abortionist have also argued that the contraceptives are not 100%efficient, therefore, women ill occasionally conceive unwillingly.Third, some women argue that they should be allowed to abort as theyhave the right to do what they like with their bodies. Nevertheless,I disagree with the opinion of women who recommend that abortionshould be legal because they have a right to use their bodies as theyplease or that first trimester a fetus is not viable. Religiousmorals dispute the argument because the principle believes that lifebegins at conception. Similarly, I believe that abortion should beprohibited in all instances, even when the health of the mother is atrisk. The advanced technology facilitates the removal of fetus, andthen growing it in an incubator. Further, women who argue that theyhave conceived accidentally should carry the pregnancies to fullterm, and then give their babies to foster parents. Several statesalso have children centers where mothers can give away their childrento be raised.

Accordingto Philosopher Dan Brock, there areenough grounds to permit voluntary active euthanasiaand no sound reasons to reject the procedure when it is clearlyregulated (Cholbi&amp Valerius, 2015).His position is informed by the fact that killing sufferingindividuals is perceptive since the patients experience great painand suffering in their situation. What are the moral andconsiderations that influence societies to permit euthanasia? Is thesociety aware of the moral deeds that influence decisions oncontroversial matters? In the US, the laws governing the matter aredifferent in the various states. Euthanasia differs from thephysically assisted suicide in that euthanasia is the last casualstep before death by other than the dying person while the physicianassisted suicide is the last casual step before death by the dyingperson.

Voluntaryeuthanasia is carried out with the consent of the patient.Non-voluntary category is performed when the permission from thepatient is not available such as child euthanasia. Further, the threecan be classified as passive where all forms of medication arewithheld or passive where the patient is subjected to lethaltreatments. Involuntary euthanasia is carried out without theapproval of the patient. It is not morally permissible to granteuthanasia. Peoplesubscribe to different cultural, religious, and personal beliefs. Thesaid features have the potential to block one from recognizingethical issues. As such, it is difficult to generate an agreeableground that stipulates ethical or unethical behavior.

Theologicalethics consider that God is the primary source of morality. Humansneed to obey and respect religious beliefs as commanded by a SupremeBeing. Moral duty analyses religious tenets, language, andperspectives that lessen burdens on people (Wainwright, 2013).Nonetheless, religious ethics encounter difficulties since peopleobey God’s command for fear of punishment. Euthanasia negates thereligious values that God expects from humans.

Recognitionof ethical issues in the societal or organizational setting is animportant step that requires one to adopt a flexible attitude. Modernmorality necessitates an individual not to assume good living only,but also mind about the interests of other people (Durkheim, 2013).Moral awareness is thus instrumental towards generating a consensuson recognition of ethical issues (Mbacke, 2013). It is notable thatsome ethical issues may turn out hard to agree with such aseuthanasia and abortion. However, the most effective way to makepeople aware that both practices are morally wrong would be throughwriting a book with moral lessons surrounding these issues, and thenlooking for a movie director to convert it into a movie. I alsointend to begin a blog that will advocate against abortion andeuthanasia.

Alternativesand Judgment

Endingthe life of a person precipitately through either assisted suicide orabortion continues to generate mixed reactions from the society. Theopinions are divided due to the moral values, consent of individualand religious values, among others. In his argument, Emmanuel Kantopposed the idea that euthanasia should be legalized arguing that itis against the set morals (Taylor,2013).He contested that human beings are rational, thus their ideas shouldnot constitute universal laws such as legalizing euthanasia.Ordinarily, the practice is carried out voluntarily where the victimagrees to be killed through this painless approach. Beingcontroversial makes the legislation of the practice difficult. It isbelieved that nature should be allowed to take course on mattersregarding to the death of an individual. The practice carries alongvalues that present challenges to the justice system andpractitioners. A philosopher, Gay-Williams, argues that euthanasia isagainst nature and self interest. He asserts that ultimate careshould be given to the dying. Killing an individual through whatevermeans is immoral when argued from the context of religious andsocietal values. There are clear laws internationally that upholdsthe ‘right to life’ for all individuals. Euthanasia violates thisimportant law.

Theconsequences arising from our actions have considerable influence onone’s behaviors and deeds. Ethics theories are relevant indecision-making at individual and societal level. The theories canhelp to generate policies and legislations that bring more benefit tothe majority, but also recognizing the inclusion of the minority. Thesignificance of ethics principles is making particular conceptsapplicable during the EDM process. Duty ethics, for instance, explorethe virtue of any deed in the context of a person’s compliance withthe rule of law. As such, one needs to undertake his or her dutieswith reference to the consequences on other people. At theprofessional level, a nurse attends to the patient following theguidelines spelt out in the nursing practice. Countries have lawsthat spell out the rights of patient, including the right toreasonable care. Clinicians need to respect the wishes of a patientif he or she requests for voluntary euthanasia. Nonetheless, theburden of killing falls on the medical professional, hence, makes ithard for one to agree to such a decision (Williams, 2012).

Inthe case abortion, duty ethics also offer the best approach foraddressing the practice. The philosophy contends that an individualshould choose an action that would be universally right. In thatcase, the decision taken would be acceptable in all societies becauseit is not biased or misinformed by societal beliefs (Williams, 2012). Every mother has a duty to ensure that her child comes to no harmirrespective of the physical, health or social challenges she faces.The theory can discourage abortion because it requires an action doerto execute an action even if it does not result in individual favour.For instance, a mother who has complication may opt to continuecarrying the pregnancy, and control the complications using drugs,instead of terminating the pregnancy prematurely.

Ethicalobjectivism appears as a better theory to explain whether an actionis right or wrong (Renteln,2013).The concept looks at the nature of an action, including theconsequences to the people. Various philosophers have formulatedmultiple theories in support of ethical objectivism. The utilitariantheory, generated by Stuart Mill, asserts that right and ethicalactions or behaviors ought to bring happiness to the majority of apopulation (Eggleston&amp Miller, 2014).The idea behind the utilitarian theory is to ensure that people’sactions lessen the burden affecting humanity. On the other hand,Emmanuel Kant supports deeds that are guided by universal law(Herman, 2016). The world has accepted values and beliefs that havehelped shape policies around the world. The concept has greatconsideration about the differences in opinions, beliefs, culture,and interests among the people (Eggleston&amp Miller, 2014).

Inmy opinion, some moral principles are not helpful in decision-making.Egoism, for instance, compels people to make decisions that are basedon their personal values and beliefs. An egoistic medicalpractitioner is likely to support euthanasia and abortion as long asa one has requested it. For instance, a healthy pregnant woman whohas conceived accidentally may want to have an abortion to correctthe issue. Similarly, the family of a patient in a coma may opt tohave their loved one taken off the life-support machines to avoidaccumulating high hospital bill. Such individuals take advantage ofthe weak and disadvantaged groups for personal gain (Vaughn, 2015).

TheKantian morals provide the best approach to address both abortion andeuthanasia because people are guided by the desire to do the rightthing even if they might outcome will not favor them. For example,the family of a bedridden patient could decide to keep their patientsin life-support machine despite that the knowledge that he or shemight die, and the services will accrue high costs. On the same note,a mother aware that she will bear a crippled child, who will remain aburden throughout her life, would choose to keep the pregnancy tomaturity.

Decisionsand Actions

Ethicalperspectives are used to determine whether something is right orwrong, which enables an individual tends to choose actions withintegrity (Niebuhr,2013).In the case of a person reasoning using the utilitarian morals, aperson chooses an action that brings satisfaction the biggest numberof people. For example, Jenny from North Carolina decided to kill theinfant so that she could please her father and avoid beingreprimanded (Fieser). Similarly, a woman who has conceived out ofwedlock would rather terminate the fetus than be reprimanded by thesociety. Furthermore, Utilitarian moral theory, which argues that anaction that brings happiness to the majority is ethical, wouldrecommend that a family member suffering from a chronic illness to beput to early death so that he or she cannot use the family resourcesin search of treatment service (Herman, 2016).

Inmany cases, people know the right decisions, but they are overcome bygreed and personal gain that prevents them from taking the rightaction. For example, an expectant mother may know that it is wrong toterminate a pregnancy, and that her actions will haunt her throughouther life, but she still aborts to avoid bearing the shame of wrongacts. A good example is the girl who killed her baby to avoid facingher father and the society concerning her undesirable actions.


Ethicaland moral values underscore the significance of avoiding conflictsand punishment. Humans’ decisions should reflect dignity andself-respect. Being moral is a human capability that one cannot livewithout observing. Despite the controversial matters, humans need toshow great respect for their peers irrespective of their beliefs,opinions, and culture.Nature provides alternative measures for the delicate situations.Both the justice system and medical practitioners should take acourse instead of taking the life of an individual. The policymakersand authorities can create social norms in the society throughimplementation moral regulations and enforcement of provisionsagainst abusive practices. All in all, the debates on euthanasia andabortion will continue to emerge since they touch on a criticalcomponent – life. From the above discussion, the practices shouldnot be permitted as they infringe on the moral values as well ashuman rights and they are likely to open up other avenues that willhurt innocent people by denying them the right to life.


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