Ethical Issue Paper Abstract
Abortionis an issue that draws a lot of controversies due to the disagreementregarding whether it is morally right or not. It is relevant tonursing practice since nurses are tasked with providing care topatients irrespective of their choices. Abortion brings an ethicaldilemma in the nursing practice in certain ways. The nurse’sresponsibility to care for a patient often conflicts with the rightsof the patient to decide what is good for them. The nurse`s personalmorals, ethics, and religion might conflict with conducting theprocedure terming it morally wrong. The America Nurses Associationadvocates that a nurse has a right to refuse to perform an abortion,but should advise the patient on the best place they can get theservice. The nurse is also required to assist in performing theprocedure if the health of the patient is at risk.
Individualswho support abortion (Pro-choice) advocate for abortion whereby themother is physically unsafe or if she is mentally unstable. They alsosupport legalizing abortion for it will mean a reduced number ofdeaths and unsafe abortions. People who are against abortion(Pro-Life) consider the fetus as an innocent human being whose lifeshould not be destroyed. They state that life is precious, and it isonly God who has the right to take away life.
Theprinciples of ethics that are relevant to abortion as an ethicaldilemma includes autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and fidelity.Autonomy requires that nurses make independent decisions and beliable for their actions. Beneficence requires a patient to conductwhat is right for the patient. Non-Maleficence calls for the nursenot to perform anything that is harmful. Fidelity entails the nurseprotecting the trust of the patient. The impact of abortion onnursing practice includes psychological effects of stress, anxiety,depression, and trauma that would require the patient to getprofessional help.
Abortionas an Ethical Dilemma
Abortionis a controversial topic in the society today that continues toincreased debate in many spheres. It is a procedure that is conductedto terminate a pregnancy, thereby avoiding the child developmentprocess. Abortion is relevant to nursing practice since the role ofnurses entails assisting a patient to get quality care, irrespectiveof their choices and beliefs. The purpose of the paper is to analyzeabortion as an ethical dilemma in nursing practice.
Advocatesfor the practice are often known as pro-choice whereas individuals orgroups against abortion are regarded as pro-life. Pro-choice statethat abortion is acceptable if one is physically unsafe and if amother is mentally unstable. The sanctity of life principle is oftenput on a woman`s right to make her decisions. They advocate thatlegalizing it would reduce the number of unsafe abortions and deaths.The central argument usually made by pro-life advocates is that thefetus is an innocent being and it is morally wrong to kill. MostChristian nurses are reluctant to perform abortions because of theirbeliefs. Christianity regards life as precious and performingabortion is considered as killing a person which is against itscommandments.
Nurseshave an ethical obligation to promote life, but their dilemma liestowards their responsibilities versus patient`s right to abort.Nurses have increasingly been in a dilemma on making a decision basedon pro-life advocacy and the call for the patient’s rights to berespected. A pregnant woman has various rights such as privacyrights, the ownership of one`s body and self-determination rightwhereby the patient has a right to control their body and getting ridof a fetus is a consequence of that decision. The American NursesAssociation provides a code of ethics that can be used to guidenurses on the rights of patients and nurse’s responsibilities(Lachman, 2014).
Nursesrecognize that each person has a right to make decisions that mightinfluence their lives positively in line with their personal goals.They are required to provide an environment that protects the privacyof patients and their culture while maintaining professionalism(Chadwick and Gallagher, 2016). A nurse has got a right of refusingto perform an abortion if his/her personal morals and religiousbeliefs do not concur. However, they can carry out the procedure ifthere is an emergency case that warrants saving the life of thepatient. The United States law allows for a doctor to refuse toengage in abortion, but require him to refer the patient to anotherhospital.
Theprinciples of ethics that are relevant to abortion as an ethicaldilemma includes autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and fidelity.Autonomy requires that nurses accept responsibility for their actionsand make independent decisions. It can be used in the case of thepatient`s right to self-determination. The dilemma is witnessed inthis ethical principle when nurse’s rights conflict with those ofthe patient. Beneficence entails a nurse doing what is right such asassisting a patient, educating them and providing the rightmedication. In this principle, the appropriate act might present adilemma as it might be beneficial to the patient but detrimental tothe fetus. In the principle of non-maleficence, a nurse should notperform anything that is considered harmful. It might present adilemma to a nurse if she is required to perform an abortion, herrefusal might be detrimental to the patient`s health. Fidelityentails a nurse keeping the promises made and safeguarding the trustof the patient (MacLeod, 2015).
Abortionhas an adverse impact on the nursing practice. Nurses who areunwilling to participate in the practice may limit the patient’saccess to abortion services. There is the psychological effect onboth the patient and the nurse as a result of procuring an abortion.It leads to trauma, depression, anxiety and stress that affects themthroughout their life unless assisted through counseling.
Insummary, it is notable that abortion is an issue that is bound tocontinue eliciting attention in the days to come. It is hard reachingan agreement in the ethical debate. Two arguments that stand stronglyis that pro-choice advocate for abortion in case the mother is atrisk of either mental instability or is physically unsafe, whilepro-life are against conducting the procedure irrespective of therisks. Nurses have an ethical dilemma when their nursingresponsibilities conflict with the patient`s rights. It is thusproper that they are guided by the code of ethics that areestablished to regulate the nursing practice. The decision theychoose to take should be governed by state laws and nursingstandards.
Chadwick,R., & Gallagher, A. (2016). Ethicsand nursing practice.Palgrave Macmillan.
Lachman,V. D. (2014). Conscientious objection in nursing: definition andcriteria for acceptance. MedsurgNursing, 23(3),196.
MacLeod,R. (2015). How Good Do you have to be. JPalliat Care Med, 5,e134.
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