Defining the Moral Status
Biomedical Ethics Chapter 3
Defining the moral status
As time passes medicine and the healthcare system has greatly improved the life expectancy of mankind, and more options present themselves, they also come a price as to which is the right choice to make. How do we defy which life is more important, who gets to live and who has second priority?
How do you determine who has a higher moral status. What properties should you base your criteria on? We will isolate and divulge on the significant properties that present guidelines on how to address the moral rights of vulnerable groups. Some examples are human embryos, fetus, research test animals, adults in mentally compromised state. There are five theories suggested by
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Beauchamp and Childress mentioned "vulnerable parties such as young children, the severely retarded... deserve special protection, no that they merit no protection” (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p.73” There needs to be a theory that takes into account an individual potential ability or who they were as a normal, healthy person. The theory of sentience is “consciousness in the form of feeling, especially the capacity to feel pain and pleasure and to suffer, as distinguished from consciousness as perception or thought" (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p.73). This is based on the capacity to empathize with others. The issue with this property is most entities possess the ability to feel pain; therefore these entities would then possess human rights. Animals raised in farms for the sole purpose of being slaughtered and eaten would now have rights, thus changing the food industry. Rats and mosquitoes normally killed as pest would now have present issues to pest control measures. For humans this raises the technical question when does a fetus possess moral status? What if an adult is in a coma, do they feel pain? If they do not then their moral status will be lower compared to a rat who actively feels pain. Plants, rocks and robot do not feel pain therefore this group does not possess moral status. The issue at hand is this theory does not consider the richness of consciousness