Defining the Moral Status

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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 Beauchamp and Childress to help present a plausible perspective on an adequate moral status position. There is human, cognitive, moral agency, sentience, and relationship theory. Human properties are based on the idea that anything that has human DNA should be given full moral status. "And individual has moral status if and only if that individual is conceived by human parents- or, alternatively, if and only if it is an organism with a genetic code" (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p.65). The theory bases human properties as possessing intelligence, reasoning and planning, the ability to make moral decisions, and speaking. This would mean all humans, fetus, embryos, or adults in coma state would have a higher status than animals, regardless of the animal's functioning levels. The theory is too general and even though certain animals could possess better human properties than an adult with low level cognitive functions, all of this is not taken into account. A more specific guideline would help us come up with a better method in determining moral status. A cognitive property “refers to processes of awareness such as perception, memory, understanding, and thinking" (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p.69). The major priorities supporting...
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