Abortion for Congenital Abnormalities
Abortion has been a legal, social and ethical issue since long before the laws began to have a say. When abortion was legalized in 1973, after the resolution of the Roe v. Wade case, states were no longer allowed to keep their laws prohibiting abortion and women were given the choice whether to continue a pregnancy or not. However, as time has passed, some states are beginning to revert back to the pre-Roe v. Wade times and make abortion a virtually impossible task. During the first trimester and briefly into the second, a woman has a choice to have prenatal screening and diagnosis done on her fetus. This is done for a variety of reasons, to medically and psychologically prepare for any special needs the infant may have or to choose to abort the fetus if the mother so desires. This creates an ethical dilemma for many obstetrical nurses who are against abortion.
Summary and Ethical Principle
According to Ballantyne (2009), the article is to discuss the ethical issues that would arise in an area “where [prenatal diagnosis] is available but legal abortion for serious congenital abnormalities is not.” The article brings light to surveys that were taken in various countries, some where abortion was legal and some where it was not. A large percentage of women on both ends of the spectrum would consider or indeed terminate a pregnancy of a fetus with a congenital abnormality. Some of these studies were done in developing countries. Ballantyne takes that into account when discussing the tremendous financial hardships the families would face attempting to raise a child with severe medical needs in a country where medical treatment is not always readily available. It is quite possible that an abortion is the only thing that stands between a woman and poverty. In countries where women have, on average, five or six children, they are deemed incapable of providing for their families or even themselves. If one of those children had a severe disability that required hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills to just keep the child healthy, the entire family would suffer.
Taking a woman’s right to be able to choose the outcome of her pregnancy is denying her autonomy. Ballantyne (2009) discusses the ethical implications of offering prenatal diagnosis without the access to termination. The women are “forced to choose between having a child with a serious congenital condition or risking an unsafe and illegal abortion” (Ballantyne). Women are put at a higher risk of health problems when they are denied a legal abortion. As with many things in life, if someone wants something bad enough, they will find a way to get it. Which, unfortunately, usually results in unsafe and risky illegal abortions.
Textbook and Article Comparison
In discussing abortion, Murray (2006) brings an unbiased light to the issue. She states the opposing views, better known as pro-choice and pro-life. While many women think that abortion is a woman’s right, they would not choose abortion for themselves. As in Ballantyne’s article, Murray states that “abortion, either legal or illegal, has always been a reality of life and will continue regardless of legislation or judicial rulings.” She also brings up the unsafe conditions of illegal abortions that Ballantyne stated in her article.
Three Safeguards. Murray (2006) states that the three safeguards for health care are: “(1) the nurse practice acts, (2) standards of care set by professional organizations, and (3) rules and policies set by the institution employing the nurse.” The nurse practice act is specific to the state in which the nurse practices. It defines what a nurse is permitted to do when caring for a patient and expectations in providing care. Nurses must be informed about the issue of prenatal diagnosis and abortion from legal and ethical standpoints, along with being familiar with the laws and regulations in the state in