Defining the Moral Status Essay

1567 Words Apr 22nd, 2013 7 Pages
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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To possess these properties is to be a higher level being means having a higher moral status. The downside is if a person or animal loses their cognitive abilities then their moral status would change. Cognitive properties would then depend on a changing level that does not take into account future possibilities. Examples being if a fetus or an embryo does not possess these traits then they are automatically of low status, and a dog or a cat capable higher of cognitive properties would have a better status than them. Rights and consideration needs to be given to those who have the capability to develop these properties. The third theory is moral agency "derives from the capacity to act as a moral agent"(Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p.72). If one is able to act morally, to do right by others, then that person will have moral status, if they do harm to others, then they will have a lower moral status. An example is a priest or a monk who does their best to help others, and the opposite end are criminals who have committed crime to others, so their freedom and certain rights are taken away. The two main conditions for an individual to be a moral agent is the capability to make moral decisions and "the individual has motives that can judged morally" (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p.72). The theory bases the ability of the individual's will to act
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