Ethical Issue Paper: Informed Consent & Abortion
Informed consent is an important matter in helping professions. It allows for the professional (doctor, therapist, teacher, etc.) to share pertinent information with a patient or client, and give them the opportunity to make educated decisions on behalf of their life and health. Its overall goal is to keep things in an open perspective for the client and let them see all sides, good and bad. In regards to abortion procedures, informed consent has become a debated issue. Be it in the form of educational requirements or parental consent for minors, ethics play a role in determining what the right steps are in this area.
The topic of abortion has been a controversial one for many years, and is continuously disputed in governmental proceedings. Policies related to abortion are presented and handled with care, because of the moral and ethical issues that often times surrounds the procedure. To gain a deeper understanding of the serious issue of abortion, it is important to know what abortion procedures consists of. Abortion is defined as “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus. It can be classified in: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation, or an induced expulsion of a human fetus” (Abortion, n.d.). In most controversial cases of abortion it is usually an intentional termination, or induced abortion.
Induced abortions are usually performed because of an unwanted or unintended pregnancy. Some reasoning behind receiving an abortion could be a family that cannot care for a child financially, or stigma due to age of the woman expecting (i.e., teenage mothers). An induced abortion may also be performed if the fetus is a product of incest or rape, or if the fetus is expected to be born with a mental deficiency, severe deformity, or genetic abnormality (Abortion, 2011).
According to law, it is negligent to perform any medical treatment without obtaining the patient’s consent first. Healthcare providers in the United States must not only obtain consent, but also take the necessary steps in disclosure and dialogue with the patient to ensure they are educated, thus, making it informed consent (Gold & Nash, 2007). The foundation of informed consent relies on three basic rules: “Patients must possess the capacity to make decisions about their care; their participation in these decisions must be voluntary; and they must be provided adequate, appropriate information to make the decisions before them” (Gold & Nash, 2007, p.1).
It would seem to be important that informed consent methods are used for patients seeking out abortions, but in some cases this decision has been criticized, especially due to certain requirements before consent. The Women’s Right to Know Act brought into play a lot of factors related to abortion and patient education on the matter. The act, passed in...