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Ethical Dilemma Faced by Professional Nurses on Abortion Issue

While she states that she believes that abortion is murder, she also states that she personally believes that abortion is acceptable if the conception occurred as a consequence of rape or incest.

Six principles of ethics are considered for their applicability to this analysis. These six principles are (1) autonomy, (2) beneficence, (3) non-maleficence, (4), fidelity, (5) justice, and (6) veracity.

1. Autonomy: Autonomy requires that a nurse be independent in action and decision-making, and accept responsibility for her or his actions and the consequences of those actions (Milner, 1993, p. 23). Autonomy, however, may also be interpreted to mean that the patient has a right of self-determination concerning actions related her or his own life (Catalano, 1992, p. 93). The ethical principle of autonomy is applicable to this case where the autonomous rights of patient and nurse conflict with one another.

2. Beneficence: Beneficence requires a nurse to do what is good (Milner, 1993, p. 23). Elements of doing what is goodùproviding treatments and medications, educating, assisting, supporting competency, kindness, and so forthùunfortunately may, at times, conflict with one another. Thus, an ethical decision based upon beneficence often may be complex. Such complexity is present in this case, where doing good for the patient also will do harm to the fetus.

3. Nonmaleficence: Nonmaleficence requires that a nurse do nothing that is harmful (Milner, 1993, p. 23; Corley, Selig, & Ferguson, 1993, p. 120). Within the context of the concept of abortion, the ethical principle of nonmaleficence could be interpreted to mean that a nurse should not assist in a procedure that will lead to the death of the fetus. Conversely, the failure by a nurse to provide care to the patient in this case might cause harm to befall the patient.

4. Fidelity: Fidelity requires a nurse to both keep promises made to others and to protect the trus...

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Ethical Dilemma Faced by Professional Nurses on Abortion Issue. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:32, July 20, 2017, from
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