Case Study: Should Sally Be Sterilized

1285 Words 6 Pages
Jai’lece McCracken
Medical Law & Ethics
Term Paper

Should Sally be Sterilized

Sally Smith is 26 years old and is disabled. Her aunt has gone to court to have the young woman sterilized. Smith opposes the sterilization, but a judge has decided that since Sally “would suffer irreparable psychological damage” if she had a child, she should be sterilized. Should Sally be allowed to have children?

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory based on the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The moral philosopher Bentham wanted decisions to be made that would result in the most pleasure. It is also based on the final outcome, so for something to be considered right or wrong, it is determined by the consequences. This theory does not
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It would be against her religion to be sterilized, use birth control, or abort her baby. According to Kant, Sally would not be responsible for the consequences of neglecting the baby because her motive to have the baby was good.

Justice-Based ethics is based on “ the veil of ignorance” which means that one will not see the people being chosen (Fremgen 12). All bias would be eliminated if the person choosing did not see the characteristics of the person, such as age, sex, race, or wealth. This allows no one person to be advantaged or disadvantaged. Therefore, the less fortunate would have the same chance as someone that is more fortunate. John Rawls thought that the first virtue of social institutions should be justice. He developed two principles to apply to situations to say if they were just or unjust. This theory applies to this case because the only reason that the judge is even considering sterilizing Sally is for the reason that she is disabled. Therefore, according to “the veil of ignorance”, if the judge did not see that she was disabled, he would not considering sterilizing her. She would have the same opportunity to have children as someone who was not
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I did not think a judge should be the person to say if someone should be allowed to have a baby or not. Then I did some research and started thinking about my decision from a medical personnel’s point of view. Depending on Sally’s disability, there may be some things that she may not physically be able to do. For example, Sally would need to cook, clean, bathe, feed, care of the hygiene of the child, and take him or her to doctors appointments. Her disability could be intellectual and she may not be competent enough to properly raise a child. If her disability is mental, giving birth may cause her even more psychological damage. Also her disability may be genetic and it is possible that her child may also be disabled. Sally may have to work limited hours, if she is even able to work and having a child would be a financial burden. Sexual abuse is still a possibility if she is sterilized, however an unwanted pregnancy from that situation can be prevented. I think Sally should be entitled to a sex life, however I do not think she should be able to have children if she is not able to be responsible for them (Kamenev).The quality of life the child would have is questionable, if their parent is disabled. If Sally is not physically or mentally capable to take care of the child then whose responsibility is it? If Sally’s aunt is responsible for her, would that make her responsible

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