The black and white of the Sherri Finkbine case goes as follows: Sherri Finkbine was two months pregnant when she discovered her fetus had a chance of being born with a deformity. The deformities would be because of a drug taken for morning sickness that came with no warning. At the time, Arizona state law stated abortion could only be performed if it was to save the life of the expecting mother. As a result, the state of Arizona did not allow the procedure to be completed.
Sherri Finkbine’s abortion was completed in Sweden. The grey area begins with the morality and legality of the abortion. Considering all questions about fairness, rights, and responsibilities, Sherri Finkbine’s decision was ethical. Her decision should have been allowed based on the principles of beneficence, equality and integrity.
When the topic of abortion rises one must always consider equality. Especially in the United States of America, because the constitution states that all lives are created equal.
The principle of distributive justice says that human beings should treat each other fairly and justly when distributing risks, burdens, and benefits among themselves in civic society. One might argue that by supporting abortion we are not upholding our constitution; at the same time, we are covering up child constitutional rights. The use of the distributive justice principle backs their opinion. However, the fact remains that a child is not an American citizen until they are born into the world on American soil. Therefore, the child is not yet in need to be covered by constitutional rights, only the mother, who has the right of pursuit of happiness.
It is Sherri’s constitutional right to pursue happiness, and if destroying something she created would make her happy than no one should stop her as she would not be imposing on anyone else’s rights in the process.
To use the principle, one should consider putting themselves in the shoes of Sherri. Considering the circumstances, would it be treating everyone fairly if she was not allowed to do anything about the possibility of a deformed child? When a company installs a heater and leaves no warning about possible combustion, the heater could blow up. This will cause the company to owe compensation to whoever bought the heater. Why would a company that essentially ruining someone’s child be any different? Sherri has a right to a chance for new baby since hers has been destroyed. The principle of beneficence states we should act in ways that promote the welfare of other people, according to reasonable expectations and standards of due care. Most people would look at this and apply it to the case as Sherri went against this principle of ethics. Killing her unborn child was not promoting the welfare of that unborn child, therefore making the abortion unethical.
They are looking at the welfare of only one expectant life, some can argue that it’s not even a life yet. One who argues this point is not looking at the welfare of the parents, the welfare of the future child, nor are they really taking a look at the welfare of the world as a whole. Think about the liberty stripped from the parents when they are forced to have a disabled child. Parents expect to watch their child grow old and ultimately start taking care of themselves when the child is of age. However, with a disabled child this will never be the case since they are stuck with that child, tending and helping to its every need until the day the parents pass away. After the parents pass from the world, the disabled child becomes the world’s problem. The parents could resent their child for this, not to mention the child will resent the parents for giving them this life. The disabled child’s mental health will never be that of normal child even, if their deformities are only physical.
On the other hand, the world is highly overpopulated in society till this day. There are already close to eight billion people on this earth and that number is rising by 62,000 people every day (Current World Population). There are over fifty thousand estimated kids in foster homes needing a home (Foster Care). So, ask yourself is it really in the best interest of society to allow a child to be born with deformities? No, it is not at all. Why take up more space on Earth for someone that would not be able to contribute the same as everyone. Does one keep a table that wobbles because it is missing a leg, when they have an overabundance of perfectly fine tables? No they do not, especially when they are running out of space to keep the tables in the first place.
The last pushing point of deciding if this case is moral or not is the fact the drug was never tested and came with no warning. The woman receiving the abortion should not be held responsible, morally or legally, because she took the drugs without the knowledge of what the outcome would be. Some might argue that she should be held responsible because she consumed the drug, however Finkbine would not have taken the drug if she knew what it would ultimately lead to. The principle of integrity states that one upholds the practice of truth-telling and publicity of all necessary and essential information to safeguard those whose lives would otherwise be negatively impacted. The FDA, as well as the company, went against the principle of integrity and they are the only people who should be held accountable for the deformities as well as the abortions based on the circumstances.
Ultimately, they are the ones that improperly labeled the boxes and refuse to give a public warning of the consequences. In fact, they advertised this product as “completely safe for everyone including mother and child even during pregnancy” (Stephens, C.J.). If a candy company sells a candy bar with peanuts but advertises the candy as nut free, that company should be responsible for anyone who buys the candy bar with a peanut allergy. The company would be at fault because they advertised under false presences and the FDA for allowing such stories to be printed. The court of law would side against the company and charge them with criminal negligence manslaughter which “occurs when the death results from a high degree of negligence or recklessness” (Manslaughter). How we determine guilt or innocence and the application of just and fitting punishment is called retributive justice.
When it comes to deciding if Sherri should be punished in anyway, one can use the retributive justice principle to decide. Taking in all of the details of the case, Sherri should not be punished for something that the company is guilty of. It was unfair that they did not include the proper information for the case and that they advertised under false pretenses. The decision of morality and legality of abortion is a grey area and one must choose which shade of grey they choose to look at in order to make their decision. After examining Sherri Finkbine’s situation and analyzing the factors involving the company, the many questions about fairness, liberties, and obligations involved, one must conclude the abortion was morally permissible based on the principles of beneficence, integrity, equality and both principles of justice. Surely majority of women in today’s society to agree to Sherri’s case.