Ethical analysis on therapeutic abortion for fetal abnormality: A case study

Linda Y.K. Lee, Joseph K.L. Lee, Simon C. Lam, S. L. Wong

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


The potential for perinatal diagnosis of pathological conditions and the subsequent option for therapeutic abortion have led to ethical concerns in nursing practice. This case study aimed to conduct an ethical analysis of a case of therapeutic abortion for fetal abnormality. The case was analyzed using two key processes: decontextualization and recontextualization. The specific tasks involved listening to different voices, gaining a thorough understanding of the case, using ethical principles to guide the analysis, and arriving at a solution. The analysis demonstrated how the nurse struggled to find the balance between respecting the client's autonomous choice in continuing the pregnancy and protecting her from the potential difficulties of child care. The consideration of the client's unique circumstances and helping her visualize her own situation and available options were essential. Guided by the ethical principles of autonomy and beneficence, the ethical dilemma was solved by arriving at a solution that was acceptable to the client and in her best interest. The present experience poses implications for nurses who are responsible for handling ethical dilemmas in their clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildbirth Research
Subtitle of host publicationNew Developments
PublisherNova Science Publishers Inc
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781620817896
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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