Nancy is a 35-year-old married librarian with a daughter who is 7 years old. Earlier, at the age of 18, she had an abortion during the first months of pregnancy. Now at the age of 35, she finds herself pregnant again. She is advised that her amniocentesis and alpha feta protein markers indicate that her child may be at high risk of Down’s Syndrome. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is where cells are taken from the placenta and used to analyze the fetal chromosomes also indicates that her child is at high risk of Down’s Syndrome. Nancy finds the decision to abort difficult because she feels differently about abortion having previously gone through one. Although she still believes that women have a right to have an abortion, she no longer feels abortion is right for her. Please respond to each of the following questions in your essay:
a. Can Nancy be consistent in believing that abortion is morally permissible for women in general but not for herself at this time?
b. Should Nancy’s counselor urge her to have an abortion?
c. Should the father of the child (her husband) have a say in Nancy’s decision?
d. Nancy’s counselor asked whether it would be more difficult for her to terminate the pregnancy or raise the child with Down’s syndrome. If you were in Nancy’s position, would this question be the most important for you? If so why would it be important? If not, which question is most important for you?
e. If abortion is tolerated socially, should there be a limit on the number and/or type of abortions a woman has? For example, would it make a difference if Nancy is in the second trimester when she learns of the amniocentesis and CVS results? How would such limits on abortion be defined and enforced without violating personal privacy?