Maeve Clare Chawk


Presentation: 10:00-10:20, Kennedy Union 312



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Abortion is a highly contentious topic due to the mother’s health, her financial situation, and opinions from family and other loved ones. This becomes even more difficult when the fetus is diagnosed with birth defects due to social norms and hardships that are specific to taking care of a child with disabilities. However, others are committed to defending the lives of the unborn no matter the circumstances. In 2019, there was a case that arose in the United Kingdom where the mother was ruled unfit to have her child due to her child-like mental capacity and was forced to have an abortion. Yet, she was able to voice her opinion along with her family members. This case analysis will explore the perspectives of all parties involved and apply the moral principles and theories of virtue ethics, autonomy, and Natural Law Theory to argue what the correct ruling would be. Compassion and fairness should have been offered to the patient as she and her family members were willing to raise the child. This illustrates the moral principle of virtue ethics along with her own autonomy. In addition, the Natural Law Theory can be utilized to demonstrate how we have a natural inclination to support good and relieve suffering in human beings, therefore not causing a bad effect to achieve the good effect. This case poses the question whether a fetus is considered to be a person and how this impacts the ruling in this case and its future implications. In this particular case, my objection to the judge’s decision comes from the determination of who would be considered mentally unstable as this could vary tremendously. For this reason, I will argue that the wishes of the patient and her family should have been respected and the judge’s decision overruled.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project - PHL 315 H1

Primary Advisor

Viorel Paslaru

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals

Scholarship; Critical Evaluation of Our Times; Practical Wisdom

Forced Abortions of the Mentally Disabled: A Case Analysis