Chapter 3 of Principles of Biomedical Ethics


The problem of Moral Status

Beauchamp and Childress in this chapter start by explaining the problem associated with moral status, which starts with questions on which groups, objects, or people are or should be protected by moral norms. Throughout the history of human beings, several specific tribes, racial groupings, enemies in war and all nonhuman animals have always been treated as fewer humans who are incapable of morality. They are deemed to have a low level of moral status and fewer or weaker rights in society. Additionally, the authors allude that in some blemished societies, full or partial moral rights of individuals are determined by their moral status. They also give an example of how animals used in biomedical research are presumed to have no moral rights according to medicine and biomedical ethics. From my perspective, I believe that the problem of moral status arises from how things like animals, plants, objects, including many others are treated to be incapable of morality. I argue that no matter the moral status of something or someone, they should be accorded a full moral status in their own right.

Another problem that raises questions on moral status is surrogate decision making. Beauchamp and Childress argue that an individual’s moral status is usually lowered in respect to recognition of surrogates as rightful decision-makers who may entail that incomplete people have lost their rights of decision making. Therefore, any of them of their decisions do not have the same authority as they had before. Similarly, children involved in research are treated like their moral status have diminished only to advance the research goals which do not benefit them in any way. I think that outright denial of moral status to an individual is very implausible, and everyone has a right to speak out and be treated as human beings. In research, I believe vulnerable parties are owed more protections, whether they are young, incompetent, or old.

The problems of moral status also arise in cases of pregnant women who are considered to be brain dead, but their psychological capabilities are often maintained before delivery. Typically, maintaining the body of a pregnant woman who is brain dead against her wishes implies that she has lower moral status than dead bodies since her body has been subjected to extreme measures to benefit the fetus. The question of whether the fetus has stronger rights than a brain-dead pregnant woman may arise despite some moral status beliefs. In my opinion, it is accepted in many societies that the fetus has a stronger moral status than that of a braindead pregnant woman, to the point of an expectant woman’s body being maintained for the sake of the fetus moral rights. However, it remains unclear whether the brain-dead pregnant women also imply to have their rights.

Theories of Moral Status

Having a moral status incorporates some protections that have been afforded by moral norms, including obligations, rights, rules, and principles. Beauchamp and Childress in this chapter, use some simple examples to show how protections can only be afforded to entities that have morally been wronged by actions. Some examples include infecting a person’s dog and computer with a harmful virus. Deliberately harming a person’s object means that a people has wronged not only the owner but also the object. This means that direct objects also count for their rights while indirect do not. There is a clear notion that moral theory fails to clarify the fact that some urge that one property confers moral status. To this end, I understand that the question of whether moral ethics should be used in the entities of beings remains unanswered.

Beauchamp and Childress further argue that the identified properties in the five prominent theories of moral status cannot resolve the main problems associated with moral status on their own. However, the theories collectively provide an over-all, despite the untidy framework for tackling the problems. Furthermore, the five theories are first looked at and assessed why each one is attractive but problematic. The theories present plausible perspectives on moral status, but the theories are not sufficient by themselves. Therefore, the theories fail to adequately account for some of the actions done by human beings, and it remains doubtable that all controversies about moral status can be resolved. The authors, in the end, explain how some disagreements regarding moral status persists, and they also offer suggestions for reducing the conflicts. I believe that the theories fail to give the way forward concerning the problems associated with moral status since some actions are still under controversies.

The moral significance of moral status

Beauchamp and Childress suggest that some writers argue that moral theory should be analyzed in terms of the role of moral virtues and moral character to determine how individuals should be treated. If the moral theories are not well considered, they may hinder the process of decision making by making individuals ignorant of essential features that should be well-thought-out in the process. As such, the theories do not offer relevant information and an account of moral priorities on how we should treat or respond to different matters and thus, individuals would be better off without the theory of moral status. Nonetheless, all individuals have different preferences, and it is upon us to decide on which are right or not, and therefore I believe, no theory of moral status can apply in such situations. With that in mind, it is clear that the theory of moral status has its limits and should be well analyzed and not discarded.

On the other hand, moral coherence should be considered when it comes to undertaking risky biomedical research on vulnerable populations such as humans who lack certain capabilities. Protection for these populations should be high since they are no able to safeguard their interests. Ideally, for biomedical research to be justified, it has to come with potential benefit, and if not, it should be restricted. Individuals from vulnerable populations undergo many challenges, and if they are in our circles, it is vital for us to show them sympathy and moral responsiveness. I believe any form of compassion is morally ideal, and with that, we can be able to avoid incidences of child abuse, animal abuse, and neglect of the elderly in nursing homes.












Beauchamp, T., & Childress, J. (2013). Principles of biomedical ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Homework Essay Paper Writers
Calculate your order
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Choose Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always confirm that writers follow all of your instructions precisely. you'll choose your academic level: highschool, college/university or professional, Your order will be assigned to a writer who possesses a respective degree.

Highly Experienced Paper Writers

Highly Experienced Paper Writers

Our team of professional academic writers has years of vast experience in academic writing, research, and formatting. So you can always be sure that your project is in safe hands.

Free Revisions Essay Writing

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you believe we missed something, feel free to send your order for a free revision. After receipt of the final document, You have 10 days to submit the order for review. A revision can be submitted by logging into your personal account or by contacting our support team.

Timely Assignment Delivery

Timely Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

We ensure that all papers are always delivered on the expected time. In any case, if we require more time to polish your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you are not in a position to allocate additional time, a 100% order refund is guaranteed.

Plagiarism free custom writing

Plagiarism free & Confidential

As part of our quality assurance process, we use several writing tools and checks to ensure that all documents you receive are 100% unique and original.Each paper undergoes careful review by our editors to deliver plagiarism free essays. We also guarantee maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

Real time chat essay writer

Real time online chat with your writer

Our writers and support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist you. We are committed to providing you with top-notch customer experience. Chat with us anytime.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:

How it works?

Get your paper done in these simple steps

give essay topic

Give your requirements

Fill in the order form and tell us about your assignment, instructions and deadline

pay for essay

Proceed with the payment

Choose your preferred payment method and the writer will start writing your custom paper.

download custom essay

Download the final file

Once your high quality custom paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Paper Writing Services

We are here to ensure you dont get stuck with your coursework and assignments. Focus on your hobbies and enjoy some quality leisure time as we write your paper. You can trust our kinds of writing services.

essay writing service essay helper


Essay Writing Service

Stuck with an essay assignment? Making an admission application? We specialize in writing high quality and engaging personal statements as well as application essays. Our professional academic essay writers are experts in writing 100% original essays according to order specifications. From compositions, creative writing to literary analysis we've got you covered.

professional assignment Help assignment writer


Professional assignment Help

Your routine homework and academic assignments are completed on time and at affordable prices. Submit your assignments and the respective subject matter expert will get it done within no time and painlessly. Better grades will be yours without any stress at all!

research paper writing service english essay writer


Research and Term Papers

Every member of our dynamic essay writing team is an expert in academic research. They are all well versed with APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard citation formats. Your research paper gets to you fully formatted and ready to be submitted. The research involved in writing your paper is always 100% original. This is part of our commitment to provide you with papers free of plagiarism.

custom writing academic writer

Custom Writing

Custom Writing Services

Our highly experienced business, nursing, and psychology writers are true professionals with vast prowess at delivering outstanding work in a wide range of fields. You dont have to worry about Short deadlines anymore. Just give us the instructions and you'll receive your custom paper ASAP! We have fully qualified, full-pro writers on stand by to assist you.