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J Korean Acad Womens Health Nurs. 1996 Sep;2(2):203-221. Korean. Original Article.
Um YR .
Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, SoonChunHyang University, Korea.
Abstract

Over one million cases of the induced abortion have been conducted annually in Korea. Among those cases, most of all were illegally done, but this has not been addressed in the literature. While Korean Nurse Association Code of Ethics presents the respect for life as one of the basic ideology, it was not dealt enough in nursing education. The purposes of the study were to activate the debate on the issues related to an induced abortion ; to introduce the related ethical theories ; and to seek the solution of the ethical problems, which will eventually result in establishing the morality of nursing practice. The ethical theories of an induced abortion have traditionally addressed two extreme perspectives ; the conservatives who emphasize the sanctity of human life and the right of life that will never ethically allow the killing fetus ; and the liberalists who insist the right to choice for women to control their body. Since these extreme theories has not been helpful to solve the ethical problems, the recent trend is leading to the modified theories both from conservative and liberal perspectives. The examples of the theories are the potentiality of fetus(Singer, 1993), the obligation of women to serve their body to fetus(Held, 1987), the Replacement theory (Callahan, 1987), and the Principle of Caring (Gilligan, 1982). The study conducted the indepth interviews with 17 women who experienced the induced abortion and the 6 cases were selected to be analyzed. The cases were analyzed and interpreted by using an integrated case method which was combined of the New Casuisty(Jonsen & Toulmin, 1988 ; Jonsen, 1991) and the Specified Principlism (Richardson, 1990 ; Degrazia, 1992). The result of analysis revealed three types of ethical problems ; (1) the responsibility of taking care of the baby to be born (2) the fear for the condition of the fetus, and (3) the choice of induced abortion as the method of birth control. The findings also revealed the related ethical principles for various situations ; the principle of caring was used for choosing an induced abortion by the subjects ; the principles of the potentiality of fetus and the obligation of women to serve their body were for the consideration for the life of fetus ; and the principle of replacement was utilized for the right to choice for women. The ethical principles related to an induced abortion introduced in the study provided the way to solve the moral problems by applying to the clinical situations for nurses. The study also revealed the possibility of modifying the current ethical theories from the method of applying the principles to the various situation in the study. The modified theories would be more useful to guide the clinical practice with similar ethical problems.

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