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Bioethics Essay Questions

Bioethics Essay Questions

Personal Application

Among the themes discussed in class, abortion stood out as especially fascinating and ethically difficult. The abortion debate dives into fundamental issues such as bodily autonomy, the status of fetal life, and the confluence between personal beliefs and broader cultural standards. The ethical issues surrounding abortion are strongly founded in opposing views on when personhood begins and the moral duties that come with pregnancy (Vaughn, 2020). The polarizing nature of the abortion issue emphasizes the difficulty of establishing a middle ground that respects different points of view while recognizing the complex realities that women face when navigating reproductive decisions. Exploring the subtleties of this topic has highlighted the significance of promoting open and courteous discourse to traverse the complex ethical landscape of abortion.

This deeper awareness of the ethical complications surrounding abortion has had a huge impact on my perspective on the subject, prompting a more empathic and open-minded attitude. Recognizing the wide spectrum of opinions and experiences, I am now more likely to engage in intelligent and courteous discussions with those who hold opposing viewpoints. This understanding of the complex character of the abortion discussion has inspired me to promote a space where people may express themselves without fear of being judged. In my personal and professional life, this entails cultivating an environment that values diversity and encourages dialogue, particularly when ethical concerns, such as healthcare or social policy, collide with the personal nature of reproductive choices.

Furthermore, this realization has emphasized the significance of campaigning for comprehensive reproductive health education and accessible healthcare services. It underlines the importance of policies that prioritize people’s bodily autonomy while acknowledging society’s responsibility to assist individuals in making informed decisions. In my professional and personal life, I have become more aware of the significance of contributing to a society that values varied viewpoints, protects reproductive rights, and encourages a holistic approach to healthcare that addresses the complicated ethical considerations inherent in situations such as abortion.

2A. Philosophical Summary and Response: Euthanasia

In considering the complicated ethical features of euthanasia, I find myself agreeing with utilitarian philosophers such as Peter Singer, who argue that the moral appraisal of euthanasia should be based on the reduction of suffering and the promotion of total well-being. Singer’s utilitarian approach emphasizes the significance of maximizing happiness and avoiding pain, giving a framework for analyzing end-of-life decisions from the perspective of a larger ethical context. However, I share the concerns of deontological philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, who argue that certain actions, such as willfully taking a life, are incompatible with moral norms. While I appreciate the useful emphasis on compassion and reducing suffering, I see the need to carefully assess the potential slippery slope and ethical issues faced by willfully causing harm, even for humanitarian purposes. Thus, my attitude on euthanasia represents a complex blending of utilitarian and deontological ideas, attempting to strike a balance between empathy and a careful approach to the sanctity of life.

James Rachels and Daniel Callahan offer opposing viewpoints on euthanasia, with Rachels calling for a more permissive attitude in some situations and Callahan taking a more cautious approach. In his case for active euthanasia, Rachels argues that the moral distinction between murdering and allowing someone to die is arbitrary, emphasizing the significance of the patient’s well-being and eliminating unnecessary suffering. On the other hand, Callahan contends that purposeful killing is intrinsically evil and that legalizing euthanasia could result in a devaluing of human life (Foerter & J, 2020). While both arguments address the ethical challenges of euthanasia, I find Rachels’ reasoning more appealing since it places a greater emphasis on human autonomy and the alleviation of suffering. Rachels opposes traditional moral distinctions and emphasizes pragmatic and compassionate factors in end-of-life decisions, aligning with a viewpoint that prioritizes quality of life and the ability to make autonomous decisions concerning one’s death.

Equity Awareness

The healthcare system in the United States is inequitable, as indicated by ongoing gaps in access, quality, and health outcomes across demographic groups. Discussions in class focused on racial and ethnic inequities in the healthcare system. For example, Black and Hispanic populations had greater rates of maternal mortality, chronic diseases, and poorer life expectancies than White people. These discrepancies are the result of historical issues such as systematic racism, discriminatory policies, and social determinants of health such as unequal access to education and economic opportunity. These factors have an impact that goes beyond individual choices, underscoring the structural aspect of healthcare disparities.

Economic disadvantages that lead to healthcare inequities were also discussed in class. Since the United States lacks universal healthcare, a considerable segment of the population lacks adequate insurance coverage, limiting their access to important medical services. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds frequently experience impediments to preventive care, resulting in delayed diagnoses and more severe health problems (Lee, 2023). Furthermore, the class discussed how employment-based health insurance can perpetuate inequality by lacking coverage due to job uncertainty or unemployment. These talks are consistent with broader research findings emphasizing the need for substantial reforms to address the basic causes of healthcare inequality and promote fair and equal access to healthcare services for all Americans.

Furthermore, class discussions illuminated the role of systemic factors such as job-related health insurance in increasing healthcare disparities. The shaky relationship between job and health coverage exposes individuals to risk, particularly during economic downturns or industry transitions, leaving them without constant access to critical medical treatment. The difficulties of navigating insurance systems and the associated administrative constraints were also examined, emphasizing how these restrictions disproportionately affect individuals with lower socioeconomic status. These findings underline the significance of making legislative reforms that will lead to a more inclusive and accessible healthcare system and the importance of addressing economic considerations as vital components of achieving healthcare equity.


Foerter, M., & J, K. (2020). Inevitable euthanasia? Dementia and normalizing a new eugenics for the aging and infirm.

Lee, J. (2023). Correlates of and disparities in cancellations or delays of prenatal visits during the Covid-19 pandemic: Emphasis on racial/ethnic minorities and persons with low socioeconomic status. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Vaughn, L. (2020). Bioethics: Principles, issues, and cases. Oxford University Press.


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BIOETHICS,5th edition: Chapter 10 p 589-593, 584-589, chapter 7: p 305- 319, Chap. 11, pg. 631
Instructions: Please type your response to these three questions. They should be around 300-500 word responses to each question – which is 1-2 pages double-spaced per question.

1. Personal Application (4 points): Consider the topics we have now covered in class since the last exam. These include the ethics of medical research, racism, and systemic injustice in healthcare, euthanasia, abortion, and the right to healthcare. What struck you as most interesting, most crucial, most inspiring, or most disturbing? Lastly, how will this understanding impact your response to this issue going forward in your own life? (For example, will this impact the way you engage in your career or in some other area of life?)

Bioethics Essay Questions

Bioethics Essay Questions

2. Philosophical Summary & Response (3 points): Choose one of the following two questions. Please identify “2 A” or “2 B” in your answer.

A. On the topic of euthanasia, which philosopher do you agree and disagree with on the topic? Compare the two philosophical arguments by Rachels and Callahan to one another in detail. Then, explain why you favor the reasoning of the one over the other. (Remember that you have readings and notes available online.)

B. Consider Daniels’ argument on the right to health care in detail. In what way in his argument grounded in a focus on individual rights? In what way did his theory liken to our understanding of Rawls? What kind of right to health care does he believe we should have in a just society? Then, explain why you agree or disagree with him on this. (Remember that you have reading on him, an online lecture available if you want it, and my notes online.)

3. Equity Awareness (3 points): Is healthcare equitable or fair to all groups within the United States? Why or why not? Provide specific examples from class, though you are free to also include your own research on this topic.

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