Doing Ethics in a Pluralistic World: Essays in Honour of Roger C. Hutchinson

By Roger C. Hutchinson; Phyllis D. Airhart et al. | Go to book overview

10
FETAL ASSESSMENT
A Feminist Approach to a Bioethical Case Study Using
Hutchinson's Method of Ethical Clarification
TRACY J. TROTHEN

Science, technology and medicine present complex issues and challenges. In this essay, I will identify the myriad of ethicial issues involved in a dilemma faced by one family, and show how a feminist theological perspective can help to clarify those issues. I present the family's story from my perspective, as the chaplain involved. To do so, I use Roger Hutchinson's method for ethical clarification to pose the questions and to identify a number of relevant issues.

I had the privilege of having Roger Hutchinson as thesis director for my doctoral studies in ethics at Emmanuel College. Through him, I learned that ethics are grounded in matters of everyday life. Although the heart condition addressed in this essay is very unusual, the people involved are not. Their case generates numerous questions, many of which will be familiar. Its particularity is, in many ways, its strength, but it is also its limitation. I will focus on certain ethical issues relevant to this particular ethical perplexity. My analysis will demonstrate some of the ways in which a feminist theological perspective can enlarge the moral landscape by challenging commonly accepted assumptions.

To begin to understand what is happening in any morally confusing, perplexing or otherwise conflicted situation, Hutchinson directs us to a first level of clarification: the “initial response and definition of

Notes to chapter 10 are on pp. 218–22.

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