BACKGROUND. Induced abortion is often discussed in terms of ethics. The aim of the present report is to describe the abortion ethics as it was expressed by women undergoing a legal abortion. OBJECTIVE. Moral considerations expressed during semistructured interviews by 128 women two weeks after a first trimester abortion in Stockholm 1987-90 are reported. RESULT. The women had faced a choice between abortion and parenthood. At the time of the abortion many of them were living under conditions that meant they were unable to offer a child the security they regarded as a child's right. The conflict the women spontaneously described as their main moral dilemma was not a conflict between the woman and the fetus, but a conflict between several close relationships, also concerning the prospective father. The ethics that the women applied to the problems of abortion was founded on a long-term responsibility to care for persons in their relationships. CONCLUSION. The women interviewed had three levels of moral reasoning simultaneously present. 1. A theoretical level--most of all concerning other women--a liberal view of rights: abortion should be a freely obtainable option. 2. A theoretical level--above all, concerning themselves--a restrictive deontological view: the extinction of life is morally wrong and should be avoided. 3. A practical level--when the problem was a reality: a consequentialist ethics of care. According to this ethics of care it was important that the abortion could be performed as early as possible during pregnancy.
In 1978 the abortion law was liberalised in Norway. It permits abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and after that with the agreement of a medical commission, taking the woman's own views into consideration. In 2003, 96% of abortions took place before 12 weeks of pregnancy. There is considerable support among the population for the current law, and the right to abortion does not seem to be under threat, yet opponents of abortion attack the law frequently. Debates on recent biotechnology laws and difficulties introducing the abortion pill, on the spurious grounds that it would make abortion too easy, imply continuing moral qualms about abortion. While abortion among young, unmarried women is more accepted, many married women feel they have to justify their decision. Women are expected to feel sorrow, shame and guilt because of their sexual conduct for many reasons, but especially if the result is an unwanted pregnancy. It is easier to protect the law when there is recognition of the moral right to choose abortion. The legal battle has been won, but winning the moral battle is important in Norway now. I believe that until having an abortion is considered as acceptable morally as using contraception, women will not have gained their full reproductive rights.
It has become clear that nursing is a high-risk occupation with regards to stress-related diseases. In this study, we were interested in nurses' experiences of stress and the emotions arising from stress at work. Results showed that nurses experienced negative stress which was apparently related to the social environment in which they worked. Four nurses were interviewed. The method used was grounded theory. Analysis of the interviews singled out absence of response as the core category. Recurring stressful situations obviously caused problems for the nurses in their daily work. Not only did they lack responses from their supervisors, they also experienced emotions of frustration, powerlessness, hopelessness and inadequacy, which increased the general stress experienced at work. Our conclusion is that the experience of absence of response leads to negative stress in nurses.
This paper presents partial findings of a larger research project focusing on what it means to live with a chronic illness. Getting in harmony with oneself is a movement towards, and a form of, acceptance of the chronic suffering and disease. Some patients achieve this level of acceptance, while for others the obstacles of everyday life make this movement towards acceptance difficult. Achieving harmony with oneself is conditioned by the existence of hope and spirit of life/life courage and by the pressure of doubts on this hope. Doubts can shake this hope so that instead of moving towards acceptance, the patient drifts towards hopelessness and despair. The research design is qualitative and uses a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach. A total of 18 patients were interviewed, divided into three groups of six patients diagnosed with 'type I' diabetes, colitis ulcerosa and patients with coronary occlusion in the rehabilitation phase. The goal of the research was to derive patterns/themes common to the three diagnosed groups regarding the patients' view of health and disease in connection with chronic illness and to elucidate the significance of this view for how the patients coped with everyday life. The research method is inspired by Paul Ricoeur.
The implementation of a living will can give rise to ethical dilemmas for the patient's family and the health care professionals involved. The case reported here raises questions about the right of patients to self-determination, the importance of quality-of-life considerations in treatment decisions and physicians' obligations with respect to the implementation of living wills. Physicians should ensure in advance that the instructions set out in a living will are unambiguous and should bring to the patient's attention any ethical difficulties that they foresee in carrying out those instructions.
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