A human being can be defined as a living thing that has, or can develop, the ability to act or function independently. In the simplest terms possible, it is the state of existing. How do we judge the value of human life? What makes one life more precious than another? There is great controversy concerning the fetus, a term used to describe a developing baby from the ninth week of development to birth, and whether or not it should have rights and be considered a human being. Of course, the fetus is dependant on its mother for the approximate nine months that it seeks shelter from her. However, according to the previously stated definition, the fact that the fetus is in the process of developing means to function independently, it is obvious that the fetus should be deemed a human being. Another point worth noting is the fact that a human being that exists outside of a mother's body has a brain to control its body function, and a heart to pump its blood. Although a fetus is constantly changing and maturing, and these organs may not be developed to the point at which they can function on their own, a fetus contains the same elements, and thus should not be disregarded as a human being.
[...] Placenta previa is a disorder in which there is an abnormal implantation of the placenta at, or near, the internal opening of the uterine cervix so that it tends to precede the child at birth, typically causing severe maternal or fetal hemorrhage. Abruptio placenta is the premature detachment of a normally situated placenta, which is dangerous because it can cause an excessive amount of bleeding, and fetus fatality. Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy located outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. [...]
[...] Also, many mothers may vouch that they would never abuse their children, yet they smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy. A controversial issue is whether or not to enforce some sort of legal penalty following these actions. Would it be beneficial to the child to terminate motherly rights? Would it prove more effective to demand some sort of mandatory rehabilitation? Or, maybe have no penalty, at all? Different people may argue a variety of solutions; however, some sort of action must be taken in order to prevent future incidences in which the fetus is harmed beyond its control. [...]
[...] The same issues arise when it comes to discussing whether or not substance abuse is considered child abuse. Even more so than with alcohol and tobacco, substances like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin produce severe physical consequences and defects. The mother jeopardizes the physical well-being of the child when she chooses to participate in such behavior. The mother is also neglecting her child because she is allowing her child to suffer, based on her reckless actions. Emotional abuse is also prevalent with substance use. [...]
[...] Physical abuse is defined as physical injury or maltreatment of a child under the age of eighteen by a person who is responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances which indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby”. Whether or not the parent had intent to harm the child is irrelevant. Child neglect is similar to physical abuse; however, neglect refers more to a parent's inactions, rather than her actions. Neglect occurs “anytime a caretaker permits the child to experience suffering or fails to provide one of the basic ingredients essential for developing into a physically, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically healthy person”. [...]
[...] One of the most prevalent consequences as a result of alcohol use is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, otherwise known as FAS, a pattern of mental and physical defects which develops in some unborn babies when the mother drinks too much alcohol during pregnancy”. It occurs when alcohol is digested, and begins to circulate through a pregnant woman's bloodstream. It eventually reaches the fetus by crossing the placenta. As a result, the amount of oxygen reaching the fetus is less than sufficient, and normal cell development in the brain and other organs is disrupted due to improper nourishment. [...]
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