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It is a common belief that people's medical issues should be kept private. The health records of an individual about his or her health status should not be revealed to anyone or made public to people not concerned with the health care of the individual (Harris, 2008). Pregnancy is a health issue that should not be revealed to anyone who is not concerned, but according to many people's ideas on this issue, pregnancy test results and records can be revealed to the government for any reason and at any time. According to the anti-privacy side of pregnancy, the records as well as test results of pregnancy cannot be considered as other medical records and results that are kept private, while the pro-privacy side argues that doctors and courts have no right to prescribe the nature of expectant women's pregnancies.
Anti-privacy side of pregnancy
According to Joseph (2009), the fetus is regarded to have rights just like any individual, and therefore an expectant mother and the fetus are supposed to be treated as two separate individuals. The conflict between fetal and maternal rights comes about because of the total dependence of the fetus on the mother. In most cases, an expectant woman is supposed to agree to go through the proposed medical intervention. Assigning full human rights to the unborn baby has the potential to encourage legislation against those maternal activities that may cause harm to the fetus. These harmful activities include drug abuse and excessive alcohol intake. This finally infringes upon the expectant woman's autonomy. It has been proposed that an expectant woman's right to privacy regarding her pregnancy can be legally overruled after the viability of fetus. In the case of conflicts, court opinions have defended the interests of the unborn baby over the mother's interests, both in late or early term pregnancy (Joseph, 2009).
A very good instance is a maternal-fetal conflict that involves an expectant mother showing a well-documented placenta previa and not willing to go through caesarian delivery, insisting instead on normal delivery. Consentaneous medical opinion should state that an attempt for normal delivery would increase the chances of death to both the fetus and mother. In this classic case, it is regarded as ethically satisfactory for the medical attendants to refuse the expectant woman's wishes of normal delivery. This is because of the need to prevent unnecessary death as well as management, cure or prevention of morbidity. This situation requires the medical attendants to go into the legal system for a court order so as to force the expectant woman to go through a caesarian section. Abortion is another issue that should be considered with regard to fetal survival right. The anti-abortion laws upon the anti-privacy side of pregnancy. Therefore pregnancy is not a private issue since the anti-abortion laws depend on the principle that the unborn baby is a human being having its own legal and moral rights (Joseph, 2009). Neither doctor-patient confidentiality nor privacy is absolutes. In case an individual reveals to a medical attendant about a plan on killing a person, the medical attendant has the right to inform authorities.
Pro-privacy side of pregnancy
Contrary to the anti-privacy side of pregnancy, the pro-privacy side argues that doctors and courts have no right to prescribe the nature of expectant women's pregnancies. Pregnancy is considered a health issue that should not be revealed to anyone who is not concerned (Harris, 2008). In this case restrictions on abortion are rejected because they are seen to infringe women's rights (Kaczor, 2010). Abortion is legalized until birth, depending on the discretion of the expectant mother. This is because either the embryo or fetus is considered not to have any rights until birth when the fetus changes into an infant as it is biologically separated from the expectant mother (Kaczor, 2010). This pro-choice position respects and fully recognizes the rights of a woman to take control of her own body as she is pleased. It is considered a pro-life position since bans and restrictions on abortion brings about harm as well as destroys the actual people's lives. Even the common anti-abortion view considers abortion important in cases of incest or rape, as well as to save an expectant mother's life.