Ethics: Critical Thinking Sample Paper on Pregnant Athletes

Pregnant Athletes


An ethical issue relates to morals that determine whether an individual is conducting herself in a right or wrong manner. The major ethical issue in this case is irresponsibility, which is exhibited by Fantasia Goodwin who proceeds with athletics in her pregnant condition. Based on this article, the decision maker is supposed to handle the issue of irresponsibility exhibited by this pregnant athlete. There are four key ethics that apply in sports namely responsibility, fairness, respect and integrity. Other ethical problems in relation to this context are unfairness during sports. This is evident when women athletes are denied a chance to participate in sports when they are pregnant.  

Based on this case, the writer suggests that when a female athlete is pregnant, she should be terminated immediately from exercising for her safety and that of the child. This is an ethical issue because it affects only female athletes and not men. For instance, this could mean immediate suspension of the athlete against her will (Barbara 72). Conversely, another issue noted from the case is that pregnant women need to be conscious of their situation because this contributes to responsibility of their actions. According to medical experts, this tends to affect pregnant women involved in athletics by exposing them to dangerous threats such as miscarriages.

Discrimination against female athletes is another challenge experienced in sports. The article exhibits how the public discriminates against pregnant women by assuming that they cannot participate in athletics. As a result, this affects the female participants who are pregnant when it terminates their scholarship in athletics. Another issue in the case is whether pregnant women are selfish; this is evident when Goodwin ignored her responsibility as a mother by exposing her baby at risk. In this case, there is also a challenge when sports officials fail to adhere to NCAA rules. For instance, it becomes an issue when sports officials do not exhibit integrity by denying pregnant women athletes the red t-shirt option that could permit them to participate in the 6th year to prove their eligibility in athletics. On the contrary, the medical red t-shirts are issued at discretion to be used at a 17 school athletics program (Wyne 165).

Analyzing the case study, the central ethical issue is different from other problems identified. The central issue is that Goodwin despite her pregnant condition acts irresponsible and continues participating in athletics without caring about the risks of miscarriage. This problem is serious contrasted to others such as discrimination because the athlete mother puts the life of her baby in danger.  However, discrimination is minor issue as it convinces female athletes who are pregnant to rest and join the sports when they are fit physically. For instance, medical practitioners respond to the issue of female athletes being responsible for their actions by advising them to take a rest during pregnancy.

This is significant because it prevents harm that could affect the mother and the baby especially when the activity becomes vigorous. An example that relates to other challenges concerns Title IX of the Civil Rights, which is against public discrimination that faces women who are pregnant.  In relation to this act, it is not an issue for pregnant women to proceed with sports activity when they are still interested. Analyzing this concept of pregnant women participating in athletes, it is vital to enable them to exercise and keep fit.  However, at some point, this exhibits irresponsibility because women fail to care about the danger they expose to the baby (Morgan 121).

The central ethical issue in this article is irresponsibility in athletics especially in this case that women are involved. In any sports activity, responsibility is a virtue because it allows couches and players to watch their performance, actions and welfare of their condition in field.  This implies that if a player feels unwell it is her responsibility to report the matter to the athletic department to be permitted to rest. In this case, this applies to pregnant athletic women, it is vital for them to take a break when in such condition to avoid miscarriages, and abortions. Responsibility is an ethic in sports that requires players to adhere to rules and regulations that applies to athletics. For instance, if the rules of the game do not permit pregnant women to proceed with athletics, they should take this as a responsibility for their own safety and welfare.

The Central Ethical Issue (Irresponsibility)

Irresponsibility as the key ethical issue tends to create negative effects on behaviors of players. It leads to wrong decision making when they opt to proceed with the game even in their pregnant situation. The reason is because they perceive athletics as a way of maintaining fitness by exercising even when they are pregnant. Furthermore, this enables them to remain competitive but is a bad decision that exposes the woman and fetus to danger. The solution that could assist in reducing irresponsibility among pregnant women is to stop participating in athletics. For instance, a woman might assume that she is fit but she has a hypertension problem that could cause termination of the pregnancy. In such a case, this can be avoided when a pregnant woman takes responsibility of her condition to rest for safety of the baby. In addition, problems evident among irresponsible pregnant women who proceed with athletics are oxygen deficit, hyperthermia and sports injuries.

Hyperthermia is a condition that affects a fetus in pregnant women who make a wrong decision of proceeding with sports. They face this situation during a high intensity exercise, which makes them experience an extreme body temperature that also affects the fetus. The more they take part in exercises, they more their body temperature increases. As a result, heat from the mother is passed to the baby causing birth defects (Wyne 190). In regard to the central issue that is irresponsibility among pregnant women, it is vital for them to focus and be careful during their first trimester pregnancy. The reason is because the fetus is susceptible to the mother’s pregnancy and finds it difficult to regulate its body temperature. The solution to this issue is that women who are pregnant need to be cautious when taking their exercises during athletics by checking time and hot conditions.

If pregnant women are irresponsible of their condition, it could lead to sports injuries. This implies that a direct impact caused by athletics damages the fetus or the mother’s womb. Due to this potential risk, it is up to the mother to take responsibility of her condition by terminating athletics. The consequences of athletics could cause trauma to the fetus and the only sure solution is for the woman to make a good decision by taking a break until when she delivers the baby.  Irresponsibility among pregnant women could also lead to oxygen deficit. This is stimulated by factors such as intensity of the practice, duration and type that could affect the heart rate of the developing baby. In some circumstances, if a pregnant athlete attends practice on a regular basis, it enables the fetus to get used to stress of the exercise and subjects it to a better condition. This could be a similar situation to that of Fantasia Goodwin because she managed to deliver her baby safely despite the continuous exercises during her pregnancy. On the contrary, for unfit women, high intensity practices could affect their fetus because it decreases flow of blood to the uterus leading to serious oxygen shortage.

The solution to this issue is for pregnant athletes to be conscious and pay attention to movement of the fetus (Wyne 134). This is because developing babies in the womb stop moving when they lack sufficient supply of oxygen. In addition, responsible pregnant women who participate in athletics must drink plenty of water to keep them safe. The relevance to this information in relation to irresponsibility among pregnant women is that it enables them to make a wise decision. For instance, the significance of a pregnant woman being responsible is that she takes caution to avoid miscarriages and abortions that could happen during athletics. These details create awareness to pregnant women to check with medical practitioners if they are unfit or fit to go for exercises in their condition.

There are various options or solutions that are relevant to the key ethical issue that is irresponsibility among pregnant athletes. The first option is for pregnant women to be responsible and make sensible decisions that can assist to keep the life of the mother and that of a baby safe. In this regard, a pregnant woman can decide to stay out of athletics for some time when she is in her pregnant situation and return after delivery. The second option is for a pregnant athlete to go for a medical check up to get assurance whether she is fit to exercise in that condition. This is beneficial because it assists a female pregnant athlete to know whether she has complications such as high blood pressure that could affect the fetus during athletics. Contrasting the two solutions, the best option for a pregnant woman is to take a break from athletics and return after delivery to enhance safety (Zedd 149)

Ethical Implications

Based on an inductive moral reasoning, there are ethical implications that these potential solutions may have on stakeholders. For instance, for medical practitioners that are part of the athletics group, this may force them to be concerned and carry out follow-ups on pregnant women who participate in sports. This can be accomplished through checkups to ensure that they are fit to proceed with athletics in their pregnant conditions. In relation to the deductive moral reasoning, ethical implications that potential options have stakeholders affect the organization that is responsible in issuing scholarships. A good example is when an athlete woman is pregnant, she cannot access scholarship because the firm responsible for awarding them terminates her opportunity with thoughts that she cannot compete again in athletics.  As a result, this affects stakeholders who offer scholarships and tend to seek for another alternative other than awarding the pregnant women.

Theory Application

Consequential theory could be of help to find a resolution of irresponsibility among pregnant athletes, which is a central ethical issue. In relation to consequential theory, Act suits this case because it reveals that anything a person does at a given time, her overall best consequences are determined by moral and right actions. In regard to irresponsibility, this implies that when a pregnant athlete makes a wise decision by taking responsibility of her actions, this determines her best course of action. For instance, in this case, it is morally right for women in such a condition to take a leave from athletics and return later after delivering for safety purposes.

The second theory to apply is non-consequential theory concerning natural laws. According to this law, moral standards that govern behaviors of human beings depend on nature of human beings and the universe (Zedd 156).  Based on its central principles, this theory is morally right because it reveals how character of human beings depends on their behaviors. For instance, if a pregnant athlete decides to proceed with sports, it is morally acceptable because she is fulfilling her standards by maintaining fitness that is natural in human beings. These central principles of the theories applied assists in resolving the key issue that is irresponsibility among pregnant athletes. For instance, Act is a theory that would assist women to opt for safety measures by taking a break from athletics to keep the baby safe. Natural law is a theory that incorporates central principles and guides such women to do what they think is right in relation to their nature. For instance, this allows women to exercise in a careful manner to maintain fitness during pregnancy.

Decision Making

The wisest and most ethical option is for pregnant women to be responsible for decisions that could lead them to actions that are morally right. Based on research, if pregnant athletes take a break from sports, this could be a relief to stakeholders because they will be sure that they are not exposing baby and mother to risks. Applying the ethical theories and laws, the morally right resolution to central key problem is for pregnant athletes to take responsibility of their actions. This implies that staying away from athletics for some time will assist to keep both of them safe. This is the best solution because it is less dangerous when the pregnant athlete avoid vigorous activities. In addition, the mother will be safe from potential harm caused by athletics that could lead to fetal overheating. It is also the best solution for a pregnant woman to stop participating in athletics to avoid losing the baby through miscarriage.

There are three counterarguments against the option I selected as being morally right. The first argument is that pregnant women will not be able to keep fit when they avoid exercising. The second argument is that organizations that award scholarships tend to ignore them thinking they are not capable of competing again. The third argument relates to title IX of Civil Right Acts that claims denying women chances to practice is similar to discriminating them and it prohibits such actions. To defend against these arguments, I concur with the idea of keeping fit only when the woman is in good health condition (Barbara 115). This implies that if she has hypertension issues, medical practioners will not allow her to practice. Reflecting on my thought process, I learnt that responsibility is a virtue in athletics. This applies in case study and it implies that women who are irresponsible by making bad decisions do not act in a moral way. For instance in this case, a pregnant woman takes risk of engaging in athletics without the knowledge that she could lose the baby. To improve on the problem solving process, I could incorporate more arguments and alternatives to central issue to find a relevant solution.      

Works Cited

Barbara, Lenice. Women in sport. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, 2000. Print.

Morgan, William. Ethics in sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001. Print.

Wyne, Robert.  Ethics of sport and athletics: theory, issues, and application. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009. Print.

Zedd, Robert.  Fair play the ethics of sport. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2010. Print.