As a future social worker, I am fascinated that unborn humans are often left out of the rhetoric for equal and basic human rights.
The following statements are held to be true by all social workers who adhere to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics:
Social workers strive to help meet the basic human needs of all people, and every human life has inherent dignity and worth.
Isn't the most basic, fundamental need the right to life?
Furthermore, the first principle of a widely accepted social work ethics guide states the social worker’s first priority is the protection of human life, which “applies to all persons, both the life of a client and the lives of all others.”
The science of embryology shows the unborn child is a distinct human life from the moment of fertilization. If the social worker recognizes that every human life has inherent worth and basic rights and has pledged to defend those rights, what is the social worker's responsibility to the unborn population?
One may respond by saying that social workers must respect the self-determination of their clients.
However, according to the NASW Ethical Standards, "Social workers may limit clients' rights to self-determination when . . . (their) actions pose a serious, foreseeable, and imminent risk to themselves or others."
What if one’s actions are posing a death risk to the human in their womb?
When considering the defense of vulnerable populations, let’s remember the unborn.
Elisa Duell, Tulsa
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