Religion And Medical Ethics Essay

2534 words - 10 pages

Religion and Medical Ethics

I am discussing the issues that are put forward by Christians
concerning the sanctity of life in relation to abortion and what their
beliefs are. There are no Biblical scriptures that deal directly with
abortion; however I will refer to passages in the Bible that refer to
life and other relevant areas. Abortion is the termination of a
pregnancy and can be defined as the deliberate destruction of a
foetus, causing its death. The 1967 Abortion Act allows a woman to
terminate or end her pregnancy up to the 24th week; however there is
no time limit if there is a high risk to her life or if the foetus has
major abnormalities. A woman must also have the permission or consent
of two doctors that agree upon the decision to have an abortion.

People who agree with abortion are often referred to as pro-choice and
some of the reasons for doing so are; every woman should have their
own choice and this should be respected; if the woman is expecting a
severely handicapped child or if the pregnancy is a result of rape.
However there are also people who completely disagree with abortion
and think that it is inhumane, this group is often referred to as
pro-life. Some reasons they disagree with abortion are; even as a
foetus, the baby, as a person, has rights and these should be
respected; there are a lot of people who are desperate to adopt but
there are few babies up for adoption. Roman Catholics are taught that
abortion is never right, they believe that life is sacred and look to
abortion as murder.

You need to determine ‘Is the foetus human, or merely a mass of
tissue?’ If you think that a foetus is a human then as a Christian
there could be moral implications, however if you think it is a mass
of tissue then the removal of the tissue will have no moral
implications. Another issue that you need to determine is ‘When does
life really begin?’ Pro-choice people would say late in pregnancy,
some would even say as late as birth. Genesis 2:7 would agree with
this in that it was after God breathed life in Adam that he became
living. ‘. . . and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and
man became a living soul.’ Genesis 2:7. While the pro-life people
would say life begins at conception, right at the beginning. Another
verse from the Old Testament could be used in agreement to this. ‘Thus
saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb . . .’
Isaiah 44:2. There is a keen debate concerning the moment a human
embryo or foetus becomes fully human or when, according to Christian
teaching, it has both body and soul. Within the Church Christians
generally want to follow the teachings and principles found within the
Bible and then apply them to the way they live. However this in not
always easy due to the vast number of translations that are found

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