Abortion

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  • Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy and is legal up to 24 weeks in Britain.
    • Abortion
      • Why is abortion common?
        • Sex - pleasure Vs procreation.
        • Women have a greater social and legal status.
        • Low child mortality has reduced the need for so many children.
        • Foetal abnormalities can be detected.
      • Religious Views.
        • Christianity
          • Abortion intentionally destroys a foetus in the womb - biblical texts provide a framework for prohibiting abortion.
            • Jeremiah 1:5 - 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.'
            • Exodus 20:13 - 'You shall not murder'.
            • Luke 12:7 'Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.'
              • Exodus 20:13 - 'You shall not murder'.
            • 1 Corinthians 3:17 - 'If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for God's temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.'
              • Life is sacred.
              • Sanctity of Life.
                • Life is sacred.
                • Imago Dei.
            • Genesis 1:27 - 'So God created mankind in his own image.'
              • Imago Dei.
            • HOWEVER - There is no specific text that prohibits abortion.
              • Luke 12:7 'Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.'
            • The 10 Commandments.
              • 'Thou shall not kill.'
            • Considered a grave sin, intrinsically evil, and condemned by the RCC as it goes against Natural Law and the Law of God.
            • Human life beings at conception and therefore abortion at any stage is murder.
            • Humans do not have authority over the taking of life as God is the life-creator and giver.
            • Doctrine of the Double Effect.
              • The idea that even if a good act results in bad consequences, then it is still right to do that act.
                • The RCC and more Liberal Churches may use this in cases of in which the mother would be severely harmed.
                  • Ectopic Pregnancy - The fallopian tube is removed causing the embryo, thus saving the mother.
                    • Remove fallopian tube.
                      • Foetus dies. (second 'bad' effect)
                      • Mothers life is saved. (first 'good effect)
              • Slippery slope argument?
                • Situation Ethics.
                  • Great Command - Love God and Love thy neighbour as yourself. - Agape
                    • Some may use the principles of Christian love and argue that the most loving thing to do always depends on the situation that a person is in.
                      • Joseph Fletcher.
            • Deontological and Absolutist approach.
              • May face excommunication from the Roman Catholic Truth
            • Situation Ethics.
              • Great Command - Love God and Love thy neighbour as yourself. - Agape
                • Some may use the principles of Christian love and argue that the most loving thing to do always depends on the situation that a person is in.
                  • Joseph Fletcher.
        • Ethical Issues in the legislation about abortion.
          • Mary Anne Warren argues that women should have the right to abort unwanted pregnancies, because if the state was to prohibit abortions undesirable consequences would follow E.G. Backstreet abortions.
            • World Health Organisation - Unsafe abortions kill 200,000 women each year.
            • If the foetus is given equal rights then, in principle, a court could force a woman to go through a dangerous birth rather than abort, because her life would be considered to be no more valuable than that of the foetus.
              • Legislation -  Abortion Act 1967 
                • 'The pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week.' 
                • 'The termination of the pregnancy is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.'
                • 'The continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman.'
                • 'There is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or  mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.' '
          • Illegal abortions would claim lives - basic women's rights would be lost, as control over the reproductive and process is essential if women are to experience basic rights to life, liberty and self-determination.
            • Mary Anne Warren argues that women should have the right to abort unwanted pregnancies, because if the state was to prohibit abortions undesirable consequences would follow E.G. Backstreet abortions.
              • World Health Organisation - Unsafe abortions kill 200,000 women each year.
              • If the foetus is given equal rights then, in principle, a court could force a woman to go through a dangerous birth rather than abort, because her life would be considered to be no more valuable than that of the foetus.
                • Legislation -  Abortion Act 1967 
                  • 'The pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week.' 
                  • 'The termination of the pregnancy is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.'
                  • 'The continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman.'
                  • 'There is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or  mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.' '
          • Conscience of the medical practitioner; doctors may refuse to carry out abortions on grounds of conscientious objection.
        • When does human life begin?
          • Biological Debates
            • Birth
              • The status of personhood is only applied at actual physical birth, the first true point of independence and individuality.
                • Dee Wells.
            • Viability
              • The time in which the unborn child can exist beyond any dependence on the mother.
            • Potentiality
              • Primitive streak -  The 14th day of the development of the foetus - spinal chord.
            • Conception
              • From the point of fertilisation of the egg the resulting product being a human being.
                • Judith Jarvis Thompson - 'There is a continuous growth from acorn to oak tree, but an acorn is not an oak tree; just as a fertilised ovum - a newly implanted clump of cells - is not a person.'
          • Religious and Philosophical Debates
            • Consciousness
              • The state of being awake, aware of, or sensitive to ones surroundings.
            • Ensoulment
              • The status of personhood is deemed appropriate when the soul enters the body.
            • Continuity
              • Life must being when the potential life as an individual entity is recognisable, which is the zygote at conception.
          • Personhood - The stage at which a being is considered to be an individual human being with human rights.
      • Why is abortion common?
        • Sex - pleasure Vs procreation.
        • Women have a greater social and legal status.
        • Low child mortality has reduced the need for so many children.
        • Foetal abnormalities can be detected.
      • Health data 2006 - 193,77 abortions in England and Wales.

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