Christian and Muslim views on abortion

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  • Abortion
    • Definition - the removal of a foetus from the womb before it can survive
      • This is a deliberate action in order to end the life of the foetus
    • What is legal in Britain?
      • Abortion is only permitted in Britain if...
        • It is performed before a woman is 24 weeks pregnant
        • Two doctors need to be sure on one of the following...
          • The mother's life is at risk
          • The mother's physical or mental health is at risk
          • The baby is likely to be born severely handicapped, either physically or mentally
          • The birth would have a seriously bad effect on other children in the family
    • Pro-life - those who do not agree with abortion because the foetus must always have the chance of life
    • Pro-choice - those who believe it is the mother's right to choose whether or not she has an abortion
    • Christian views on abortion
      • Sanctity of life - the belief that life is holy and belongs to God
        • Human life is also special because God gives everyone a soul, which other animals do not have.
        • Although most Christians believe firmly in the sanctity of life and are against abortion...
          • Some Liberal Protestants believe there are occasions when it might be kinder to allow an abortion that insist the pregnancy continues
            • Their argument is that Jesus taught his followers that love is the most important thing and every situation should be judged on that
              • If a baby is likely to be born with  crippling deformities that mean it would have a short painful life, it might be more loving to abort the foetus at an early stage to prevent suffering.
              • In another case, some might say it is kinder to allow a woman to have an abortion than suffer a complicated birth that could threaten her life or make her very ill
      • The Roman Catholic teaching
        • Catholic Christians believe that person's life begins immediately after an egg is fertilized by a sperm.
          • From that moment, a person has the right to life, which no one can take away from them for any reason
    • Muslim views on abortion
      • Only Allah gives and takes life
        • The Qur'an teaches Muslims that life is a gift from Allah and should be treated with great respect (the sanctity of life)
        • No Muslim like the idea of abortion because it involves taking a life given by Allah and that is wrong
      • Ensoulment
        • Most Muslims believe that Allah puts the soul into the foetus when it is 120 days old (17 weeks)
          • This is when the cluster of developing cells becomes a human
          • Until ensoulment, a mother has greater rights than her unborn child
          • Although no Muslim likes to destroy a life, some will permit abortion before ensoulment if there is a compelling reason
            • The poor health of the mother
            • In case of rape
            • If there is a strong likelihood of a serious deformity or disease in the child
        • After 120 days, abortion is rarely permitted unless there is a risk to the woman's life if her pregnancy continues
          • In a situation like this an abortion would be permitted because it is seen as the lesser of two evils
            • Because the mother is already alive and probably has responsibilities for a family, her death would cause greater suffering to the family than the death of an unborn child
              • It is also probable that if she died, the foetus would too
            • Abortion is never taken lightly. The Qur'an warns Muslim mothers who have an abortion that in the afterlife they will come face to face with their unborn child
      • Islam teaches that people should not expect life to be enjoyable, there is a point to suffering
        • The same goes for the deformed foetus in her womb - there is a purpose to its suffering too, it should be viewed as a test
          • Something good will come out of the suffering and life after death is more important than this life
  • "Do not murder."      (Exodus 20:13)
  • "God created human beings making them to be like himself."  (Genesis1:27)
  • "Whoever severs the womb-relationship ties, I will sever my ties with him"  (Bukhari Hadith 78.13)
  • "Kill not your offspring for fear of poverty; it is We [Allah] who provide for them and for you. Surely, killing them is a great sin."  (Qur'an 13:31)
  • "Do not kill your children for fear of want" (17.31)

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