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Unit 7: Medical Ethics
Abortion: Deliberately ending the life of an unborn child (Legal in UK but with restrictions)
1967 Abortion Act
Legal in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy
2 doctors must agree that
Mother's physical/mental health at risk
Mother's life at risk
Existing children's physical/mental health at risk
Foetus severely disabled
1990 Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act updated to reflect that science moves on
Legal in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy
If threat to mother's life/health is serious enough, can go beyond 24 weeks
E.g. Continuing with the pregnancy presents a risk of injury
To the physical/mental health of the pregnant woman OR
To the physical/mental health of any existing children of the pregnant woman
In an emergency, an abortion is allowed if it is to
Save the life of the pregnant woman
Prevent grave permanent injury to the physical/mental health of pregnant woman
A woman who becomes pregnant after being raped should not, under any circumstances, be compelled
to have the baby.
1. Legal in UK with the agreement of 2 doctors
2. Too young
3. Cultural expectations/pressures/taboo of unmarried mothers
4. May wish to carry on with education/career
5. Not financially stable and lack of support can't afford to bring up the baby
Every baby has the right to be born into a family which will be able to provide the basic
necessities of life shelter, food, clothing, etc. If this basic care cannot be offered then an
abortion is justified
6. Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy - When pregnancy results from rape/abuse/incest or pregnancy
not within marriage
Baby given birth will be born unloved, unwanted & without dignity Abortion is the most loving
solution putting Christian principle of agapé ( unconditional love) into practice
"Love your neighbour as you love yourself"
7. There are too many unwanted babies in the world why add more?
8. Foetal disability.
Every woman has the right/freedom to control her fertility and decide what happens to
their own body and the foetus is part of that body. The foetus is only a potential human life whereas
the woman is a full human life and their rights should be given priority.
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1. Children are a precious gift from God. Life is given by God and to be taken away only by God. No one
has the right to destroy it an unborn child has the right to live
"If we live, we live to the Lord, if we die, we die to the Lord, so whether we live or die, we are
the Lord's." Romans 14:8
"Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return [to the grave].…read more
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Views from the Church
General Christian Principles
Sanctity of Life: "So God created man in His own image"
Foetus is a PERSON from conception
Christians should show agape love(charity; compassion): "Love thy neighbour"
Must not murder other people: "Thou shall not murder"
Church of England
Anglicans try to show compassion in situations of abortion based on the law of agape love
Strongly opposed to abortion, BUT recognises that there may be a few cases where the
alternative is worse.…read more
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Pro-choice movement/stance argues that personal choice should be valued and protected at all cost.
My body is my own. No one else should dictate what happens to it.…read more