Natural Law applied to abortion

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  • Created on: 18-02-13 17:54
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Natural Law applied to abortion.
Natural law is an absolutist and deontological ethical theory. It states that you must use
reason given by God in order to know whether an action is morally right or wrong and
you can be aided in making this decision by using the primary precepts.
Firstly, there are three fundamental primary precepts which the act of abortion violates:
Preservation of Life, Worshipping God and Reproduction. The first principle clearly
prohibits abortion as aborting a foetus is denying a potential life and not preserving it.
There are several factors why the precept of "Worshipping God" would disagree with
abortion. For example, the act of worshipping God means that you should follow His
word (in Natural Law He is the Eternal Law ­ the most important in the hierarchy of laws)
which can be done through the teachings of Jesus and the word of the Bible (Divine law).
One of the Ten Commandments is "thou shalt not kill", which forbids abortion in the
belief that terminating a pregnancy is murder. Abortion is conflicted in the teachings of
Jesus, such as the Golden Rule "treat others as you wish to be treated" and "love thy
neighbour" as the act of abortion is disregarding a potential life and not showing it
respect or value. Other examples from the Bible, such as Genesis 1:27 which states that
"God created mankind in his own image" which tells us that God created humans and
made them like him in many ways. This shows that it would be wrong to `kill' a potential
human that God has created and which has His qualities ­ it shows blatant disrespect
and goes against worshipping Him. With the primary precept of reproduction it can be
concluded that abortion is wrong it does not allow us to reproduce.
Secondly, abortion can possibly be considered as morally right by considering the
precepts of living in an ordered society and educate the young. Looking at the precept
of educating the young, abortion can be seen as acceptable in some situations. For
example, if a young girl is currently studying at school it can be argued that by having a
baby she would not be able to be educated any longer as she will have to look after her
baby, thus abortion may be acceptable in this case. Moreover, with the living in an
ordered society precept, abortion can be permitted in cases of an unwanted baby, as if a
baby is unwanted this may be reflected in its upbringing by being abused and mistreated
and this would go against living peacefully in society. However, it is emphasized that it is
only through reason that a true conclusion can be made.
Thirdly, with the doctrine of double effect abortion can be permitted. For example, a
pregnant woman who has cancer could have a hysterectomy even if it results in death of
the foetus. This is because it is a bad consequence that is foreseen but not intended.
However, if a pregnant woman has a life threatening condition whereby deliberately
killing the foetus is the only way of saving the women it is not allowed because the
consequence is intended.


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