Notes

Revision notes on OCR GCS, 2 parts of Medical Ethics: Attitudes to abortion and Euthanasia. 

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Abortion:
Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy before a baby is able to survive outside the
womb. There is a difference between this and a miscarriage which is the unexpected termination of a
pregnancy from the baby naturally dying.
Christian's belief about abortion:
An absolute Christian would say in all circumstances abortion is wrong. It is a wrong act.
A relative Christian would make their judgment on whether abortion was wrong depending
on the situation. They believe different causes of action apply to different circumstances.
Catholic Church:
Sanctity of Life
Life is Sacred, holy and special
Genesis 1: `Let us make man in our image'. This signifies that we are sacred and special and
are made in God's image.
Psalm: `You knit me together in my mother's womb'; suggests our life starts at conception;
therefore we are killing a life by aborting.
Exodus: Thou shalt not kill; human life should be protected and not destroyed
`God breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of man'; Humans have a soul.
Aquinas' Natural Law
Abortion prevents a mother from fulfiller her purpose to life which is to procreate.
Prevents the child from fulfilling its purpose to life.
There is one exception where the Catholic Church allows abortion. This is when a mother
needs life saving treatment which will unfortunately result in the unavoidable termination of a
pregnancy as it saves the mother. This is called double affect.
Church of England and quakers:
Relativist
Moderate pro life: Life is sacred but abortion can be allowed for compassionate reasons.
`To withhold compassion is evil'; the right choice of aborting may be the lesser of two evils.
Consistent with `Love thy neighbour'
They believe abortion should not be encouraged however the child cannot be seen as more
important than the mother because it is unborn. Therefore the mother's health comes first.
Pro choice movement generally argues that a woman should have full control and choice over
what happens to her body.
Situation Ethics approach: Acceptable in situations where it is loving (agape). Loving to let
women decide.

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Euthanasia:
There are different types of Euthanasia:
`Active euthanasia' which is done deliberately to bring out a person's death.
`Passive euthanasia' which is withdrawing someone's treatment such as turning off a life
support machine.
`Voluntary euthanasia'; carried out at the specific request and consent of an already dying
person.
`Non voluntary euthanasia'; Life ended without the persons consent.
Catholic teachings:
Morally wrong action.
Taking away a sacred life of God's which is not ours to take away. Corinthians: `for everything
there is a reason...…read more

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