Abortion and Euthanasia

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  • Created by: nicole
  • Created on: 13-11-15 09:31


4 Different views about when life actually begins. 


  • Status of personhood is only applied at actual physical birth, the first true point of independence and individuality. 

viability potentiality 

  • The status of personhood is awarded at that time when the unborn can exist beyond dependence on the mother.


  • which entity displays the potential of becoming a human being ,
  • Primitive streak is discernible after the fourteenth day in the development of the fetus and it is that becomes the spinal cord.
  • Quickening: this is a traditional undestanding that the status of personhood can be applied when the child' is first felt move.


  • from the point of fertilisation of the egg (conception) the resulting product is a human being. 
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2. Difference between 'sanctity of life' and those views put forward by peter singer and science. 

The sanctity of life means that life is sacred and therefore assumes the existence of a God. Singer and science see life as valuable in itself. Singer sees all life forms as valuable whereas a scientific view of human beings and their position within the process of evolution can see humans as having greater status than other beings

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4.According to Tony Hope, what does the law state about the value of potential life?

It ‘holds no currency and has no rights’

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4. Give an example of 'double effect' in abortion. 

Where a woman has an ectopic pregnancy and removal of the fetus is almost certain to kill it, but the primary aim is not to kill the fetus

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5. state  issues involved in the legislation regarding abortion. 

  • The conscience of the medical practitioner; doctors may refuse to carry out abortions on grounds of conscientious objection. 
  • There is a conflict between what is seen as 'sinful' by some people but on the other hand 'lawful' 
  • The law is consenquential and dependent on establishing reasons to justify actions and yet this is only one of many possible (ethical) approaches. 
  • Does an abnormal fetus not havethe same rights as an ordinary fetus? if so, who decides the extent af abnormality? 
  • The 1990 act states, 'not exceeded its twenty-fourth week', however, it is only assumed that this is from the date of the woman's last period- this is not clear. 
  • The fetus has no right to life nder the current legislation. 
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6.why is there no 'unified response' from religion when it comes to moral issues? 

Because between, within and beyond religions there are different views based upon a variety of different sources

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7. outline two different responses from any o the religious responses to abortion.

The Roman Catholic Church believes that abortion is murder, breaking the commandment ‘Do not kill’. Some followers of the Anglican tradition believe that in certain circumstances it is the lesser of the two evils, for example if the mother is in danger

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8. identify three  different tyes of euthanasia. 

active : one person actions another's death for the other's benefit 

pasive: by witholding treatment or taking away vital life prolonging supponr, one person allows another to die. 

voluntary: The request to die by the peron who cocmpetently wishes it so.

Non voluntarily: A decision to die by a second party on behalf of one who is unable to make that decision 

involuntarily: one decides to impose or permit death o another even though death is against the other;s wishes. 

suicide: one person intentinally killing him or herself 

assisted suicide: one person helps another to commit suicide 

Physician- assisted suicide: a qualified physician helps another to commit suicide. 

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9. list two human rights issues associated with euthanasia. 

The right to refuse treatment and the right to prolong life through treatment.  

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10. explain one practical problem for a doctor if euthanasia were legalised. 

How could the new law be effectively monitored?

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11. what does the word euthanasia mean?

‘Good death’, ‘easy death ’ or ‘gentle death’.

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12. outline two different responses from any of the religious responses to euthanasia that you have studied. 

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that euthanasia is wrong but some may argue that actions should be guided by Christian love and that unnecessary suffering should be avoided.

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13. which religious tradition uses the ethical theories of natural law and situation ethics?


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abortion and euthanasia

Can abortion and euthanasia ever be good?

In support

  • All dependes upon the contect and perspective 


  • Abortion is good because it recognises the rights of a woman, it can save lives and, in case of ****, can be seen to be part of justice. 
  • it follows the law and so cannot be bad. 


  • What 'type' of euthanasia is a factor that determines whether euthanasia is good or not. 
  • surely something that relieves pain and suffering canno be described as bad?
  • Euthanasia is good because it brings 'happiness' to those who wish for it. 


  • Religious and philosophicl principles are important here. 


  • abortion is against the rule 'do not kill and so is not good. 
  • It does not recognise god- given life in the womb and so is not good. 


  • it is against religious principles, eg. god gives and takes life
  • it is against the law and is both a sin and a crime. 
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abortion and euthanasia

Do human beings have a right to life?

In support 

  • The sanctity of life teaching explores two aspects- life is precious, a gift nd so should be cherished but alo that it is God's decision when that life begins and ends.
  • Religion is life- affirming and not defeatist- abortion and euthanasia contradict this principle
  • life begins at conception because the resulting product of conception is already a homo sepiens with the potential to develop. 


  • The fetus is not considered as having the right to life and so the argument is not relevant for abortion.
  • Likewise a person is a PVS or on life support may not be classed as independently alive and so euthanasia is not taking life away.
  • A right to life does not necessarily mean that one is forced to keep it the right to life involves the right to decide as integral. 
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abortion and euthanasia

Do human beings have a right to choose to die?

In support 

  • individuals are allowed personal convictions and should not have other ideologies imposed upon them; therefore people should be able to do as they wish. 
  • It is not only rational to allow someone who is suffering to ie, it is also compassionate.
  • people can make rational decisions through directives stated in wills that are all set out clearly in advance and this will demonstrate  that they were of sound mind in making decision and are not making it emotively in response to the situation
  • the role of dignita in promotiong human rights and freedom to choose.
  • subjectivity- a person's oven life experience should be sufficient enough for him or her to evidence why he or she is making the decision. 


  • Euthanasia is illegal- we have responsibility to choose good and legal actions 
  • a person may not be of sound mind and arguments may be emotive and clouded by irrational points based upon context and subjectivity. 
  • There are hospices, and the palliative care of the NHS is highly regarded as a legal and compassionate alternative and so supports the rights of individuals in a different way.
  • The isse of euthanasia is not an individual one because it affects society as a whole. 
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