Abortion: An Introduction
Definition: the removal of a foetus from the womb before it can survive.
Those who are against abortion and support the right of the foetus to life are called pro-life. They believe that abortion is wrong because a foetus already contains the DNA to become a unique person and has a right to life. Some believe that abortion is no better than murder, and that we have no right to choose who should live or die.
Those who believe that a woman should have the right to choose what happens to her body are called pro-choice.She may choose to seek an abortion for the sake of her physical or mental health, or for social or economic reason, but it should be her choice whatever the circumstances.
The Legal Situation
In Britain, an abortion is legal up until the 24th week of pregnancy if two doctors agree to it. One or more of the following must apply: the mother's life is at risk; the mother's physical or mental health is at risk; the baby is likely to have severe disabilities; the birth would have a very negative affect on other children in the family. In exceptional circumstances, abortion is allowed later than this if the child is likely to be born with very severe mental or physical abnormalities.
Abortion: Christian Views
Roman Catholic Views
Catholics believe that life begins at the moment of conception and that, from that moment onwards, a person has the right to life which should not be taken away from them for any reason.
"Do not commit murder." Exodus 20:13
"I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
Liberal Protestant Views
Some Liberal Protestants believe that there are some occasions when the most loving thing to do is to terminate a pregnancy. Methodists believe abortion is the lesser of two evils in the case of ****, where the embryo has severe disabilities, or where there are risks to the mother's health. They support this view with the Golden Rule, which is Jesus' teaching to show love to one another and do the most loving thing.
Euthanasia: An Introduction
Definition: deliberately ending someone's life to prevent them from suffering. Voluntary euthanasia is when a patient asks someone to end etheir life, perhaps asking a doctor for a lethal overdose or a relative to leave a large supply of drugs within their reach. Involuntary euthanasia is when someone who is brain-dead and being kept alive by a life-support machine has the machine turned off without their permission.
Voluntary euthanasia is illegal in Britain and involuntary euthanasia needs the permission of a court.
A person should be allowed to decide what they do with their life. If an animal was suffering, it would be put down. Humans should be shown the same kindness. Keeping someone who is brain-dead alive is a waste of money that could be spent on people with a chance of recovery.
Most people believe in the sanctity of human life. Doctors might make mistakes and misdiagnose an illenss, or a cure might be discovered later. If euthanasia was legal, elderly relatives might feel pressured into it by their families.
Euthanasia: Christian Views
The Views of Most Christian Denominations
Most Christians believe that life is given by God and that it is not for people to take it away. They support this view with the following Bible quotations:
"The Lord kills and restores to life; he sends people to the world of the dead and brings them back again." 1 Samuel 2:6
"None of us lives for himself only, none of us dies for himself only. If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die." Romans 14:7-8
The Modern Churchpeople's Association's Views
The Modern Churchpeople's Association believe that sometimes, when euthanasia is the most loving course of action, it should be allowed. They support this with the Golden Rule.