When does life begin?
- At conception, this is when sperm meets egg, potential for life is created, without conception there would be no life.
- At 3 weeks, spinal column and nervous system develop, brain develops, can feel things.
- At 8 weeks, the heart starts beating, starts to become self sufficient, a person will die without a heart, 5 out of 6 embryos don't make it to this stage.
- At 22 weeks, the foetus is viable, it can survive outside the womb, doesn't rely on mother, most similar to a human
Is a baby a right?
- a woman should think about it first but has the right
- Gives you happiness and life meaning
- If a person is unstable or mentally ill they should not be allowed a baby
- If a person can't financially support a child
- If they have a criminal past of abusing children or similar crimes.
Is a baby a blessing?
- God decides when sex results in a child
- a quater of couples have problems conceiving, so any child is a gift
- Some people do not believe in God
- A baby conceived by **** is unlikely to be seen as a blessing by the victim
- If a child is severley disbaled
Why do people have children?
- Fulfillment in their life
- Company in old age
- To carry on genes and family name
- To have a family life
- As an expression of love
- Help an existing child
Why do people have abortions?
- If the baby was conceived by ****
- If the baby is seriously ill/disabled
- Can't financially support the child
- Want to focus on career
- Mothers health is at risk
- They live in an unsafe environment for a child
- Relationship change/ break-up
- The woman's right to choose
- Your body = your choice
- If the child was conceived by **** it is cruel to go through with the pregnancy
- Stops teen mothers
- If contraception failed, it's not your fault
- The unborn child has a right to life
- The child has equal rights to the mother
- The unwanted child could be given up for adoption
- It can still experience a good quality of life
UK law: abortion
Under the 1967 abortion act and the 1990 Human fertilisation and embryology act, abortion is permitted of two doctors agree that at least one of the following conditions applies:
- The woman will die without an abortion
- There is a substancial risk of the baby being born severley mentally or physically disabled
- There is a risk to mother's physicall or mental health
- There is risk to physical/ mental health of her existing children
Abortion is allowed up to 24 weeks. There is no time limit if the mother's life is in danger, the baby is severly abnormal or there is a grave risk of mental/physical injury to the mother.
Quality of life
Definition: a measure of fulfillment, how comfortable and painfree life is.
Factors affecting quality of life:
- Severe disablity: effects mothers health, stressful, equiptment and care may be expensive, unfair on existing children. However, NHS provides care, charities exist to help parents and siblings, life is better than no life.
- Unwanted child: difficult for young mothers, affects mothers mental health, unable to love child, child may feel unloved/ a burden, may not have enough money, may still be in full time education. However, other people could help care for it, put it up for adoption, foetus shouldn't die because of another person's mistakes/feelings, not the childs fault.
- Poverty: Can't afford a child, leads to stress, affects quality of life of other family members, unable to provide emotional support, mother may have to quit job. However, can receive benefits from government, up for adoption, can still be loved, money doesn't always mean happiness.
Rights of those involved
The unborn child:
- Yes: it is a life from conception, can't speak for itself so needs protection, foetus is unique and deserves the same right to life as any other person, it is equal to the mother.
- No: It is not a life until it is born and therefore has no rights, it is dependent on the mother, it is not its own being.
- Yes: it is her body and her choice, so she can choose, her life and freedom will be affected, early abortion is safer than child birth. She has the right to have a safe abortion.
- No: She doesn't have the exclusive right to choose.
- Yes: foetus is 50% his, so he has rights, but can't stop a woman from not/having a child. Father has to support child financially.
- No, he doesnt have to carry the child or give birth, not part of his body, in china there is equal rights
Religious arguments against abortion
- "Do not murder" exodus 20:13, if you believe life begins at conception, abortion can be seen as murder.
- "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5, God created everyone as an individual and so a human doesnt have the right to take life away.
- "You created every part of me, you knitted me together in my mothers womb." Psalm 139. God created everyone as an individual and so a human doesnt have the right to take life away.
- "Do not show favouritism" James 2:1, said by St Paul, Nobody is more important than anyone else, a foetus is equal to a human so an abortion would be favouritism.
- "Sanctity of life" God created life so only God has the power to take that life away.
Religious arguments for abortion
- "Love your neighbour" If a child will be severely disabled it will have a poor quality of life, so an abortion would be a loving thing to do.
- Freewill, everyone is free to make decisions themselves, but they may be judged in the after life.
- In judaism the foetus doesn't gain equal rights with the mother until it is over 50% out of the woman buring birth. Therfore if she needs an abortion to preserve her life this is ok.
- Salvation army: life is sacred from conception, abortion is okay to save the mothers life or if the baby is severely abnormal
- The united reform church: there is a differce between a foetus ready to be born and the early stages of pregnancy, sometimes abortion is necesary and should be taken seriously.
- Roman catholic church: it is always wrong to kill an unborn child, should be treated with same respect as people. They encourage woman to have the baby adopted. Abortion is wrong even if a pregnancy is the result of ****, because the foetus shouldn't be punished for someone elses crime. Catholics believe in the doctrine of double effect, so if a woman's life is in danger, an abortion is okay because the primary aim was to save the mother and the foetus dies as a consequence, so it is not a sin as the aim was not to kill the baby.
Alternatives to abortion
- Foster care
- Keep the child
Cardinal Thomas Winning of glasgow, flet women faced with an unplanned pregnancy should be helped and supported by the catholic church. He once said: "Come to us, we will help you."
Adoption: the legal process where a child is taken into the family as a son or daughter.
Positives: brings happiness to couple who couldnt have children, the child isn't aborted, the child doensn't go into care, could mean a better quality of life.
Negatives: child may be mentally effected, older children and siblings are less likely to be adopted.
Adopted children are entitled to their birth certificates at 18.
definition: the taking of a child from a different family into a family home and bringing them up with the rest of the new family.
sometimes you are fostered for a period of time and then return to your family. Sometimes the foster family adopts the child.
- safe place, part of a family
- chance of adoption
- gives biological parenrs a break
- children can go back to parents
- it could be confusing and affect the childs mental health
- Hard to adjust, no feeling of belonging
- Siblings can get separated
- affects social life
A christian adoption charity in the UK, offers permanent homes to children, with families inspired by theri beliefs.
Launched in 1999 to recruit foster carers to provide loving stable homes for children and siblings
75% of children that are fostered get adopted by their foster family. The charity helps families through the adoption process.
Key terms and definitions
- Miracle of life: the idea that life is wonderful, amazing or special
- Blessing: the idea that God has favoured a couple with a child
- Sanctity of life: life is sacred because it is God-given.
- Conception: when sperm meets egg
- Viable: the point at which a foetu scould survive if it were to be born.
- Quality of life: a measure of fulfillment
- Abortion: the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, usually before the foetus is 24 weeks and viable.
- Pro-choice: in favour of a woman's right ti choose an abortion.
- Pro-life: opposed to abortion; in favour of the life of the foetus.
- Pressure groups: collections of people outside government who campaign for changes in society
- Adoption: the legal process where a child is taken into the family as a son or daughter
- Fostering: the taking of a child from a different family into a family home and bringing them up with the rest of the new family.