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What is abortion??

Abortion- “ The premature expulsion of the foetus from the womb” before pregnancy reaches full term (40 wks).

Reasons to have an abortion- 

-single mother unable to bring up child on own

-preganancy happens at bad time

-foetus is not developing normally

-the womans health is at risk

-product of ****

-cannot cope

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Abortion and the law.

Before 1967, abortion was illegal in the UK. However, backstreet abortions were done, often ending in permanent injury or death. The 1967 Abortion Act was introduced to provide a safe alternative to backstreet abortions. It was amended in 1990.

1)The law only allows abortion if…

 -2 registered doctors examine the woman and agree to the abortion.

-Her mental or physical health is at risk if she goes through with the pregnancy.

-Existing children may suffer if another baby arrives.

2)Abortions must be done before “viability”, when a baby can live on it outside its mother’s womb:

 -1967 - 28 weeks

-1-990 –changed to 24 weeks

Many people, including most Christians, believe that the date of ‘viability’ should be reduced to 20 weeks, as some babies have survived from this stage. In practice, very few doctors will perform an abortion after 20 weeks except under extreme circumstances, Abortion is allowed up to birth if the baby is mentally or physically handicapped, or if the mother’s life is at risk.

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Arguments FOR abortion (pro-choice)

Arguments include: - It’s the mother’s body - she should decide what happens.

-Every baby has the right to proper care and love; if this is not possible, abortion should be OK.

-There are already too many unwanted babies in our over-populated world. Why add more?

-Surely the woman, and her family, have rights, not just the unborn baby?

-***** women should not be made to have the baby as they did not choose to get pregnant and would be constantly reminded of their ordeal as the child grows up.

-If baby is severely handicapped, only mother can decide if she can look after the baby.

-In the case of under-age pregnancy, the girl may not have really understood what she was doing, and should not lose her education and career opportunities over one mistake.

-A family may be too poor to cope with a child, and if there are other children already, they may suffer.

-Life doesn’t really start until birth, or at least until the foetus is viable

-Many pregnancies end through natural abortions (miscarriages) – abortion is natural and often women don’t even know they were pregnant: it doesn’t have to be a big deal

-A severely disabled baby may have a very poor quality of life that also brings trauma to the parents who have to watch it suffer. It may be kinder for that child not to be born.

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Arguments AGAINST abortion (pro-life)

Arguments include:  -Every child is a precious and unique gift from God. We have no right to destroy this.

-Defenceless baby needs special protection since it cannot stand up for its own rights.

-The rights of the unborn child are equal to those of her mother.

-The embryo is human from conception with its own DNA. Left alone, it will develop into a person.

-Physically or mentally handicapped children can lead full and rewarding lives. Aborting people because of disability is like telling disabled people that they are worthless.

-Abortion is murder – the deliberate taking of a human life.

-Doctors and nurses promised to save life, not destroy it. Abortion breaks the Hippocratic Oath.

-The foetus can feel pain and has intelligence.

-The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that children need protection both before and after birth.

-Unwanted babies could be adopted. Many childless couples are desperate to adopt.

-Abortion issue generally depends on whether you think a foetus is a human being or not. Some Christians believe a foetus is human from conception, with the same rights and value to God as a child who has already been born. Therefore, abortion is murder. Others believe the foetus is not yet a person, so it’s life is not sacred. It is a potential person, but not a person yet. Therefore, abortion might be justified.

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The Bible and abortion

The Bible and abortion

-The Bible says very little about abortion because it was not as common as today. Girls were often married very young and did not have careers. Abortion was not a safe medical procedure. There were no tests for any health problems for the mother or the foetus. The Bible does not use the word “abortion” or deal with the issues directly, but Christians use Bible passages both for and against abortion.

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Bible quotes used to argue AGAINST abortion

Bible quotes used to argue AGAINST abortion-

-“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5

God has a plan for every human being even before they are born

-"Before I was born, the LORD chose me and appointed me to be his servant." Isaiah 49:1

-“You saw me before I was born” Psalm 139:16

-“God… chose me even before I was born" Galatians 1:15

These help support the idea that life begins at conception or, at the very least, that the foetus is a person.

Once Christians establish that the foetus is a human being, the sanctity of life teachings all apply:

-“God made man in His image" Genesis 1:26

-“Do not kill” Exodus 20:13

-”You yourselves are God's temple” 1 Corinthians 3:16          

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Bible quotes FOR abortion

 Bible quotes FOR abortion-

Surprisingly. the Old Testament supports the idea that a human life is not as valuable before birth.

-God made Adam, and then “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Genesis 2:7

This suggests that we are not human until we breathe (i.e. we are born). However, more convincing arguments come from examples of how foetuses are treated in the Bible:

-“If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if the woman herself is injured, the punishment shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” Exodus 21:22-25

This suggests that causing the death of an unborn child is not as serious as killing someone who is already born. Also in Genesis 38:24 Tamar is ordered to be burnt to death because she committed adultery and became pregnant. Although her life is spared, this has nothing to do with the twin foetuses she carried which seem to be given no value or consideration.

-“If a man does not get his share of happiness……then I say a baby born dead is better off. It does that baby no good to be born…….It never sees the light of day or knows what life is like, but at least it has found rest.” Ecclesiastes 6:3-5

-“ But better off are those who have never been born, who have never seen the injustice that goes on in the world.” Ecclesiastes 4:3

These can be used to show that abortion is better than being born into a life of suffering, e.g. unwanted babies.

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Roman catholic church belief of abortion

Roman Catholic Church

" Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception; abortion and infanticide are the most abominable of crimes." Second Vatican Council, Encyclical Gaudium et Spes

Abortion is always wrong. Life begins at conception, therefore abortion is murder.

Unborn child is a sacred human life; it deserves the same respect as any other human being.

****: RC Church does not support abortion - the foetus is paying for someone else’s crime.

“Human life is sacred”. Humanae Vitae, 1968

“The unborn human being’s right to live is one of the inalienable human rights” Pope John Paul II, 1985

"Abortion is a serious sin. Everyone, whether Catholic or not, should have a proper respect for human life." Declaration on Procured Abortion, 1974

"From the time that the ovum is fertilised a new life is begun which is neither that of the father or the mother. It is the life of a new human being with its own growth. It would never become human if it were not human already" Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974)


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The Church of England belief of abortion

The Church of England-

-Abortion is an evil to be avoided if possible, but can be justified in 3 circumstances:

-Risk to the mother’s life or her mental and physical health.

-Baby likely to be deformed and mother feels she can not cope.

- Abortion can be acceptable id the mother was *****

-Although the foetus is to be specially respected and protected, nonetheless the life of the foetus is not absolutely sacrosanct if it endangers the life of the mother.

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Practical Christian responses against abortion

Christians AGAINST abortion might put their beliefs into action by:

-In discussion, they may explain their opinions by referring to their faith.

-Join a pro-life organisation which campaigns against abortion, e.g. LIFE or SPUC.

-Vote, e.g. in America, where abortion is a big voting issue!

-Take part in protests, marches, demonstrations against abortion.

-Write letters to newspapers and MPs.

-Stand outside abortion clinics and try to persuade people to think again.

-Pray, asking God’s help for the foetuses and the women.

-Campaign for proper sex education so fewer unwanted pregnancies happen in the first place.


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Practical responses for abortion

Practical responses for abortion

Christians IN FAVOUR of a woman being able to choose to have an abortion might:

-Join a pro-choice organisation.

-Support organisations which counsel people who have had abortions.

-In discussion, explain why they feel abortion is sometimes the most loving choice.

-Pray about the problem of abortion.

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