RE: The right to life

  • Created by: Aoife_
  • Created on: 16-05-13 10:57


Abortions are legal if:

  • Two doctors agree
  • It is under 24 weeks
  • There is a risk to the mother or the baby

Why do women want abortions?

  • A result of a casual sexual encounter where a child is not desired
  • It would impede on a career or lifestyle
  • As a result of inappropriate sexual relations
  • Medical abnormalities kin the child
  • The life of the mother is threatened
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Day 1 - Fertilisation

3 Weeks - The heart starts beating

6 Weeks - Brainwaves detected

8 Weeks - Kicking begins - some argue pain can be felt

21-23 Weeks - A few babies born at this point survive

24 Weeks - Viability in UK law

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Pro-choice and Pro-life arguments


  • Women have the right to choose what happens to their body
  • Legal abortions prevent unsafe backstreet abortions
  • Some women may be incapable to care for a baby, endangering themselves and others
  • The life of a living mother should be prioritised over the life of an unborn baby
  • It is more compassionate to prevent the mother and the embryo from suffering after it's birth if it has medical problems and will not survive for long outside the womb
  • God gave humans free will


  • Every human has a right to life and human life is sacred
  • The embryo will suffer during an abortion
  • Women may suffer great emotional distress after an abortion
  • A line cannot be drawn between life and non-life
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Many people want euthansia after a severe loss of quality of life or psychological issues such as depression. The UK allows:

  • administration of a powerful painkiller to a suffering patient even if this speeds up their death
  • withdrawal of medical treatment if recovery is not possible

Voluntary Euthanasia:

Christians mainly oppose euthanasia claiming that suffering is what it means to be a Christian - Jesus suffered on the cross for Christians. Jesus also brought healing and life to people, not death. Terminally ill people may feel pressured into euthanasia to avoid being a burden on their family. However, some Christians believe that euthanasia shows mercy and the bible states 'blessed are the merciful'.

Involuluntary euthanasia:

Some Christians believe this to be the same as murder. It may also lead to the killing of a person against their will for some social/ medical justification. However, some agree that it may be more compassioante to end a person's suffering if they cannot communicate.

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Active/Passive Euthanasia, Self-Determination and

  • 'Do not commit murder' makes reference to active euthanasia - it does not condemn passive.
  • Passive euthanasia is simply allowing natural events to occur, allowing God's plan to take place
  • God defines 'love your neighbour' in the parable of the good samaritain - he condemns those who do not help.

However, the 'double effect' rule can also come into play - this allows excessive treatments if death is not the primary intention. Shortening of life can be a secondary effect. 

Some Christians believe that the right to life also includes the right to self-determination. 

Hospices can be a dignified alternative to euthanasia. The hospice movement:

  • emphasises compassionate care with expert pain relief
  • emphasises physical and spiritual healing
  • emphasises valuing the person and every moment of their life

These hospices are essential in maintaining a person's dignity until death.

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