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
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
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
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
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'.
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.
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.