Religion and Early Life

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  • Created by: Becky2121
  • Created on: 21-03-16 19:28

When life begins

Main ideas on when life begins:

  • At conception
  • Development of the spinal cord
  • When the heart starts beating
  • When the foetus is viable at around 22 weeks
  • At birth

Religious Views on when life starts

  • Buddhists --> before conception (due to everything being involved in the cycle of life, death, rebirth)
  • Sikhs --> conception
  • Roman Catholics --> conception
  • Muslims --> at 120 days
  • (some) Jews --> At birth (as this is when the soul becomes present)
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Reasons for abortion

Reasons for abortion include:

  • Disability
  • The child is unwanted
  • Poverty


It would be cruel to bring a baby into the world if it was going to be severly physically or mentally disabled. It would not have a good quality of life due to potentially being in pain a lot of the time or being unable to communicate with others. It may be kinder to abort the baby to save the suffering.

Unwanted Children

Every child deserves to grow up feeling loved and wanted. A baby may come at an inconvenient time - would it be fair to make a women give up her education because she got pregnant at the wrong time? The baby may have been conceived through **** meaning the mother would be constantly reminded of her ordeal - would this be fair?

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Reasons for abortion (Part 2)


Not everybody has the money to be able to support a baby financially as it costs a lot of money - especially if the parents already have a large family or are on low income. If the parents know they won't have the money to support the baby by being able to give it everything it needs to at least be healthy would it be fair to bring it into the world just to suffer?

The quality of life of the whole family may be affected due to having to buy new things for the baby - you would need to consider the quality of life of the existing people as well.

Points to consider

  • How severe would a disablity have to be to justify having an abortion? Lots of disabled babies go on to live full and happy lives
  • Why is the baby unwanted? --> Is it for genuine reasons such as interferring with education or because the mother is planning to go on holiday?
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The Law

Abortion: the deliberate removal of the foetus to end a pregnancy

The 1967 Abortion Act and the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act states an abortion can be carried out if one of the following applies:

  • The mother's life is at risk
  • The baby may be born severly physically or mentally disables
  • There is a risk to the mother's physical or mental health
  • There is a risk physically or mentally to her existing children

The latest an abortion can be carried out in the UK is 24 weeks.

There is no time limit if the mother's life is at risk

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Only certain people have rights when it comes to abortion:

  • The mother
  • The foetus
  • The (if any) existing children

The father has no say despite having to legally financially support his child.

Rights to choose:

The women is the one who has to carry the baby for nine months and is the one that has to give birth to it. It is her life and her freedom that'll be most affected so she has the final right to choose if she has an abortion.

Right to safety:

Every women should have the right to have a safe abortion as if they don't women will result in having to have backstreet abortions. Some people would like to see a change in the law so women can be even safer by not having to wait for two doctors to agree.

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Arguments for abortion

Pro-Choice: Those who support a women's right to choose abortion

Reasons for abortion:

  • A women should have 'a right to choose'
  • Life begins at earliest when the foetus is viable (even then the baby will need extensive medical treatment) whereas the women is already alive
  • The risk to the mother outweighs the risks to the baby
  • The circumstances of the women should be considered --> would it be fair to make a girl give up her education because she got pregnant if this means she most likely won't be able to provide for the baby as well as she could have done later in life if she was educated?
  • Adoption is not emotionally easily --> it may be easier for the mother to abort the baby as this way they don't run the risk of getting emotionally attatched whilst pregant 
  • Backstreet abortions will return if they're made illegal 
  • It would be cruel to bring physically or mentally disabled babies into the world
  • The world is already overpopulated --> why bring unwanted children into it?
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Arguments against abortion

Pro-life: Those who oppose abortion and feel the foetus has rights to live

Arguments against abortion:

  • Some medical evidence can show a foetus is an individual who can think and feel from as early as conception therefore abortion is murder
  • A women may suffer from feelings of guilt and depression afterwards
  • Disabled people can still live a happy, fulfilled life
  • Unwanted babies could be adopted by those who are unable to have their own children
  • Each person is unique and has something to offer in life and so by having an abortion you'll never know what this person could have done
  • It can be used in a selfish manner to avoid responsibilities and consequences eg using an abortion as a form of contraception
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