Religion and Early Life

Religion and Early Life
AQA Topic

  • Created by: Katie
  • Created on: 24-04-11 11:48

Key Terms 1

Abortion: The deliberate termination of a pregnancy usually before the fetus is 24 weeks.

Abortion act 1967: the fist law making abortion legal in England, Scotland and Wales

Adoption: the legal process where a child is taken (adopted) into the family as a son or daughter

Birth: passing down the birth canal and living outside the mother

Conception: when the sperm meets the egg

Embryo:fertilised ovum at about 12-14 days when implanted in the wall of the womb

Ensouled: receives a soul

Foetus: fertilised ovum at about 11 weeks once the organs have developed

Fostering: the taking of a child from a different family into a home and bringing them up with the rest of the family. Not considered a son/ daughter. Not permanent.

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Key Terms 2

Gift: the idea that a child is a gift from God

Human Fertilisation and Embryology act 1990: the amendment to the abortion act that reduced the time limit to 24 weeks

Pro Choice: in favour of a woman's rights to choose abortion

Pro Life: opposed to abortion in favour of the life of the fetus

Quality of Life: a measure of fulfillment. Considers the life the mother and child might have.

Sanctity of Life: life is sacred because it is God given

Viable: the point at which a foetus could survive if it were born



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Why do people have children?

  • Want to start their own family
  • Consequence of an attack (****)
  • Survival of the human race
  • To create something that's amazing and unique
  • Accident/ unplanned
  • To help someone infertile/ result of IVF
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Quality of Life

This considers the kind of Life the child and mother will have. Will it be full of pain and suffering? Will the mother be able to love that child? It is about being able to experience life being fulfilled and content inside.

"I have come that they may have life in all its fullness" John 10

Child with mental/physical disabilities: Bullying, not being able to do as much as other children, mother under a lot of stress, not being able to communicate with other people

Unwanted child (****/mother very young): Mother may not love the child, may still be in school, have to do exams, child won't see mother very much id she is at school

Poverty: family are very low on income and have existing children: other children will suffer as result, wont be able to afford food/clothes for the whole family, house too small

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Abortion and Law (UK)

Before 1967: Illegal

Abortion act 1967: abortion legal in England, Scotland and Wales. Limit set at 28 weeks into pregnancy

The Human fertilisation and Embryo Act 1990: Time Limit changed to 24 weeks.

Abortion is illegal unless two doctors have agreed that certain circumstances are met:

  • If the mothers own physical health is at risk
  • If the health or well being of existing children is at risk
  • If there were strong indicators of physical/mental disability within the foetus
  • In exceptional circumstances a woman may have a late abortion if tests have to be carried out at a later stage or if the mother's health is at risk due to pregnancy.  
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For Abortion

Pro Choice: it is a woman's right to choose what to do with her body

  • Woman can make their own decisions with out the legal barriers
  • Each year 20 million unsafe abortions take place leading to an estimated 80,000 women dying
  • Carrying a pregnancy to term is more risky than abortion
  • 10% of GPs refuse to grant abortion
  • all women have the right to choose abortion for whatever reason
  • No women should be persuaded to either terminate or carry a pregnancy to term
  • The baby will be inside her for 9 months
  • 70% of the people who voted against abortion in parliament were men. 100% of them will never be pregnant
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Against Abortion

Pro Life: In favour of the unborn baby's rights

  • The baby is a separate biological being
  • The mother only has to look after it for 9 months and can then give the baby up for adoption
  • Abortion is not a form of contraception
  • The baby does not have a voice
  • There are many alternatives to abortion meaning the baby would not have to be killed
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Christian Views

Roman Catholics: Abortion is neveracceptable unless the mothers life is at risk and is absolutely necessary to have an abortion (only if the procedure is to save her life, and in effect the baby dies/ double effect). They believe life is sacred and should never be destroyed.

"Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes" Second Vatican Council

Church of England:Abortion is morally wrong and life is sacred but in exceptional circumstances abortion is a "necessary evil"

  • If the foetus has a serious disability
  • If the mothers life is in danger
  • If the pregnancy was a result of ****

The rights of the child have to be balanced against the mothers rights depending on the circumstances.
"Every human life is unique and sould be respected & protected but its life is not absoulutly paramount. Sometimes abortion is the lesser of the two evils" COE


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Muslim View

Muslims believe life is sacred and is in Allahs hands. Allah creates all human life and only Allah can decided when life should end. Muslims oppose abortion in all cases except where the mothers life is in danger. Everything is the will of Allah. Abortion for economic reasons is forbidden.

Some Muslims believe that the foetus is ensouled at 120 days, so abortions before that time are not killing a living person.

Niyyah : Allah will know your intention (judgement day)

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Teachings: Christianity

T: "Do not kill"

M: The bible teaches not to kill, and abortion is killing.

T: "You God formed my innermost parts you knitted me together in my mother’s womb... your eyes saw my unformed substance: in your book were written all the days of my life before I even had them"

M: God has created and planned your life and no one has the right to take it away as you still have all the days of your life to live that god has planned for you 

T: "When you (God) take away their breath, they die... when you give them breath they are created: you give new life to earth"

M: Only God has control over life and death; you have no right to take it away.

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Teachings: Islam

T: " And he has created you all from one single soul"

M: Allah controls and creates life. Every one is special to Allah and he created us all from the same thing. We all have the same maker and starting point.

T: "Do not kill you children for fear of poverty, we shall provide for both them and you. Killing them is a serious blunder"

M: You are not on your won, you have Allah and your community therefore you will never be in poverty so you should not have an abortion.

T: "No one who severs the relationship with the womb will enter paradise"

M: If you kill an unborn baby you won't go to heaven on the day of judgement. (could be for doctor?)

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Teachings and View: Sikhism

T: "God is One... the creator of all things Mul Mantra."

M: Everything is equal and everything is created by God. it is all of equal value, so killing an unborn baby is just as bad as killing someone who is alive.

  • When Sikh women find out they are pregnant they pray to god to thank him for the miracle gift and ask for protection
  • Mul Mantra is whispered in baby's ear when it is born to welcome the baby into the religion, telling it of its belief
  • Honey is put into the babys mouth to experience the sweetness of God
  • Baby is Taken to the Gurdwara and a name is chosen (the hymn/prayer book is opened at a random page and the baby's name will start with the first letter of that hymn) this binds the baby to the beliefs
  • To celebrate karahparshad is passed out.
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Alternatives to Abortion: Keeping the Baby


  • have a child
  • won't have a feeling of regret (of killing/ giving up the child)
  • Baby lives


  • have to bring up the child
  • Is for life
  • May interfere with education if the Mum is young
  • The baby may be unwanted by the mother and not loved as it should be
  • Risk of a poor QOL
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Alternatives to Abortion: Adoption

The legal process where a child is taken (adopted) into the family as a son or daughter.


  • people who can't conceive can have children
  • Mother doesn't have to look after the child but doesn't have to abort it
  • Child lives and has a chance at a good QOL with loving parents
  • They will be in a family which really wants a child
  • Permanent family (unlike fostering)


  • child may be upset if they find out their parents are not their birth parents
  • Birth mother cant change her mind and can never have the child back
  • Too many children being put up for adoption
  • no genetic conection/ phsycological scarring
  • Parents don't have the connection with the baby a birth mum would
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Alternatives to Abortion: Fostering

Foster care is a system by which a stand in parent(s) cares temporarily for children who have been removed from their birth parents care for whatever reason.


  • Still the mothers child and she can have the child back when she's ready
  • Foster family get paid


  • Child/carers  may become attached to the foster family/child
  • Not permanent and children can go from one foster family to another which may cause them physiological scarring when they are older
  • Know their mum doesn't want to care for them
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Adoption Vs Abortion 1

"Whatever worries or cares you may have... we will help you. If you want help to cope with raising the baby on your own...If you want to discuss adoption of your unborn child...If you need financial assistance or help with equipment for your baby...If you cannot face your family...come to us we will help you"

Cardinal Thomas Winning of Glasgow (Roman Catholic)

The Cardinals views on abortion and adoption:

  • Abortion is wrong (of mentioned: not for poverty, risk of loosing bonds with family)
  • Adoption is an option and is better than abortion
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Adoption Vs Abortion 2

Abortion is always better than adoption:

  • Means the mother does not have to carry out the pregnancy and give birth to the unwanted baby
  • The baby does not risk of not being adopted
  • The baby doesn't risk having a poor QOL
  • The mother never has to wonder where her child is
  • The mother can carry on with her life without having to be pregnant for 9 months

Adoption is always better than abortion

  • The child lives
  • the mother knows her baby is in good hands (if it gets adopted)
  • The family will love the child as they want one
  • The child will have a better QOL
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Adoption Agencies: Banardos

  • They offer adoption sevrices so families can adopt children
  • Offer emotional, legal and practical support to children and familiies for as long as they need it
  • Supervise and support placements before adoptions and provide services  after adoptions oders have been place too
  • They have a service for adults who were adopted through banardos and allows them to access care records to find out about their past
  • they provide support and advice for adults who were adopted
  • Offer counselling and support to birth parents
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Colourful, handy notes for anyone studying GCSE RE that contains the topic of abortion in its specification.

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