Children and Life
When Does Life Begin?
- at conception when there sperm meets the egg
- when the backbone begins to develop- there is a clear shape
- when the foetus has a heart- week 3
- when it can feel pain- week 9
- at birth when life is independent
- to carry on the family name
- it fulfils marriage promises
- the child is the expression of love
- religoius duty to accept this gift of love from God
- too expensive
- not in a stable relationship
- medical reasons
Before 1967, abortion was entirely illegal, yet there were still around 100,000 cases a year. Women were desperate and risked their lives. Regulation was required.
The 1967 Abortion Act: states that abortion is illegal in Britain buy it can be carried out in specific circumstances where two doctors agree that there is danger to the woman's mental or physical heath, that the foetus will be born with physical or mental disablilities or that the welfare of existing children may be affected. The limit for an abortion to take place was 28 weeks and it must be done by a registered doctor in a registered hospital or clinic.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990: is mainly about fertility treatments and embryo research. However it also ammended the 1967 act. The limit was reduced to 24 weeks because advances in medical technology meant that a baby could survive if it was born since this stage. The majority of abortions take place before 12 weeks. These acts opened abortion up to any woman who wanted one as it is difficult to find a situation which does not fit into these clauses. There has been a massive increase in abortions following these laws.
There is still great debate over whether abortion should occur or not, however the laws have not changed, as it is believed that it is the women's personal opinion as to whether she will have an abortion or not.
The Rights of the Foetus: Pro Life
- The life of thes foetus is at least as important than the life of the mother
- The foetus must have an advocate
- All life has potential and should be given a chance
- Abortion is murder
- Life is sacred
- Gods created all life
- A foetus shouldn't be discarded as waste
- We should not judge the quality of life of another.
Woman's Right to Choose: Pro Choice
- A woman has the right to decide what happens to her body
- Some foetuses are so damaged it would be cruel to let them be born
- If the woman's life is at risk she should have the right to abort
- Where **** has occurred then abortion should be available
- The foetus can't survive outside the womb until a certain point
- Women would have abortions anyway
Abortion Pressure Groups and Organisations
Prolife.org.uk was set up to secure the rights of all to life. It works around many life related issues such as suicide and euthanasia. They believe in educating people, that the right to life is the basic human right. They politically campaign for changes in the law. A big part in their work is to keep the issues high profile in the media so that people will think aboutit and will help them change the law. They want to make abortion completely illegal.
National Pro-Choice Campaign
This organisation was set up to secure the rights of women to have abortions. They argue that a woman is the best person to decide where to carry on with her pregnancy. They campaign against restrictions in the law, and for better provision and women friendly NHS funded abortion services. They wish to stop doctors from blocking abrtion requests. They use petitions, public meets, publications, and political campaigning to get their message across and to gather support.
Religious Attitudes to Abortion
Buddhist texts do not mention abortion. Buddhists believe that taking life is wrong, and that life begins as conception. Abortion is seen as violent, gives the foetus no rights and does not show compassion. Also bad karma may be created for the doctor or mother because of the intention to harm a living being. At times abortion can lead to less suffering and so Buddhists may accept it on these occasions.
Christians believe that only God has the right to take life, as he created it. The Roman Catholic Church is totally against abortion and teaches that life must be protected. Many Protestants accept abortion as a necessary evil but stress it must be as a last resort and after much careful thought.
Quality of Life
Quality of Life means what someone's life is like. It is an argument sometimes used to support abortion. This is mainly true of abortion on the grounds of disability, because the argument is that the disability affects the quality of life of the person when born, and htis is unfair. For examply a foetus that has been diagnosed as having a severe physical or mental disability or a foetus that will never as a person be able to look after themself.
However, this means other people making judgements about whether a life is worth living, becuase the foetus has no say, nor a chance to experience life and to make the decision themself. As a percentage of the number of abortions carried out, it is rare to see an abortion requested because of disability. The people making the decisions are not trying to be cruel, rather they are trying to be compassionate to the foetus.
The argument of quality of life also considers whether it is right for this family to have this child. Perhaps they have many children already and are struggling to look after them, or they have a severely disabled child already who needs so much care they could not look after another. In each of these cases, people who disagree with abortion would see the foetus and innocent, and would suggest alternative methods to abortion.
- It prevents suffering and early death
- Person would have no independence
- Person would not be able to enjoy life to the full
- Person could be the victim of discrimination
- Have we the right to decide anothers QoL
- Disabled people can still enjoy and achieve in life
- Do you miss what you never had