Contemporary Moral Issue Report: Abortion

Addenda Laws Abortion is the deliberate termination of an unborn fetus. It is a heavily debated Issue as there are many viewpoints on many different parts of It. However the law of abortion in the UK has changed twice – firstly, in 1967; Abortion in England, Scotland and Wales is governed by the Abortion Act 1967.

This states that a registered medical practitioner may lawfully terminate a pregnancy, in an INS hospital or on premises approved for this purpose, if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith: “(a) that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth eek and that the continuance of the pregnancy would Involve risk, greater than If the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or (b) that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent Injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or (c) that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater that if the pregnancy were terminated; or (d) that there Is a substantial risk that If the child were born it would suffer from such hysterical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped. In addition, where a doctor “is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman” the opinion of a second registered medical practitioner is not required. Nor, in these limited circumstances, are there restrictions on where the procedure may be carried out. (From bam. Org. UK/-/medal/ Files,’PDF/… /Ethics/lawethicsabortionnov07. PDF) The laws then changed slightly In 1991 to; Abortion may be granted under one of the following circumstances, if the pregnancy: 1 . Has not exceeded its 24th week (previously lowered from 28 weeks in the Abortion Act of 1967) shahs a heightened risk of Injury to the physical and/or mental health of the mother, existing children, or family 3.

Places the mother’s life or mental health in jeopardy 4_Poses as a risk to the mental and physical health of the mother (From http:// en. Wakefield. Org/wick/ Ethical Theories and Issues Utilitarianism The two things Utilitarianism would use to determine whether it would be right or rang would be the hedonistic calculus and ‘The greatest happiness for the greatest number. ‘ So whether abortion is right or wrong depends on the situation, making it relative. For example, if the mother and father are happy about the abortion but the doctor wasn’t It would be right to have an abortion because more people gain happiness if It were to happen than if weren’t too. The amount of happiness caused by this is done by the Hedonistic Calculator.

This consists of; Intensity – The more toys Duration – How long the happiness will last Certainty – How certain you are that your action will gain happiness Extent – How any people will experience happiness Remoteness – How much work done for pleasure Purity – How much pain does it cause The two most important for abortion are probably Extent and Purity because firstly deciding whether to have an abortion isn’t a very personal thing; normally there is a lot of discussion and thinking about whether it is the right thing to do between the prospective parents, doctors and also what about the fetus? A question also arises from purity – does the fetus feel pain? Does it have ‘happy or ‘sad’ feelings from this – does it even have feelings and do these feelings count? Is it even alive? This is one of the reason why it’s a contemporary moral issue as there so many different questions and views. Buddhism Traditional Buddhists believe that abortion is wrong as it is the deliberate termination of a life and this correlates with the 5 things that Buddhists use to determine ‘killing something. These are: The thing killed must be a living being. The killer must know or be aware that it is a living being.

The killer must have the intention to kill it. There must be an effort to kill. The being must be killed as the result. The question of whether the fetus is ‘alive’ may come up from this however most rotational believe that it’s alive at the point of conception so if anyone wanted an abortion to occur and it did occur then they would be ‘killing. However modern Buddhism has more views about the morality of abortion and is expected to take more responsibility for the choices. These choices very personal and ethical consequences depend on motives, thoughtfulness and the situation in general. This also links in to fact that Buddhism is seen more as a way of life rather than religion.

For example, some Buddhists may think its right to have an abortion if the mother’s fife is at stake but some may think it’s wrong to abort the fetus if the motivation is just because of the sex of it. Others may think the opposite. The Dalai Lama said; “Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance. ” Dalai Lama, New York Times, 28/1 1/1993

Buddhists would probably refer to Dalai Lama’s teachings (such as this one), the five moral precepts, Ducked, Karma and the eightfold path and their own personal feelings when making the decision to abort a fetus. An abortion would create bad Karma for the mother, and doctor performing it, however would it create good or bad Karma for the fetus? A BBC website says; “The fetus suffers bad karma because its soul is deprived of the opportunities that an earthly existence would have given it to earn good karma, and is returned immediately to the cycle of birth, death and religion/religions/Buddhism/fetishistic/abortion. HTML) This is surly unfair on the child as it hasn’t done anything done to deserve this.

But due to the rules of reincarnation and Karma it is possible could deserve this and that may be why it happened. The Buddha said that that abortion was one of the five causes of evil karma during the Drain Sutra. He said: “There are five kinds of Evil Karma which are difficult to extinguish, even if one were to repent of them. What are the five kinds of offences? The first one is killing the father, the second one is killing the mother, the third one is abortion, the fourth one is to injure The Buddha, the fifth one is to create Sharron among the Sang assemblies. These five types of evil and sinful karma are difficult to extinguish. ” This is also supported by the Noble Eightfold Path.

This consists of; Right Understanding Right Thought Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration The reason this supports the Buddha statement is as the Right Action consists of Aims – non violence to all living things even the unborn. This shows that Buddhism is defiantly not in favor of abortion. The five moral precepts also support this view as the first (l will not harm another living things. And as Buddhists believe that the fetus is alive at the point of conception so it would be breaking the rules. So overall traditional Buddhism rejects the idea of abortion completely making it absolute. Modern Buddhism however is relative as there are a lot more perspectives and views of morality and abortion. This may be due to the fact that rather than a religion it is seen to be a way of life and guidelines to help us to live a righteous life.

But as they may be viewed as guidelines – this makes them seem subjective and not compulsory unlike rules which you have to follow. Christianity The divine command theory is a big part of how Christians tell whether is right or wrong. This is basically God saying something is right and therefore it is right, therefore do as God says. Christians find out what God wants through things such as the Bible, church meetings, priests (revelation), prayer and the conscience. This way of telling whether something is right or wrong shows that abortion wrong. This is as the ten commandments says “Thou shall not kill” and as in Christianity a fetus is viewed as living thing terminating it would be viewed as killing.

Agape and Sanctity of fife both support this idea as well – as firstly Agape is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself and Sanctity of life is that if humans are created in the image of God ; meaning they are sacred. So harming others is like harming God. The reasons why these support the divine command theory is as, firstly, Sanctity of life would mean that if you were to have an abortion you would be killing/terminating God. However God’ but is a fetus a human? It has the potential to become a human but is it a human whilst being developed into a human and is unborn? This shows that Christians believe that human life starts at the point conception, like Buddhists do.

Agape rejects the idea of abortion as if you don’t want to die then you should treat the fetus the same way – not killing (terminating) it. However what if you want to die, would it make it right to have an abortion? However suicide is a sin in Christianity therefore meaning it would still be the wrong thing to do. But does this mean that in some situations that the rules of agape may in some situations disagree with the rules and guidelines of Christianity. For example if one hated them self and inflicted self – harm then the rules of agape would dictate that it would fine for him to hate omen else and even hurt them. However the rules of Christianity would with say this is wrong.

Christians also reject the idea of abortion as they believe God should give or take life, not man. Former head of the Catholic church Pope John Paul II said this; “Frequently man lives as if God did not exist, and even puts himself in God’s place… He claims for himself the Creator’s right to interfere in the mystery of human life. Rejecting divine law and moral principles, he openly attacks the family. ” Pope John Paul II, 2002 Also the Church of England Board of responsibility says; In the light of our conviction that the fetus has the right to live and develop as a member of the human family, we see abortion, the termination of that life by the act of man, as a great moral evil.

We do not believe that the right to life, as a right pertaining to persons, admits of no exceptions whatever; but the right of the innocent to life admits surely of few exceptions indeed. Church of England Board of Social Responsibility, 1980 However some Christians disagree that abortion is always wrong and think it should be relative rather than objective and that you shouldn’t be excommunicated for it. This can be seen in these statistics (from America only); 13% of abortion patients describe themselves as Evangelical Christians 27% of abortion patients say they are Catholics 38% of Catholics are Pro-choice 33% of Protestant/Other Christian are also pro choice Christian rules about abortion are objective; however some Christians believe they should be relative.

Even though Christianity (Catholic and Protestant) is very much Pro-Life and rejects abortion completely insomuch as to excommunicate anyone who has one. Pro – Choice Pro – choice supports the mothers right to choose whether to have an abortion or not ND that they aren’t morally wrong. Some of the arguments for abortion are; Women have a right to decide what to do with their bodies, not being able to support the child or the woman due to things such as poverty, a woman may not be able to reach her full potential with a child to care for; also, a woman may have her health at risk and if the child were to live a life of pain then would be fair to make them go through it?

Also women have rights about their bodies and this supports their right to have an abortion; these are; a woman has the right to decide what she can and ant do with her body the fetus exists inside a woman’s body pregnant woman has the right to abort the fetus every human being has the right to own their own body a fetus is part of a woman’s body therefore that woman has the right to abort a fetus they are carrying (From http://www. BBC. Co. UK/ethics/abortion/mother/for_l . SHTML) However does the fetus have the right to do what it wants with its body? This would depend on two things; firstly is the fetus human and also does it have the desire to live?

If it is or does then surely abortion is wrong as it would be against the footer’s sights. However if this were the case then the rights would be impossible to follow if the mother did want an abortion but the fetus had the desire to live then the only choices available would be wrong. But if this weren’t the case then the rights would dictate that abortion isn’t wrong – under any circumstances. But this would mean that rights are always right and not wrong but some of these rights may be wrong. However it is believed by many people and also religions (even ones that don’t support abortion) that human rights are right and should be respected and followed.

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