1.1.1 Weaknesses: Charles Darwin has challenged the theory that humans were
created by God in his image, with his thoory of Natural Selection.. Peter
Singer argued that to treat human life as if it is more important than that of
animals is specism. The Sanctity of Life ethic does not give direction in the
case of conflict of duty, such as choosing between the life of the mother
and the life of the foetus.
1.1.2 Strengths: It values all human life equally, regardless of status or gender. it states clearly that killing is wrong and
respects and individuals future. It gives everyone equal dignity as children of God. It avoids too much group
pressure or power, for example, to abort a disabeled foetus.
1.2 Peter Singer and Helga Kushe argue that the Sanctity of Life ethic should be dropped in favour of the Quality of Life
ethic. In terms of abortion this would justify it in situations where the foetus would not be able to reach the qualities of
personhood: For example if it was known that the baby would be born with a server disability. But how do we decide
what constitutes Quality of Life? This view could suggest that those born with a server disability are somehow inferior
members of the human race. Who would make the decision about the foetuses quality of life, the parents, medics,
government ministers. Could we rely on a prenatal diagnosis?
1.3 Genesis 1:26 "Let us make man in our
own image" Human life is special and
precious to God in ways that animal
life is not.
2 Religious View
2.1 Your opinion
2.2 Christian Teaching on Abortion
2.2.1 The Bible appears to say that life begind when the baby is in the mothers womb: "For you
created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb". (Pslam 139:13)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart."
22.214.171.124 No Christian Churches believe that abortion should be encouraged,
and believe that it should only be used in serious circumstances.
126.96.36.199.1 The Catholic Church believe that a pregnancy may never be
terminated, although they do believe it may end as a result
of medical assistance given to the mother, the so called
double effect - For example ending a pregnancy in order to
save the mothers life.
188.8.131.52.1.1 The Roman Catholic Church teach that a foetus is
a human being from the point of conception, and
therefore it has the same rights to life as the
mother, this idea is based on two theories:
184.108.40.206.1.1.1 This Scripture led Pope Innocent iii to place the moment of conception
at 13 weeks, leading to the Catholic Church excepting abortion that took
place before this point in pregnancy. There is still this view that
ensoulment happens at the point of conception making abortion is not
220.127.116.11.1.1.2 QUICKENING - This is the time that the baby can first be felt moving within
the mothers womb. This is supported by the experience of John the Baptist's
mother Elizabeth, described in the Bible in Luke 1:39-42:"At that time Mary
got ready and hurried to a town in the hill county of Judas, where she
entered Zachariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard
Mary's greeting the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with
the Holy Spirit. in a loud voice ahe exclaimed: 'Blessed are you amoung
women, and blessed is the child you will bear!'"
18.104.22.168.1.1.3 ENSOULMENT - In the 13th century
Aquinas argued that the male feoutus
became a human being at 40 days, and
women at 90 days after ensoulment.
Although this theory has a major probkem
in that at the time when Aquinas was
born there was no way to tell the gender
of the foetus until the baby was born.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Many would also queston how a benevolent God can allow the
natural abortion of many fertilized eggs.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 There is no scientific proof to
support the existence of a soul.
2.2.2 Catechism of the Catholic Church
220.127.116.11 "You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish." (Didache 2:2)
18.104.22.168 The Catechism is designed to give a summary of the teachings of the Catholic Church of many aspects of the Catholic Church.
3 The Question of Personhood
3.1 What Rights does a foetus have?
What rights a mother has over
3.2 What it is to be a person?
At what point in pregnancy
does the featous become a
3.2.1 It is important to for people to understand at what point in
pregnancy a fetous becomes a person, as termination after
this point can be considered murder.
22.214.171.124 Mary Anne Warren determind the 6 charactertics she felt determind
the point at which personhood occured. Without these characteristics
she believed that a person could not be considered a person.
126.96.36.199.1 J Glover - When does a
person become a person,
is like asking when does a
cake become a cake? This
is imppossible to
188.8.131.52.2 Sentinence - Concious experiences
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Self - Awareness
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Moral Agency
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1 The Capacity
4 The UK Abortion Act 1967
4.1 (d) there is great risk that if the child were born it would
suffer from phsical or mental issues that would leave
them seriously disabled.
4.2 (c) the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to
the life of the pregnant women, greater than the risk if the
pregnancy were terminated.
4.3 (b) it is necessary to terminate the pregnancy in
order to prevent grave permenant injury to the
physical or mental health of the pregnant women.
4.4 (a) the pregnancy has not exceeded 24 weeks, and to
continue the pregnancy would envolve greater risk of injury
to mental or physical heath of the pregnant women or
existing children, than if the pregnancy were terminated.
5 Non Religious View
5.1 Thomson's Analogy - "A man is wired up to a famous violinist in a hospital in order to save the violinist. He wakes up
and is given a choice of staying attached to the violins for 9 months in order to save him, or leaving the hospital and the
violinist to die." Violinist = Foetus.... Person = Mother..... Hospitalisation = Pregnancy. The Violinist has the right to life,
however the question is this right to life greater than the persons right to freedom. The Violinist has no right over the
persons body, and so is morally justified in leaving the hospital - just as a mother has the right to an abortion. Singers
Analogy is similar in which he asks if a women accidentally gets out of a lift on the wrong floor in a hospital, and is
asked to be connected to a machine for 9 months in order to save the life of her friend. The women eould not have to
agree to do this, just as a women would not have to keep a baby that was accidentally conceived.
5.2 Thompsons Analogy of a break in can also be used here, but this can be
criticised as a person chooses to break into a house, where as a foetus does
not choose to be conceived.