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ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, AND THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE

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Introduction

SANCTITY Sanctity means sacred. Sanctity of life means that life is given by God and therefore cannot or should not be taken by people. It is up to God when people are born and when they die. If something is 'sanctified' it is considered holy or blessed by God. ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, AND THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE A number of ethical questions cluster around both ends of the human life span. Whether abortion is morally justifiable has popularly been seen as depending on our answer to the question "When does a human life begin?" Many philosophers believe this to be the wrong question to ask because it suggests that there might be a factual answer that we can somehow discover through advances in science. Instead, these philosophers think we need to ask what it is that makes killing a human being wrong and then consider whether these characteristics, whatever they might be, apply to the fetus in an abortion. There is no generally agreed upon answer, yet some philosophers have presented surprisingly strong arguments to the effect that not only the fetus but even the newborn infant has no right to life. This position has been defended by Jonathan Glover in Causing Death and Saving Lives (1977) and in more detail by Michael Tooley in Abortion and Infanticide (1984). Such views have been hotly contested, especially by those who claim that all human life, irrespective of its characteristics, must be regarded as sacrosanct. ...read more.

Middle

Most abortions in the United States are performed for this reason. A spontaneous abortion usually passes through several progressive stages. The first stage is a threatened abortion in which a woman, known to be less than 20 weeks pregnant, notices a small amount of bloody discharge from her vagina and, perhaps, a few cramping pains in her uterus. By pelvic examination it is determined that her cervix has not started to open or dilate. Either the symptoms subside or the matter progresses to an inevitable abortion, in which there is increased bleeding, the uterine cramps become more severe, and the cervix, or mouth of the uterus, opens for the expulsion of the uterine contents. An inevitable abortion terminates either as a complete or an incomplete abortion, depending on whether or not all the products of gestation are expelled. The process may start abruptly with pain and profuse bleeding and be over in a few hours, or it may go on for days with only a modest loss of blood. Spontaneous abortions early in pregnancy tend to be complete. When the pregnancy is further advanced, it is more likely to be incomplete. Usually the physician removes the retained tissue in the uterus surgically when there is an incomplete abortion. If the fetus dies and is retained in the uterus for eight weeks or longer, the condition is referred to as a missed abortion. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Surah 2:155-156)" No one has the right to decide when they will die: "When their time, arrives they cannot tarry for a single hour nor can they go ahead. (Surah 16:61)" The opinion that euthanasia is morally permissible goes back to Socrates, Plato, and the Stoics. It is rejected in traditional Christian belief, chiefly because it is thought to come within the prohibition of murder in the Ten Commandments. The organized movement for legalization commenced in England in 1935, when C. Killick Millard founded the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society (later called the Euthanasia Society). The society's bill was defeated in the House of Lords in 1936, and so also was a motion on the same subject in the House of Lords in 1950. In the United States, the Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938. The potential of modern medical practice to prolong life through technological means has provoked the question of what must be decided by the physician and the family in cases of extreme physical or emotional suffering, especially if the patient is incapable of choice. Passively doing nothing to prolong life or withdrawing life-support measures has resulted in criminal charges being brought against physicians; on the other hand, the families of comatose and apparently terminal patients have instituted legal action against the medical establishment to make them stop the use of extraordinary life support. ...read more.

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