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An acceptance of the practice of abortion is incompatible with Christian beliefs in the sanctity of life but not with the attitudes of some medical practicioners and some ethical philosophers. Discuss

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An acceptance of the practice of abortion is incompatible with Christian beliefs in the sanctity of life but not with the attitudes of some medical practicioners and some ethical philosophers. Discuss When discussing issues that concern the sanctity of life it is important to give an accurate definition of what the term means. Within Christianity the term sanctity of life is taken to mean `the belief that all life is holy and belongs to God and therefore only God has the right to end life' (Victor W Watton, Religion and Life). It is important however to note that this definition only covers the moral ideas of the Christian Church. It has been argued that as we know enter the 21^st Century, that our society has become more less Church orientated and more people orientated. It is therefore important to provide an alternative definition for the sanctity of life (one that exists more on an ethical plain rather than a religious one). An ethical definition of the sanctity of life has been put forward by Peter Singer in `Writings on an ethical issue', `the doctrine of the sanctity of human life may be taken to be no more than a way of saying that human life has some special value, a value quite distinct from the value of the lives of living things.' (1) Both of these definitions can be applied when debating the question of abortion, for that is to complex a subject that has many different interpretations depending upon your beliefs. The debate on abortion is not a new one, it has been discussed for many centuries (an earliest form of the abortion debate can be found in the writings of Aristotle). The law can also confuse matters within society when people are debating the issue of abortion. Within Britain abortion is legal due to the 1967 Abortion Act, this law states that a person shall not be found guilty of the unlawful ending of a pregnancy if two strict rules are adhered to. ...read more.


needed to be revised, not only as RG Jones puts it `because of its quaint language, but because, medical practice has moved on from the simple relationship between doctor and patient and the simple range of types of treatment available until recently.' (7) The views contained within the Hippocratic Oath were then updated by the formation of the World Medical Association in 1947. This led to the Decleration of Geneva with which the International Code of Medical Ethics was based upon. The Decleration of Geneva contains such statements as: `I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity... The health of my patient will be my first consideration..... I will retain the upmost respect for human life, from the time of conception, under thereat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.' Therefore basing their views on the decleration of Geneva medical practicioners allow abortion and their views are cemented in the Abortion Act of 1967 (within Britain), which officially allowed abortion under specific circumstances (see the introduction for the circumstances). Therefore the views of medical practicioners would be incompatible with Christian belief on the sanctity of life (not saying that doctors do not believe in the sanctity of life but they do at the same time try to be fair to the mother) because they never condone abortion. As mentioned above some doctors find it hard to perform abortions if they themselves believe that abortions should not be allowed. This quote from the Doctors for a Womans choice on Abortion shows the process within their minds that doctors must go through. `It is the woman and not the doctor who goes through the abortion operation or continues the pregnancy and has the baby. We believe that it should be for the woman to decide in the light of her own moral beliefs and personal situation. ...read more.


who would agree with the Christian view on the sanctity of life. I believe in conclusion that the issue of abortion (the rights and wrongs of it) will ever be solved or the sanctity of life will ever be a universal theme, but it is important when making laws on issues like abortion that the Government stay above the restraints of Christian doctrine and ethical considerations. It is important particularily in the age that we are now living in to respect the rights of all the parties involved (ie mother and child) but to also act out of love for both parties in that regards it would be as best to take a Humanistic view on the issue of abortion, this would ensure that unwanted babies do not get born into an already overpopulated world. As I mentioned in the introduction it is also important that women are allowed to have abortions because if they do no they will only resort to having backstreet abortion because that would be more preferable to them than having the baby. The danger is as Humanists sates that by not allowing abortion more unwanted children will be brought into the world, `humanists regard abortion as better than bringing unwanted babies into the world. Also now that we are beginning to question our place in society and nature (brought about by all the advances in technology especially medical technology) it is perhaps as Peter Singer states `time to reassess our belief in the sanctity of life of the members of our species.' (11) 1. Peter Singer, `Writings on an ethical issue' 2. Joe Jenkins `Introducing Moral issues' pg 77 3. Joe Jenkins `Contemporary Moral Issues' pg 99 4. Robin Gill `Textbook of Christian Ethics' 5. Victor W Watton `Religion and Life' pg 84 6. James and Audrey Bentley `Contemporary Issues a Christian View' pg 124 7. RG Jones `A Textbook of Christian Ethics' 8. Joe Jenkins `Introducing Moral Issues' pg 77 9. Peter Singer `Writings on an Ethical issue' pg 128 10.Joe Jenkins `Introducing Moral Issues' pg 77 11. ...read more.

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