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Describe the teaching about abortion and the Sanctity of Life, which is found in the Bible.

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Introduction

SECTION A Introduction Abortion- the termination of the life of a foetus. In this section I will be looking at the general teachings of Bible references that refer to abortion and the Sanctity of life. I will be looking at eight references from all over the Bible and seeing how they can be interpreted, either saying that abortion is wrong, or that it should be allowed. In Britain, since 1967 abortion of some kind has been allowed. In 1967 a law was passed enabling abortion, under certain conditions. Two doctors had to agree about it and it must be carried out in registered premises. And these would only be relevant if the mother's life, health or mental health would be at risk, her existing family would suffer or if the child will be handicapped. This allowed abortions up to 28 weeks. In 1990 the time deadline was changed to 24 weeks, because with modern technology a 28 week born baby may be able to survive out of the womb. Abortion on demand, (no questions asked) is not available in Britain, but it is in Holland. Genesis ch.1 v 27 "So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female." This reference is saying that life is God-given and holy. So if you destroy it then you are destroying God's work. God created two sexes so that child could be produced, so God wants children to be had. The question to be asked though is when does life begin? If a Christian believes it starts at conception then they are very likely to be against abortion at any stage. If they believe that life begins after 9 weeks, which it then medically a foetus, so up to nine weeks they might think it is alright up to 9 weeks. Some believe it begins at various other times, right up to birth. ...read more.

Middle

Psalms 127 v3 The Catholic teachings state that sexual intercourse should only take place inside a marriage and for the purpose of creating children. Therefore according to the Papal Encyclical 1968 abortion is forbidden, as it is a means of regulating birth, and changing Gods plans. This view is still supported by Pope Jean-Paul II. Mark 12 v30-31 Catholic teachings from 1930 state that 'human beings are made in the image of God' therefore abortion is breaking the commandment 'Love the Lord your God'. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognised as having the rights of a person- among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." In the Pope's new encyclical he says, "the killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act." The Pope is emphasising that no that no commandment, other than 'love your god', is more important than this. What is the Roman Catholic Church doing to convince people that abortion is wrong? The Roman Catholic Church tries to educate all Catholics that sex should only happen inside marriage and for procreation, to create a stable family life. But also stresses that abortion is the murder of an innocent child, and breaks the rules of the Church and is punished by excommunication. Because of this they've got schemes which help to financially support mothers, supplying them with clothes an equipment for the baby. The first of these schemes was set up in March 1997 in Scotland, and was modelled on similar schemes run by SPUC. These financial incentives are offered to mothers to try and persuade them to keep their unborn child. Church of England Denomination Genesis ch1 v 27 C of E Christians would agree that life is God given and holy, but they understand the complexities involved in abortion, and allow it under certain circumstances. ...read more.

Conclusion

Abortions could be justified taking into account "offensive social conditions of bad housing and family poverty". Also they would justify abortions for all the reasons that the C of E would justify abortions, e.g. after rape or when the mother's life is at risk etc. They believe firmly that the mother is more important than the foetus. In their opinion the foetus is a potential human, but the mother is the real human, so her rights must be given priority if there is a conflict between the mother and foetus. It is seen here also as the lesser of two evils. However, a Methodist, or someone of a similar denomination, would not justify an abortion if it was 'just a matter of the mother's convenience'. Never the less, Methodists strongly emphasise the need to support women in their choices about reproduction and pregnancy. They emphasise God's forgiveness. Some Methodists have abortions themselves. They would like to see good contraceptive advice, more chances for women to decide what to do about unplanned pregnancies and more support for women who choose to have an abortion. As far as the current British law is concerned, they are pretty happy with it at the moment. They feel that if abortion was made illegal again, there would be one law for the rich and another one for the poor. While the rich would be able to afford to go abroad to have an abortion, there would be the return of back-street abortions, with increased risk of ill health and death, which would be the biggest waste of life, one or potentially two human lives would be wasted. From all of this, I have decided that there are certainly circumstances where Christians could justify abortions. Roman Catholics, only when the operation has another intention, but the other denominations have certain circumstances under which they could justify an abortion, as it is often seen as the lesser of the two evils. ...read more.

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