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Examine Christian beliefs about abortion. Comment on these beliefs with reference to another religion.

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Introduction

Examine Christian beliefs about abortion. Comment on these beliefs with reference to another religion. An estimated 150,000 took to the streets of Milan on Saturday, 14th of January 2006 in opposition to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's campaign to support the Roman Catholic Church by un-doing a 1978 law which currently makes abortion lawful during the first three months of pregnancy. Whilst in contrast, roughly four months ago, on Wednesday, 26th October 2006 a vast number of people (Religious and Non- Religious) flocked to Westminster to debate the current time limit for abortion in the UK (currently 24 weeks), remarkably almost 200 people crammed into the room. These are just some of the issues and debates that have arisen surrounding abortion in the recent past, and it just goes to show how important an ethical dilemma abortion is to this day, whether it be for religious or non-religious believers. The standard definition for abortion is usually a"medical termination of a pregnancy before the fetus has developed enough to survive outside the uterus." However in ethics abortion is usually referred to distinctly as a procured abortion which is "...deliberately induced by the use of drugs or by surgical procedure", the intentional destruction of a fetus in the womb. A popular method for 'procured abortion' is the Vacuum Aspiration method in which a tube is inserted into the womb, then the contents of the womb are sucked out. The Dilation and Evacuation method is also regular in, which the women's cervical area is enlarged using dilators, when the area is enlarged enough the womb is emptied by suction, or by having its contents scraped out with a tool called a curette. ...read more.

Middle

"And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life." (Exodus 21:22-23) The Old Testament clearly demonstrates above that causing an unnatural miscarriage is wrong. This act is also in opposition to the Sanctity of Life principle and to the commandment "You Shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13) Almost 11 years ago, Pope John Paul 11 said in the Doctrine of Double Effect "I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral" The pope emphasizes how abortion is always wrong, whilst at the same time he acknowledges the position a women may be in, whether she may be suffering health wise, or even if the future of the child is in doubt. However grave the situation maybe, it can never justify the killing of another human being. Abortion is always wrong, as the fetus has the same rights as any other and the sanctity of life must be protected. Abortion goes against the word of God; there are no exceptions in the Roman Catholic Church. So as the fetus has full human status from conception, thus the sanctity of life principle is an obligation. Though in some cases like in cases of an Ectopic Pregnancy (ovum becomes attached to the fallopian tube) ...read more.

Conclusion

order to save the mothers life, however once the head has emerged, as though it was born, and one may not harm it because it is forbidden to take one life for another" This indicates that a fetus only becomes fully human once born from the womb- only then is the mothers and fetuses status equal. Therefore many Rabbis decided that the fetus became a full person at the moment of birth, so that the problem of murder is removed from abortion. So understandably Abortion is mostly permitted by the 'Halacha' (Jewish Law) under a variety of circumstances, mostly relating to the physical or emotional health of the mother, whose status is higher then that of the fetus, the danger to the women must be clear cut, and the 'halacha' states that if the mothers life is in danger the abortion can be performed at any stage until the head of the fetus emerges. However even though abortion is widely accepted within Judaism, the fetus should be treated with respect and not merely for handiness. When necessary abortion must take place within the first 40 days when the fetus is referred to as 'mere water'. Within this Jewish community Orthodox Judaism totally disapproves of abortion and is only allowed to save the mothers life unlike Reformed Judaism when abortion may even be allowed if the mother is in physical or mental pain. So in outline Judaism tends to place more value on actual life then potential life, thus the Jewish tradition is also sensitive to the Sanctity of Life principle. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mohsin Ali Raja, 12MD, 22329, 0180 ...read more.

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