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Explain the beliefs Christians hold about their responsibility for those at the beginning and end of their lives.

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Introduction

Theo Yiangou R.E Coursework AO1: Explain the beliefs Christians hold about their responsibility for those at the beginning and end of their lives. Abortion and Euthanasia are two very difficult subjects to discuss but I will try to do so to the best of my ability. Voluntary abortion is the deliberate expulsion of a baby from the mother's womb. Abortions have been legal in the United Kingdom since MP David Steele introduced the 1967 Abortion Act. The Act has since been amended where it was revised in 1990. It says that an Abortion can be performed up to the end of the 24th week as long as two doctors agree that to continue the pregnancy would involve a risk of injury to the physical or mental of the pregnant woman or any existing children are greater than the risks of having an abortion. However Laws also allow an Abortion at any stage of pregnancy if the doctors agree that continuing pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the mother, that it is necessary to prevent grave injury to the physical or mental health of the woman or that if the child were born it would be seriously mentally or physically handicapped. To discuss the opinions held by Christians, it is imperative that we look at the Sanctity of Life. ...read more.

Middle

This might lead them to feel, reluctantly and sadly, that in some circumstances abortion may be the only alternative. Quakers have not issued a corporate statement on abortion and consequently, is difficult to know where their standing lies. Voluntary Euthanasia takes place when a patient is dying or in intolerable pain, asks someone to help them to die to avoid any further suffering. It is technically illegal throughout the world. In practice, however, euthanasia is permitted in The Netherlands with certain guidelines: The patient must request euthanasia repeatedly both consciously and freely; the patient must be experiencing suffering which cannot be relieved except by death; the physician must consult with another physician who agrees that euthanasia is acceptable in this particular case. The Sanctity of Life is also linked with Euthanasia. We are all individuals and are created in God's image and everything should be done to try and preserve it no matter what the situation is. Christians are obligated to use any medical methods to try to prolong life. This means that the Christian is obligated to use ordinary medical means to promote health. That is, Christians have a moral duty to accept medical treatment if it is available and effective and it is not a burden out of proportion to the anticipated benefit. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is a topic on which Quakers are not united. We would make a distinction between allowing someone to die whose life was being painfully prolonged by medical treatment or artificial life support systems, and so-called mercy killing or euthanasia where someone, perhaps a doctor, administers a drug intended to kill the person. Although it would not be easy deciding to switch off a life support machine, most Quakers would probably feel this might be the right thing to do for a loved one who, for example, could no longer live without artificial support and who had no possibility of recovering consciousness. Voluntary euthanasia, as it is often defined, involves a patient, perhaps in great pain or despair, asking somebody else to bring their life to an end. There are some Quakers who believe that people should be allowed to die with dignity and would wish the option of legal euthanasia to be available. Other Quakers would say that if we care for each other, offer proper support and pain relief, euthanasia should not be needed. Some Quakers work in the hospice movement which seeks to care for patients so that the quality of life is maintained as death approaches. Some Quakers hold 'clearness meetings' to prepare themselves and make decisions about how they wish to be treated, when they know that their death is likely. Different Christians have different views towards Abortion and Euthanasia. They are however, united in their beliefs that life is sacred and ordained by God. ...read more.

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