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Explain the views of the religion you have studied on the issue of abortion.

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Introduction

Q1 Explain the views of the religion you have studied on the issue of abortion. Many people have tried to break down and work out the answer to abortion and the controversy linked to it. No other ethical theory has caused such bitter disagreement among so many people. Each person, from each religion has his or her own view, and each religion, in itself is further divided. Christianity is one such religion, being divided into numerous denominations. Catholicism views life to be much too sacred to destroy, basing their opinions on Jeremiah 1; 5, "before you were formed in the body of your mother, I (God) had knowledge of you." Each denomination of the Christian religion has its own view of abortion. The Church of England combines strong opposition to abortion with a recognition that there can be-strictly limited-conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative. Orthodox Christians believe in the unique creation of man in the image and likeness of God and that physical life is His sovereign gift. The deliberate killing of the unborn, the sick, disabled or elderly is wrong and an abomination before Him. Quakers feel that 'God is in everyone' and therefore that would mean that God is in a foetus, depending on when a foetus becomes a person. Quakers like to think things through carefully, but realise that in some situations, abortion may be the only alternative. There are also other Quakers who are very keen to enable women to play a full role in society, leading them to feel, sometimes that abortion may be acceptable. The main question they consider is whether it is right or wrong to value the life of the unborn child over the life of the mother. Personal conscience in this issue is of the greatest importance for Quakers. Catholics take a conservative view on this potently divisive issue, holding that there is no dividing line in the process from conception to birth. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand, people will always remember, and simply killing off a human is not as easy for some, so it could harm the girl, mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Bentham's quantative pleasure exemplifies that he sees all pleasure as being equal. This also demonstrates that he is concerned with quantities and majorities. In the case where a man buys ten beers for his nine friends, Bentham would give all ten men one beer each. Later Utilitarians (i.e. J S Mill) would give all ten beers to one man, focusing pleasure and happiness on quality. In terms of quantative pleasure, the decision to have the baby inside the womb already will depend on how many people would become happy by the decision. Bentham developed the 'hedonic calculus' as a means of scientifically defining and measuring pleasure. His seven-point criteria included 'intensity; duration; certainty; extent; remoteness; richness and purity.' Benthamite decision-making required a person to go through each of these aspects with every decision they come across. Using the hedonic calculus when deciding whether to terminate or not, would require each of the seven-points to be thought through. Bentham's principle of Utility judges the rightness and wrongness of actions on the outcome of them, and the person's assessment of the consequences. The intention, however commendable it may be is not important if the action is condemned. Therefore, even if one wanted to do the right thing, according to universally held principles, like 'do not murder', causing the individual or the majority of the society pain and distress, would deem the action wrong. This then, requires each person to lay aside his or her actions or religious beliefs and start afresh using 'act utilitarianism' as a guide. Utilitarianism would advise the pregnant person to consider every person which may be affected by the birth of the baby, including family members, friends, society as a whole, as well as themselves, the 'other half' and, of course the baby itself. ...read more.

Conclusion

Noonan uses real examples of pointing out that people are not morally justified, by reference to one's own property to expel a weak and helpless fellow human, especially since they had been invited and if it will bring certain death. Laura Purdy and Michael Tooley, in their article 'Is Abortion Murder?' deal with the morality of abortion. They feel society could be benefited by the legalisation of abortion. Their first line of reasoning describes that, some people, who feel moral considerations should outweigh human happiness, and abortion to be prohibited, would be responsible for "untold human misery" giving many examples. They outline their view saying "an organism can have a right to life only if it now possesses, or possessed at some time in the past, the capacity to have a desire for continued existence." They feel that the foetus is not a person, and go on to portray a person as being self-conscious and recognizes itself as a person. They also feel that a person "cannot have a right to something unless he is at some time capable of having the corresponding desire." This is similar to Singer's 'preference utilitarianism', where direct reasons are given about why a person's life should be respected, in light of their preference to live or die. They also feel that a human foetus has no right to life, as it is not capable "of envisaging a future for itself, and of having desires about its own future states." Purdy and Tooley feel a foetus is not a person, only a potential person and so there should be no moral opposition to abortion. Differences in opinions towards abortion are clearly transmitted from all perspectives. People feel differently towards reasons why abortion should be performed, or legalised, as well as who should decide. They disagree about the parent's rights, the mother's rights, the doctor's rights and the foetus' rights. Opinions diverge concerning the foetus itself and when its life actually begins. Religion, experience and moral obligations play parts in this topic, but in conclusion I feel it is up to the individual person to decide. 1) Ruth Ranjan ...read more.

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