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In this assignment the topic discussed is whether the sanctity of life view is a moral absolute when applying it to the subject of abortion?

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Abortion is deliberate termination of a pregnancy at some point between conception and birth. There are three stages of development, defined as, Pre-embryo (conception-14 days), Embryo (14 days to 8 weeks) and Foetus (8 weeks onwards). Abortion raises much debate among many people; some are pro choice whilst others remain pro life. In this assignment the topic discussed is whether the sanctity of life view is a moral absolute when applying it to the subject of abortion? One of the key questions that are raised when thinking about abortion is when does life begin? The stoic view determined that life begins at birth, Judaism in the main supported this understanding but, because of a broadened knowledge of foetal development, this understanding has lately become unpopular. However others believe that it is the moment when the mother feels the first movements of her baby. This has been argued against because the genetic material needed to be human is already present in the foetus. A more common argument is that life begins at conception because the development of the foetus is continuous, on the other hand the following argument is used: One could say the same thing about the development from acorn to oak but is an acorn an oak? They are characteristically different as is a fertilised egg and a fully developed human being. Nevertheless it could be argued that life begins when the foetus becomes 'viable' when the baby is capable of surviving outside the mothers' womb alone. ...read more.


This evidence is a large basis for the Roman Catholic argument against abortion. St Augustine argued that God implanted the soul of a person at 46 days whereas Aquinas argued girls at 90 days and boys at 40 days, however the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the soul is implanted at the moment of conception. "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 life" Catechism of the Catholic Church. The RC church is adamant that it is intrinsically evil and absolutely condemns it with no exceptions. Abortion rebels against natural law and the word of God. The foetus deserves the same status as a born human being. There is clearly a biblical basis for the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Churches teachings. In Exodus 20:13 we can learn the command set out by God, 'Thou shall not kill'. This simply means that no one should kill any human being, but then again not all people would consider a growing baby in a mother's womb to be a human being. In Mark 12:31, we are met with the words, 'Love your neighbour and yourself' This extract talks about the fact that everyone should love each other that no hostilities are taken to each other. This includes killing a life inside a womb. ...read more.


However people have countered this by asking why not then make eggs and sperm protected in the same way? Taking it to a logical absurdity, your next meal might ultimately be potential human life! This becomes even further involved if one is not a dualist, but believes that a person is just a very complex system of chemicals and electricity. Following this logic would mean that the same amount of respect must be given whether an adult or a foetus, or even an animal is involved. Carrying it further fire and weather also fit the definition of complex life-like systems, but maybe should not be accorded rights? Someone speaking from a utilitarian point of view would consider the greatest pleasure for the majority of people. If the pregnancy would bring greater pleasure than pain then it would be permitted to have an abortion. Other elements should also be considered such as the hedonic calculus. Many "pro choice" supporters complain that it is irrational and brutal to expect a woman to die so that her unborn child may live. Abortion should be permitted on demand, especially in cases such as rape or incest. In contrast to this many "pro life" supporters argue that abortion can never be rationalised or permitted, as it is fundamentally immoral to kill an unborn child who is an innocent human being no matter what the circumstances or the law. Need to discuss utilitarianism and situation ethics more however the computer hasn't held all information on the disk I will make sure this gets to you by tomorrow! sorry Abortion 1 Holly Devlin ...read more.

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