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What is Abortion?

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Introduction

Abortion What is Abortion? Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before birth, by either natural (miscarriage) or artificial means, (an operation where abortion is induced). When the ovum becomes fertilised by the sperm, an individual, genetically unique from anyone else comes into existence. The baby's fingerprints, sex, hair colour and eye colour are all decided when fertilisation occurs. The third week after conception, the baby's heart begins to beat regularly and the nervous system is now in order. By the seventh week of pregnancy, muscle reflexes are present, the skeleton is complete as are fingers toes and ears. Milk teeth are present within the gums and brain waves can be recorded. The eighth week after conception major organs such as the liver, stomach, kidney's, heart and brain, are all functioning. By the sixteenth week of the pregnancy vocal chords and sexual organs have formed, the baby at this point half it's birth length. After eighteen weeks the baby is able to move it's legs and arms. It somersaults and kicks in the womb is able to inhale and exhale amniotic fluid, and grasps with its hands. Twenty weeks into the pregnancy hair is appearing: eyebrows, eyelashes, etc. The baby can respond to stimuli that may occur from outside of the womb and weighs approximately 500 grams. All that's left for the baby to do now is grow to the point where it can survive independently (e.g. breath without a respirator). There are many methods of abortion each one offering an element of risk to the mother. One of these methods is called Vacuum Aspiration, more commonly known as suction abortion. Whilst the woman is under anaesthetic, the cervix is opened by dilators and a tube is inserted. ...read more.

Middle

The risks stated above become increased in those who smoke, have weight problems (obesity) or history within the family of disorders such as hypertension or diabetes. Most women who take this drug are not actually pregnant so it is hard to tell its effectiveness. There have been some cases of women who have found themselves to be pregnant even after intake of the pill. Abortion used to be illegal under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, and in some places for example Ireland, it still is. A large proportion of the western countries have changed their laws which now means that abortions can be obtained without much difficulty. In 1989 there was a Supreme Court review of the law, as a result, a few states passed laws which made it harder for women to be able to get abortions. In 1967 the MP David steel introduced The Abortion Act of 1967, in 1990 the act was altered for improvement and now applies to the whole of the UK, bar Northern Ireland. Abortion is legal if two Doctors agree that continuation of the pregnancy would cause complications to the woman's health or risk to her previous children. In this case termination up to 24 weeks is permitted. Abortion is also legal if two doctors agree that continuation of the pregnancy would seriously interfere with the woman's physical and/or mental health, if there was a risk of the expected child being severely handicapped or if the woman's life was at risk if the pregnancy went on. There are some circumstances under which termination is permitted at any stage during the pregnancy these are: If doctors believe that letting the pregnancy continue, poses a threat to the life of the woman, if doctor's think/agree that (serious) ...read more.

Conclusion

The churches issue statements which can also help Christians in their decisions concerning abortion. These statements act as guidelines, to be followed by all Christians within their particular faith, (Anglican, Roman Catholic, etc). The Church of England said in a 1984 report that; 'the foetus is to be specially respected and protected, however it also said that ' the life of the foetus is not absolutely sacrosanct if it endangers the life of the mother'. This statement conveys one of the circumstances under which the Church of England permits abortion (mothers life at risk). This is also where the Roman Catholic church and The Church of England differ because the Pope states clearly, ' By the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors, and in communion with the bishops of the catholic church I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being, is always gravely immoral'. And this is what abortion is perceived to be, the voluntary killing of an innocent human being. In 1987 The Church of Scotland's Board of social responsibilities, concluded that the premature expulsion of the foetus from the womb was morally unacceptable, and is always unjustified. The board went on to say that only in the 'great majority' of cases was abortion a representation of the 'unwarranted destruction' of the life of a human being. The Protestant church generally believes that abortion should be avoided if possible, however they also believe that situations where abortion is necessary can occur. Because these situations may not be clear there is a 'minority Protestant group' which campaign, as they believe that the decision of abortion should be down to the woman and that it is her right, to choose. Some Evangelical Christians strongly disagree with the act, due to the fact that their views are based around the bible teachings. ...read more.

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