Discuss the view that only a religious ethic can provide an acceptable basis for medical ethics.

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3. Discuss the view that only a religious ethic can provide an acceptable basis for medical ethics.

Medical ethics concerns many areas of ethical debate. Including such controversial

issues such as euthanasia, abortion and human cloning, medical ethics sparks lively debates.

The issue of abortion is a very relevant and controversial issue. There are opposition and supporters from both a religious ethical background and a non-religious ethical background.

Those who come from a Christian ethical background tend to have a similar argument, that of the sanctity of life.

Roman Catholics oppose abortion using the Christian ethical theory of Natural Law. Abortion would be going against natural law as it interferes with God’s will. Abortion is right in no circumstances, in other words it is intrinsically evil, as it involves the murder of an innocent life.

 Protestants do, in principle, oppose abortion on the ground that murder is wrong, as stated in the bible;

“Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus) and as abortion is in effect murder, abortion must therefore also be wrong. However, some more liberal protestants allow abortion in certain circumstances, such as before the nervous system has developed (before the foetus can “feel”) if the mother’s life or health is threatened or if the pregnancy is from an exceptional situation, such as the result of rape.

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There seems to be no reason however, as to why these two standpoints could not be from a non-religious ethic. The appreciation of life is not something that is exclusive to religion, and therefore the view that abortion is murder could stand with anyone who believes that the foetus is a person, and this need not be a religious standpoint. Equally the Liberal protestant view could again apply to anyone who believes that murder is wrong, yet as circumstances differ, the things to be considered also differ. This is a relativist situationist standpoint but again does not have to be ...

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