• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

With reference to the topic of abortion , examine and comment on the controversies, which arise from an issue or issues within medical ethics and how far these conflict with religious/moral principles

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐With reference to the topic you have investigated, examine and comment on the controversies, which arise from an issue or issues within medical ethics and how far these conflict with religious/moral principles The medical topic I will be discussing is abortion. This is defined as the ?deliberate termination of a pregnancy.? Abortion splits the public into two opinions, pro-life and pro-choice. In the religious context the sanctity of life is paramount. But this presents a conflict with the Right to Self Determination. As Judith Jarvis Thomson?s analogies of the ?famous violinist? and the ?burglar? would suggest, the foetus is regarded as part of the woman?s body. Therefore abortion is considered acceptable because women should have absolute autonomy over their bodies. However, the Sanctity of Life would counter argue that all life is sacred, so a pregnant woman would not have the right to an abortion because it entails the killing of an innocent human life. The Catholic Church heavily pursues a pro-life outlook and believes that the Sanctity of Life is a moral absolute. The principle of the sanctity of life is based on the teaching of Genesis 2:7 ?Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.? It operates on the premise that all human life, irrespective of its quality, has intrinsic value because it is a gift from God. Only God has the jurisdiction over life. This sets a limit to human authority and autonomy because moral absolutes are put before sovereignty. In contrast, self-determination is an individual?s freedom to live as one chooses without consulting others. ?If abortion rights are denied, then a constraint is imposed on women?s freedom to act in a way that is of great importance to them, both for its own sake and for the sake of their achievement of equality;? Here Judith Jarvis Thomson is saying the dismissal of abortion rights impacts a woman?s rights to equality. ...read more.


?If there is harm then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.? (Exodus 21) So, the value of the foetus is in question if we assume life begins at a later stage. Being a potential person allows the foetus the right to life from the earliest stage of development, the moment when the egg is fertilised. But even if the foetus has an inherent right to life, the mother?s right to her autonomy supersedes their right. On the other hand, nobody has an unconstrained right to autonomy. A parent?s responsibility for their children lasts 18 years because parental bodies remain the means by which parents care for and protect their children. A potential person?s life is still of intrinsic value. The sanctity of life declares that all life is valuable and a gift of God, so irrespective of the condition of that life or its quality; it must always be valued and respected because God is the only one who has jurisdiction over life. ?Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.? (Genesis 2:7) One of the attributes of being a human being is being able to sense and feel pain. The key thing that Warnock established is that one of the relational factors of when we become protected by the law is when we sense and feel pain. One of the implications of the law is that at 14 days there is a change in the status of the embryo, it ceases to be fetal material and becomes an embryo therefore you cannot conduct research on it. A biological factor was picked because it was decided that the relational factor, whether the foetus is able to feel pain, determines whether you are a human or not. ...read more.


Sanctity of Life would say that all life is sacred, irrespective of its quality. To conclude, there two main ethical issues that surround the medical procedure of abortion. The first one is whether the foetus is a person, and if so at what point in its development does it gain personhood? Another ethical issue is if the mother has the right to terminate her pregnancy, who?s rights are higher? The mother or the fetuses?? If the foetus is a person, then strong sanctity of life opposes abortion because it would involve the termination of a valuable life. However, if the foetus is not a person until after twenty-four weeks or birth, then abortion is not considered the termination of a valuable life providing it is done before twenty-four weeks. There is no consensus on society about how to address this issue; the public remains sharply divided over the topic of abortion. Religious and moral principles influence the opinion of many people, for example Roman Catholics believe that abortion is murder. This is because passages in the Bible suggest that life begins at conception and the foetus is a person throughout the pregnancy. However, although the Church of England disagrees with abortion, they permit it under certain circumstances because they understand that conflicts in life may force the mother to choose the medical procedure. A similar opinion of the Methodist Church believes that God would want Christians to be compassionate with one another. Therefore, allowing abortion to a woman who is in challenging situation would be the compassionate act to make. In my opinion, to determine whether abortion is right or wrong would require an evaluation of the circumstances that surrounded that particular case. If a woman?s life is in danger and an abortion is the only solution, then I believe on these terms abortion is allowed. But if the woman requests an abortion because she has been raped, I believe that the foetus should not be punished for its father?s crimes and its life is too valuable to be terminated. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. In this essay I will be looking at Ethics and the importance of using ...

    client of the same s*x, would you then need to question your own sexuality? How would you feel if the client was of the opposite s*x, if they were married or single? If you continued with the counselling are you showing true integrity and could we build up a good trusting relationship.

  2. The key difference between someone using counselling skills and a qualified and trained counsellor ...

    intend to work from; this should include reviewing escape routes, fire evacuation procedures, layout of the room, furniture, fixtures and fittings and potential hiding spots both within the building (if its open to the public) or in car park areas.

  1. Utilitarianism VS Kantian Deontological Ethics

    hold lying to them worse than many crimes with prison sentences, and thus would probably disown you. Going to the funeral is out of the question because there is a high risk it could lead you to kill yourself. The total of your net happiness outweighs how 'happy' your relatives would be should you show up.

  2. Natural Moral Law - in theory and in practice.

    of these primary precepts can be upheld with secondary precepts which are the practical human rules that govern our daily behaviour and are more flexible. ?It?s secondary precepts ...though they are unalterable in the majority of cases...can nevertheless be changed on some particular and rare occasion?.

  1. Debate Task. Abortion Position Paper

    They trust that every child in the world should be wanted and reducing the amount of unwanted children will lower the percentage of child abuse. They also believe that the world is already overpopulated but since when does the value of a person?s life depend on the amount of people there are in the world?

  2. Describe the religious and ethical issues raised by human surrogacy.

    ?Feminist no to surrogacy? is a politically and religiously independent campaign that takes a strong standpoint against surrogacy on feminist grounds. The campaign supports the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in April 2011, stating that surrogacy is, ?an exploitation of the woman?s body and her reproductive organs.? Furthermore, situation ethics can be used against surrogacy.

  1. There are no moral absolutes, discuss.

    In short if there are no moral absolutes we are left with a Relativist state of mind. This is the belief that moral reasoning is a matter of taste and opinion and is subjective and relative to time and culture.

  2. Utilitarianism is the most helpful ethical approach when discussing the issues around abortion' Discuss.

    In the case where a mother?s life was at risk, Preference Utilitarianism might be a better approach to abortion, as it considers the preferences of the mother, the harm to other family members and so on. Using this theory one could analyse the situation of the mother and thus make

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work