Describe Christian teachings on abortion, specifically considering its status as legally permissible.

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Describe Christian teachings on abortion, specifically considering it’s status as legally permissible.

Roman Catholic’s do no condone abortion, accept under the principle of double affect. This is because “God gives life, and God takes life away.” – Job 1:21, and it is an intrinsically valuable gift from God. Abortion as an indirect result of lifesaving surgery is acceptable. Catholics believe in ensoulment: from the moment of conception you have a soul, so it is therefore intrinsically evil to take it away. Catholics believe that abortion goes against the Decalogue “Thou shall not kill”, and goes against natural law (Thomas Aquinas), whatever is good fulfils its natural end purpose. Pope Paul VI stated that “abortion interrupts the natural generative process” and it is a sinful act (Humanae Vitae). In the case of rape, Catholics say that one sin does not justify another, and so abortion on the grounds of rape is immoral.

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The Church of England is against abortion in principle, but believe each case is special. Abortion is justifiable under the 1967 abortion act. They believe that if there is a “serious risk to the physical or mental wellbeing of the mother or existing children”, then an abortion should be accepted, or “if the baby is severely mentally or physically handicapped”. However, the therapeutic & social clause can be exploited. In the case of rape, Church of England followers believe that abortion is the lesser of two evils, as we live in a fallen world due to the original sin.

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