The Roman Catholic Church teaches that human life is sacred. Explain how this teaching influences its attitude to abortion and euthanasia, showing that you understand other points of view.

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. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that human life is sacred. Explain how this teaching influences its attitude to abortion and euthanasia, showing that you understand other points of view.

First I will start with definitions of three key words in the question. These three words are abortion, sacred and euthanasia. The type of abortion I will talk about in this coursework is procured abortion. Abortion is the termination of the life of a foetus; procured abortion is the termination of the foetus with outside help. The word sacred means, consecrated, blessed by god, given by god, therefore most holy (hallowed). In terms of human life, it means, human life is precious because it is a gift from god. Euthanasia means 'easy death' without severe suffering, today the word is used to mean 'mercy killing' because it puts an end to extreme suffering, it prevents abnormal babies growing up, it ends the life of the mentally ill and it can prevent the incurable from having a miserable life. There are two types of euthanasia that I should be aware of. There is voluntary euthanasia and non - voluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is where a person with a painful terminal disease who, unable to do anything for themselves, asks someone else to kill them painlessly, for example, the doctor gives them a lethal dose of painkillers. Non - Voluntary is where a person is not kept alive because they are regarded as having a worse life than death, but cannot make any decisions for themselves.

The meaning of abortion and euthanasia are quiet clear from their definitions. As far as different views are concerned mostly all groups of Christianity are against the concept of abortion, there are humanitarian groups, which are in favour of it, they have their own views that are totally different then the religious views. Although the catholic church does teach abortion and euthanasia wrong, full stop, not all people in the catholic church believe this and may feel there are special exceptions, for example if someone has been raped and got pregnant, it may be excepted by some people in the church to have an abortion. There are varied views of people as a society for both abortion and euthanasia.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches strictly that both abortion and euthanasia are wrong. What the church may say to someone may be different to what the church teaches. Some of the priests may allow abortion or euthanasia in certain cases. Almost all the priests would offer guidance and help the person, most would sympathise and say how bad what they're going through is, but the church strictly teaches abortion and euthanasia to be wrong. Some of the reasons the catholic church give for abortion being wrong are, since the first century, when the church first began, the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This early teaching has not changed and probably wont, the church sees this teaching as a tradition, the church believes that life begins at conception, so having an abortion is in theory killing a human or in other words, murder. The catholic trust society gives their reason for opposing abortion as:

'We have been created by the almighty God in his own image and likeness. No pregnancy is unplanned because no baby can be conceived unless almighty God intends that conception and has willed that particular unique and completely individual new person into existence. What has actually happened in our society is that clever arguments has convinced those with no anchor of belief in God to cling to, that merciless slaughter of unborn babies is morally unjustifiable, and even essential for the happiness of the individual and good of the society.'

The Catholic trust says that the conception of baby is due to will of God and a human being has no right to kill that baby, it is ethically unacceptable and morally wrong. This statement is, I think, a very good argument against abortion, hearing this, I think a lot of people who have been considering an abortion won't have one, because the words are so strong, it may even help a person regain their faith.

Before 1967 abortion was illegal in Britain. So why in 1967 did abortion become legal? Abortion became legal because parliament wanted to put a stop a stop to the unfortunate situation that had arose over the years leading up to 1967. About 60 women each year died as a result of 'back-street' abortions. Other women were left seriously injured and thousands were made infertile. The abortions were carried out by unqualified people and performed in unclean conditions. The Abortion Act was passed by parliament providing that:

* Two registered doctors aggress that an abortion can legally be carried out.

* It is carried out before 'the time of viability', i.e. the time when the body can exist on its own outside its mothers womb. This was originally set at 28 weeks of pregnancy but was reduced to 24 weeks in 1990.

* Continuing the pregnancy would involve a greater risk to the mother, or any existing child in the family.

* A termination is necessary to prevent permanent physical or emotional damage to the mother.

* There is a real risk that the baby will be born physically disabled or with learning difficulties.

Those who support abortion say that the 1967 Act confronted the realities of the situation. Whereas the opponents of abortion argue that the Abortion Act has virtually created 'abortion on demand'; abortion without any real restrictions. The Roman Catholic Church believes that all abortions are a form of murder on the basis that human life is sacred, God gave life and only God can take life away. The church teaches

'...Never under any pretext, may abortion be resorted to, either by a family or by a political authority, as a legitimate means of regulating births.' 'Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception. Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes'

Gaudium et Spes, Second Vatican Council

These statements show us that the church has very strong opinions towards abortion and believes that it is serious moral sin. The church believes that at the moment of conception there is a new human being and therefore abortion is murder.

The teaching of abortion of the Catholic Church is shown in 'The Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974)'. This document points out that respect for human life is not just a Christian duty but something implanted into our hearts and minds. In the twentieth century people have been especially aware of human rights (the rights that all human beings).
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'The first right of the human being is his life'

This means no matter what, if you're a human being you have the right to live.

This is the declaration's teaching about when human life begins:

'From the time that life is begun, which is neither that of the father nor the mother. It is rather the life of a new human being with its own growth. It would never be made a human if it were not human already.'

This piece of evidence shows us how/why the church believes life believes at ...

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