How Are Religious and Ethical Principles Used in the Abortion Debate?

3338 WordsSep 17, 201214 Pages
How are religious and ethical principles used in the abortion debate? Abortion has been legal in the United Kingdom since the Abortion Act of 1967, which was further amended in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990, lowering the length of pregnancy in which it is legal to have an abortion from 28 weeks to 24 weeks, owing to advances in medicine and a decrease in the age of viability of a foetus. There are four criteria which allow women to have an abortion, as long as they have the consent of two doctors, involving risk to the physical or mental health of the mother or the foetus or mental health of any existing children. In 2004, 95% of abortions in the UK were certified under the statuary ground of risk of injury to the…show more content…
Overall, Thompson’s analogies help to illustrate the pro-choice stance in the abortion debate which is key to religious and ethical principles. On the other hand, the idea that the foetus has the right to life and the mother cannot overrule this is key to Roman Catholic beliefs and pro-life supporters who argue the foetus is an innocent human being and the mother should not have the right to terminate a pregnancy. Not all Christians have the same moral stance in the abortion debate. Firstly, Roman Catholics believe that life begins at conception and therefore, as the Bible says ‘You shall not murder’, abortion is always wrong as it is the murder of an innocent life. Catholics believe in the sanctity of life and that life is sacred and belongs only to God. In the Bible it says ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart’ and Catholics take this to mean that life is uniquely and divinely ordained even before conception – ‘for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb’ and that each new life is not a potential human being but a human being with potential. The Second Vatican Council ruled that ‘life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception’ and even in extreme situations, such as rape, abortion is never an option. For example, a Roman Catholic Archbishop said the abortion of twins carried by a 9-year-old rape victim would mean excommunication for

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