Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Elvira Drake
Last updated: November 23, 2019
The term abortion suggests the death and removal of an unborn child within the mothers womb. It can however mean the termination of a pregnancy as the result of an operation. The statement “Human Life Is Sacred” is in an array of opinions, (inclusive of myself), very true. It is known that the word sacred must be in one way or another connected to God himself. I am certain that it is.
One of the major influences on Christian Belief in the Bible is the quote from Genesis itself: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; Male and Female he created them”From this, we can see that God has indeed invented and created Man in his own image, and therefore something as special as this, to me, is considered to be sacred. Similarly, it is dictated in the Bible that the fifth commandment states “Thou shalt not kill” and therefore the termination of a new life is obviously not taking into account that Human life is sacred. I am confident that it is going against the will of God and therefore should not be allowed. But should these people be forgiven?It is a disturbing fact that the majority of abortions are down to the fact that mothers cannot accept the responsibility of a child. There are however more traumatic and serious cases.
For example, pregnancy as a result of rape should not impose an obligation to carry the foetus to term, fatally handicapped foetuses should be aborted as it is the only humane answer. But how can you define fatally handicapped? Is it a person who is mentally handicapped or a person who is physically handicapped? Either instance, it is not possible to decide and categorize ones capability.Furthermore, upon analysis of Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the Earth, your eyes saw my informed body” The emphasis on being wonderfully made suggests that it is a sacred conception at a significant moment. It is commonly felt, that life does indeed begin at conception and therefore the making by God suggests that life is sacred.The bible reference “The Baby in my womb leapt for joy” suggests that at that point, the baby is alive! It can feel, hear and therefore the right to life begins at this point.
Dr John Gallagher feels that where do we draw these lines? If life beings at conception then surely it is the baby’s right to choose. However these issues can be discussed further. The lady’s relationship with the baby inside her is changed within a few days, the baby changes the woman into a mother, a bond is made between the two.Therefore in reality, Abortion is really only acceptable in the circumstances of cancer of the womb; in the hope of saving the Mothers life.
Abortion is based upon the principle of the double effect, in one instance; you are trying to save the mothers life, whereas the secondary effect is killing the Baby. A book which was created for the Christians in the first century, quotes “You shall not abort the fruit of the womb, you shall not kill that which as been generated” Based upon the bible and Didache, none of the Christian Churches believe that abortion should be encouraged.Although disagreement exists about whether it can be justified, abortion is still not promoted through any religion. Reverent Lamont representing he Church of England on the BBC Programme “Belief File” believes that Abortion is the “best way out of a bad situation”, which in my opinion is an inappropriate view. Perhaps in the circumstance that the mother cannot accept the responsibility of a child, should only the child be aborted, but not in the context of death but instead giving birth to the child and offering the baby for adoption.This in my opinion is the only acceptable solution as a life is not being withdrawn from the mother, but instead a new life has been given which could bring happiness and delight to those who are less fortunate and cannot conceive children The Church of England denomination also states that it is only justifiable in the most exceptional circumstances, but how can you define exceptional circumstances? In contrast to their above statement, the Church of England also feels that a foetus is God-given life, and it is to be nurtured, supported and protected.The mother is to be shown compassion and her feelings and wishes are to be recognised. The following statement was issued by the Church of England: “The foetus has the right to live and develop as a member of the human family; Abortion, the termination of a life by an act of man, is a great moral evil.
…. It (does not exclude) exception, but the right of innocence to life (means) few exceptions” The document concluded with the statement “Abortions therefore should be carried out early in pregnancy” I feel the number of Abortions should be cut and more support issued to pregnant mothers.
Other views from “Christians for free choice” believe that the woman should be fully informed about all plausible options, and then allow God to guide them. All denominations are categorized under two headings. Pro-Life: A belief that Abortion is murder, as life begins at the moment of conception. Pro-Choice however, is a belief that the women who are pregnant should make their own decisions, after counseling about whether or not to continue her pregnancy based on full information about all her options. In the case of Dr.
John Gallagher, he feels that at which point we draw these lines, as pointed out earlier.It should be the woman’s right to choose whether their loved life be stolen from them so early, or in some cases, so very late. Although, there are other Christians who would accept abortion for “Social Reasons”, whom focus primarily on the needs of the mother and her family. The most recognised circumstance is the claimed deprivation of families in certain economical levels. But how poor is poor? What could we use to define it? Is it a family that suffers extreme financial difficulty with aspirations of providing a loving family in a home? Or, is it a family who has no home at all?Again this refers to the point at where we actually draw these lines. How can it possibly be a justly action to terminate the life of an unborn child as you claim to be “poor”? Today, this shouldn’t be a problem, with the aid of child benefits and government income for those who do struggle, the termination of a life should not be considered at all. Furthermore, Dr.
Alan Rogers feels that life does begin at conception, as scientific evidence has proven so, however past cases suggest to him that the rights of the mother supercede that of the unborn child. Within the United Kingdom, 200,000 are carried out each year.But the “rights” issue has only been categorized as theory, so can it be justified? In summary, many feel abortions are the best way out of a bad situation and so according to Dr Alan Rogers, anybody can have one. Euthanasia: The word ‘euthanasia’ comes from the Greek words ‘eu’ and ‘thanatos’, which together mean ‘a good death’ When we hear the phrase voluntary euthanasia people generally think of one of two things: the active termination of life at the patient’s request as it occurs in the Netherlands for example (or similar proposals in other countries); or the extermination program of murder.Many people have beliefs about whether euthanasia is right or wrong, often without being able to define it clearly. Some people take an extreme view, while many fall somewhere between the two camps. Dictionary definitions avail us little, as there will always be large groups of people that claim it means something else. The apparent derivation a ‘gentle and easy death’ hardly describes what we mean.
Even extending the definition to include ‘bringing about of this, especially in the case of incurable and painful disease’ (Oxford English Dictionary) hardly covers it.Different Churches have varying views on the issue of Voluntary Euthanasia, these are as follows: The Roman Catholic denomination believes that Euthanasia is wrong. Life is sacred and only God can make decisions over death. Different Popes have stated that Euthanasia contributed to a “Profound change in the way of life and relationships between people are considered” Roman Catholics do accept that it is right to alleviate the suffering of those terminally ill, often aware that the side effects of these powerful drugs may possibly speed up the death of the patient.This however, is considered natural as it is a ‘side effect’. The Church of England restates that the human rights act should be valued. Those who are ill become susceptible and require special care.
Recently, the “exit” group published statistics that illustrated 23% of the Roman Catholics agree that doctors should be allowed to help an incurably ill patient to die if they so wish. It was also recognised that a number of churches were unsure of their position which led to over half supporting Voluntary Euthanasia in cases where the patient it terminally ill.As mentioned previously, Euthanasia is very debatable issue; it has many ‘for’ arguments, and many ‘against’ In the case of “for” Euthanasia if a person as the right to eat or drink whatever they please, smoke, pierce his or her body, then ultimately it should be their decision whether or not to end their life due to the unbearable suffering of a terminal illness. Also, Christians believe that total healing will be in the presence of God in heaven, and many of those who are critically ill do pray for healing, so in theory you are speeding up the process in order to meet the presence of God in heaven.Furthermore, it is also seen that patients occasionally wish to die with dignity and therefore they have the right to end their life. In some circumstances, patients have no control over their bodily functions and so it is only humane to ease the suffering of this and allow the patient to pass on. Finally, the patient may wish to die at home on her bed with members of the family at his/her side, again it is ultimately their decision if they wish to do so.For this to take place, the living will is signed which states: If I should have an incurable of irreversible condition that shall cause my death in a relatively short time, and if I am unable to make decisions regarding my medical care, I will direct my attending physician to withhold or withdraw treatment that only prolongs the dying process, and is not necessary to my comfort or to alleviate pain” This statement will provide the required authorization needed for the patient to terminate their life if they wish to do so.
However, in contrast to this, are the “against” arguments which I am in support of. The Living Will states an “incurable or irreversible condition”, if the living will has been signed on behalf of someone who does not wish to have their life terminated, then obviously the result is appalling. A prime example of this was a situation we managed to see on a short video. In this, a rather elderly grandmother had unfortunately suffered two Strokes. Her living will had been signed by a member of the family which stated the above conditions.Sadly, the grandmother passed on. However, the daughter followed her death up by consulting the Doctor. His response was that she could not have been given medical treatment or surgery plainly because her ‘living will’ disallowed it to continue.
Her life was literally “thrown away! ” God gives life, so he has the overall decision of when to withdraw it. Life is considered as a precious gift and so ending that life should not be our decision. Furthermore, it is always recognised that there are varying types of treatment to help somebody who is fatally ill.
The Catholic Church insists on ordinary means of treatment, but what are ordinary means? Ordinary means of treatments are medicines such as Antibiotics and other small drugs. Extra-ordinary means of treatment however are things such as Life-Support Machine and automated feeding machines. The Catholic Church as mentioned only accepts ordinary means. However, these drugs do entail the principle of the “Double Effect” which in the case of Morphine, temporarily alleviates pain, on the other hand significantly shortens the life of the patient.These circumstances are very difficult to deal with, and can be linked with everyday and recognised examples. Diane Pretty has mounted the first ever legal challenge under the Human Rights Act to the current law on assisted suicide.
On 29 November the Lords refused terminally ill Diane’s plea to be able to choose how and when she dies. On the 19th of March the European Court of Human Rights will hear Diane Pretty’s Appeal. 43 year old Diane is terminally ill with motor neurone disease and wants the legal right to choose how and when she dies.
% of the British public supports her. Dianne feels she should have the right to choose when her life ends, the horrific disease of Motor Neurone includes excruciating pain, and so if she feels a right to die, then many feel she has that choice, but is it justified? This case can also be linked with the “Slippery Slope” argument, which now suggests that once we have made voluntary euthanasia legal, society will soon allow involuntary euthanasia. This is based on the idea that if we change the law to allow a person to help somebody to die, we will not be able to control it.On the other hand, one of the most recognised cases is the case of Tony Bland. During the year of 1989, Tony Bland was involved in a horrific car accident in the area of Hillsborough. Tony was regarded as a “vegetable” which is a disturbing term to adhere, but purely means a patient who is unable to move and communicate, however he could breathe! In 1993, the feeding machine was withdrawn and so set a precedent for this.
There were 2 points of view to this case. One suggested Tony Bland starved to death, whereas the other point feels Bland died with Dignity.An alternative to Euthanasia are the Hospice Movements. The Hospice Movements founded by Dame Cicily Saunders. The Hospices provide day centres and activities. They portray a good atmosphere and keep people feeling good about life. Their views are that “Pain is relievable today, even in terminal illnesses” We can see that these hospice facilities provide a friendly atmosphere and should give people the right to live their life to the full! Question 2) “God gives life and only God can take it away” Do you agree or disagree?Give reasons for your answer, showing you have considered more than one point of view. I do agree with this statement.
I firmly believe God had indeed created man through his own image and likeness and therefore in theological terms he can destroy it. I share the view that the Bible is an authoritative guide for Christians today and therefore it is a path that will lead them to God. In the circumstances of Abortion, if life begins at conception as scientific evidence proves, then surely it is the only humane answer to allow the baby to be born as they have their own rights.The right to life includes a human right for an unborn child If the right to life doesn’t apply for anybody, it is very difficult to see how any other rights can apply” This statement is very true, if a child cannot have the right to live and fulfil a life, then how is it possible that any other rights can exist? However, as previously mentioned, Abortion is very much a two sided argument; I feel that Abortion is only acceptable when the Mother’s life is endangered as Jesus would show compassion also, as stated in Mark Chapter 10 of the Bible where Jesus talks about the children, the poor and the Blind.
This circumstance is acceptable, as if god feels he has to take the life of a mother and child then he has the power to do so; however it would be better to try and spare one life, rather than lose both. Also, a very debateable issue, is the topic of disabilities, an abortion would be seen as the “best way out of a bad situation” in some parents views. We have the right for self determination therefore the mother should be rewarded some act of dignity for her position. Euthanasia on the other hand is very controversial issue.The cases against Euthanasia are as follows; many people feel where to draw lines and define the difference between ordinary means of treatment and extraordinary means. As briefly mentioned, ordinary means include painkillers, and medicine, whereas extraordinary means include life support machines and other ‘life-maintaining’ apparatus. A prime example for not accepting Euthanasia is the classic case of Phillip Evans. Evans was also critically injured in a car accident.
He was later discovered with a coma which he remained in for 16 weeks. Miraculously, he awoke, but unfortunate to find he was speechless, paralysed but still alive!Evans decided to make the most of his life; his mind suddenly began to work quickly. He later wrote a book titled “Next time you will wake up dead” and was thankful to have such ability. After awaking from the coma originally, doctors told Evans he would be unable to speak, walk and write. Years later he responded with the statement “If you want to know how well you can get. Never ask a doctor” Today, Evans is writing books, walking and speaking very well! This case proves that if God wanted to take his life, he would have, but he gave Evans the chance to fulfil his life, and he is doing just that.
On the other hand, people feel Euthanasia is a good way to, in theory to “alleviate the discomfort and pain for those who are terminally ill” I personally feel this to be wrong and immoral. If Euthanasia is a solution to ease the pain of those who are terminally ill, then in reality, it would have been legalised in the United Kingdom. Although many believe it is the right of the individual, I personally disagree. The occurrence of the car accident involving Tony Bland who was later seen in a vegetative state, and remained on a life support machine for 4 years set a new precedent to Euthanasia.
His feeding was withdrawn from him in early 1993, and many saw it as a way to stop the pain and discomfort both for him and his family. I feel this to be extremely wrong, Euthanasia is a way to reduce the costs of medicine and facilities in my opinion, and I see it as a barbaric way to cover the fact that people are being murdered. The only acceptable alternative to Euthanasia is the life houses mentioned previously that see the patients enjoying life. In conclusion, I do feel God gives life and takes it away, and if he feels that people should be taken from life due to pain and other means, then he has the power to do so.