Simple explanation of Abortion
Abortion is the removal of the foetus from the womb of a pregnant mother to end pregnancy. In medical terms, a miscarriage is a form of abortion, but a miscarriage happens naturally and without the mother knowing. Abortion is the deliberate removal of a foetus. In the UK, the mother has the right to an abortion. Two different doctors must confirm that at least one of the following four conditions are met:
- There is a risk to the woman's physical/mental health
- There is a substantial risk to the physical/mental health of the woman's existing children
- The woman might die unless the pregnancy is ended
- There is a substantial risk of the baby being born severely physically/mentally disabled and living with a very poor Quality of Life.
Christians believe there is something special or holy about human life. Every human, Christians believe, is special to God.
- God has given the gift of life, and humans cannot be allowed to take this away, we cannot prevent the foetus from living, only God has the right to take life away.
- Human life begins at the moment of conception, when the sperm meets the egg and becomes fertilised. At the point of contraception, human life receives a soul-ensoulment.
- The bible says 'do not kill' and abortion is technically killing. The ending of a life is a violation of this teaching and is therefore a sin.
- DNA is fixed at birth - The baby's hair colour, eye colour, certain gifts and talents are all established.
- Catholics in particular stress that "God created man in his own image", so we should consider it sacred.
- God said "Be fruitful and multiply the earth", we are made to populate the earth and shouldn't go against this by preventing life.
- God said "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" showing that God is omniscient, has a plan for every person even from the point of conception, so life is sacred from that point onwards. We are disrupting God's plan humans cannot be allowed to take this away or prevent the foetus from living.
- HOWEVER, denominations such as the Methodist church may consider abortion to be "the lesser of two evils" when the mother's life is at risk or the foetus is severely handicapped.
- Jesus also taught 'Let he who is within sin cast the first stone', meaning that we shouldn't be judgemental about other people, and the difficult decisions they have to make.
Christian Views Disagreements
Some people disagree with the Christian belief that human life begins at conception, they argue that:
- It begins when the heart beats for itself.
- It begins when the baby is 'viable'; able to survive independently outside the womb.
- It begins when a baby can feel and respond to pain or other stimuli.
- It begins when the baby is fully formed in the womb.
- The earth is already full of babies.
- Buddhists are also against abortion as they view it as a negative act.
- Ahimsa (non-violence) therefore applies to them, as killing a foetus is technically a form of violence.
- 'Your body is a temple of the holy spirit... It is not your own' This shows how we cannot choose make the decision on our body and we should not abort
- Babies have the same potential to move towards enlightenment as every other living being, and are actually close to it than animals, and that should not be taken away.
- Everyone has the right to live, not right to disallow that chance to the baby.
- Ending a life may also move you away from enlightenment as you are committing negative acts.
- HOWEVER, A baby which is born unwanted with lack of metta (loving-kindness) and there will be no karuna (compassion for all living things). As a result, the baby may suffer (dukha) from being unloved. Therefore, some Buddhists would promote abortion in this case.
- The Dalai Lama has also said that we should use our compassion (karuna)and consider each set of circumstances separately.