The word Abortion means the termination of a pregnancy before the foetus is able to survive outside the mother, or is considered legally viable.
An abortion takes place after a baby has been conceived through sexual intercourse. Certain precautions can be taken before a baby is conceived; therefore an abortion would not be used. These precautions could include condoms, the coil, the morning after pill, or the contraceptive pill.
There are two main types of abortion; spontaneous and therapeutic.
Spontaneous abortions are natural and cannot be helped. They are usually called miss-carriages. Miss-carriages often take place due to maternal factors such as reproductive disorders, or if the mother has not been treating her self correctly and has been smoking, drinking alcohol, etc, when advised not to. It may even be a possibility that the mother has experienced an accident such as being involved in a car crash or a fight. This type of abortion can happen at any period of the pregnancy.
The other type of abortion is the abortion that is debated about, and that I will be discussing in this essay. Therapeutic abortion is the termination of pregnancy by choice. In many countries, the legalization of abortion has been fairly recent. Fifty-four countries allow abortion, which is about sixty-one percent of the world’s population. In some countries, it is restricted to cases where the continued pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother, and in others (such as the Republic of Ireland and Iran), it is still illegal. Here in Britain, abortion has been legal for thirty-five years but can only legally take place in the period of time before 24 weeks of pregnancy. An abortion must be certified by two doctors, however, in this country, you do not have to have a valid reason for wanting an abortion. It is a woman’s right, whatever age they are, to go and have an abortion for whatever reason.
ii) Explain what Christian teachings might be used in a discussion about abortion.
Christians could use teachings from the bible in an argument about abortion. Most Christians believe that it is wrong for people to have an abortion, whilst some believe that it is ok to have an abortion in certain circumstances. The bible teaches that life is a sacred and precious gift from God, ‘For it is you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb’, psalms 139:13, Which basically says that God has given us a heart that beats and causes us to live and from our mother’s wombs, we were created and born. The bible also states in the Ten Commandments that “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13) and if a Christian believed that having an abortion is killing, therefore that person would be breaking the Ten Commandments. The following teachings could be used in a discussion about abortion:
Anti- Abortion Christians may use teachings from the bible such as “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.” (Jeremiah 1:5). This may show that the “soul” starts at conception. And again, suggesting that life begins before birth is the bible quote “…he hath blessed thy children within thee.” (Psalms 147:13). This is suggesting, and probably means that the foetus is the same as a child. Would you kill a child like you would abort a foetus? The answer is probably “No”.
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Luke 1:41). This signifies that even in the womb, a baby is a living, feeling person.
Another teaching from the bible that would probably be mentioned would be Exodus 21:22, 23. “If men strive and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follows, then thou shalt give life for life.”
In this case, if a man struggled, and as a result, really hurt a pregnant woman, and her child(ren) died, but no fatal accident occurred, he should have damages imposed upon him without fail according to what the husband of the woman may lay upon him; and he must give it through the justices. But if a fatal accident should occur, then he must give soul for soul. In my opinion, this implies that the life of a foetus is equally as important as the life of a full grown man. Therefore supporting the fact that abortion should be disallowed, as killing a foetus is like killing a man (a living human being).
But opposing the Christian anti- abortionist views in the discussion would be the Christian teachings used by the people who were for the idea of abortion. And although they may be thought of as wrong, cruel, and unfair, the views and teachings would still support their beliefs just as strongly as the teachings that supported the views of the anti-abortionist Christians.
Somebody who agreed with the idea of abortion could argue that the idea that human life begins at conception is not supported in the Bible, and sacredness of human life is contradicted all over. So people who consider abortion to be murder might be shocked to learn that they are thereby in disagreement with the Bible!
In many places throughout the bible, life is defined as breathing and nothing else. Examples of these definitions can be found in Ezekiel 37:10, I Kings 17:17-21, and James 2:26. So according to the theory that life is “breathing”, and a foetus doesn’t breathe, it isn’t a life, and therefore it would be ok to kill it.
Also, God once punished David by killing his newborn son (II Samuel 12:14-19); so in this case, the right-to-life of the infant was not important! Killing a newborn baby is similar to killing a foetus.
Additional evidence that a foetus is considered to be less than a human life, and that it would be ok to abort one, is that the sanctity of life, born or “unborn”, is denied in many places. For example; “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling….” (I Samuel 15:3), and also, “they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” (Hosea 13:16).