Topic 7 Religion and Medical Ethics
Medical ethics is concerned about issues of right and wrong which arise in the
context of health.
Many religious people have strong opinions about this because of the Sanctity of
life. They believe that all life is sacred and a gift from God.
There are parts of the Bible that shows life is known by God even before we
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…’
Abortions can take place up to 24 weeks for social reasons; unable to care
for the child financially, physically or mentally unable to have a child as well
as the mother or the foetus’ life is at risk.
Abortions can take place after 24 weeks IF the foetus is seriously ill or
the mother’s life is in danger.
Two Dr’s must agree before an abortion can take place.
After 28 weeks the foetus is considered ‘viable’ about to survive outside
of the womb, this is why abortion then is not an option.
Catholics believe abortion is murder and the 10 Commandments in the Bible
say ‘do not murder’. It also says in the Bible ‘Before you were formed I
knew you’ and also ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.’
Protestants believe that abortion may be the best way out of as bad
situation. They think you should ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ they
also believe that God is forgiving.
This is given to couples who want to have a baby, but cannot conceive
The most common fertility treatment is IVF. Catholics disagree with
IVF because sometimes the sperm or egg are from donor, so not
necessarily the parents (AID – by donor) and breaks the sanctity of
The other reason why Catholics disagree with this is because unused
fertilized embryos are destroyed and this is considered to be murder.
’Do not murder.’ And ‘God gives life and God takes life away’
Also in the Bible it shows that women cannot have children ‘barren’ until
God chooses to give them children. For this reason Catholics suggest
Protestants believe that life is a gift from God and that everyone
should have the chance to have a child. ‘Love your neighbor as
Means a quiet and peaceful death,
Active euthanasia/Voluntary (giving someone a lethal injection) is illegal in
Passive Euthanasia is allowing someone to die. Giving them pain relief but
not trying to cure them. This is legal in the UK.
Involuntary euthanasia-this is when someone is in a coma or on life support
and will not recover so relatives are given the option to turn off the
Double effect-this can be pain relief that can speed up death.
Catholics believe Euthanasia is wrong because it is murder. They also
believe only God can give life and only God can take it away.
Some Christians believe that suffering can be part of a test in faith,
others thinks it helps them to empathise with the suffering of Jesus.
In the Bible it says ‘God gives life and God takes life away’ as well as ‘Do
Other Christians believe that Euthanasia is the most loving thing to do.
‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
This is when someone deliberately ends their life.
In the past this was treated as a crime and if you failed to kill yourself you
would be put in prison.
In the past anyone who commits suicide would not be allowed to be buried
on consecrated ground.
They also were buried at crossroads as it was thought to confuse the
spirits so they could not find their way back.
Today most people recognize that someone who tries to commit suicide may
be depressed or suffering from a mental illness.
There are various charities that are set up to support those who may be
considering committing suicide e.g. Samaritans
Christians do not agree with suicide as it is murder. You are choosing to
end your life instead of God.
Many animals are used for the research of cosmetics, cleaning products
There are strict guidelines protecting the rights of the animals.
Some people believe it is wrong to use animals in this way. They believe in
is taking advantage of ‘stewardship’ God giving control over animals.
Some believe as animals have no soul, God did not breath the breath of life
then it is acceptable to test on them.
Others believe that animals need to be tested on for our benefit, but this
is only for medicines not cosmetics.
Some Christians believe that God gave use dominion over animals and so we
can test on them if we choose.