ABORTION by decree



The choices to be made
                                                              Abortion = the deliberate act of
There are 3 alternatives available to any pregnant
                                                              ending a pregnancy through medical
    Have the baby and keep it.
    Have the baby and give it up for adoption.               Sanctity of life = life is sacred,
    Have an abortion.                                        precious a gift from God and should
                                                              be respected. God has a plan for
Arguments for abortion:                                       each life.
     It is more of a trauma to give up a baby than
    to have it aborted                                       Quality of life = what quality is
     There will always be those who do not want             likely to be available to life in
        children at all and that should be respected         question.
     A foetus is not a proper life until a later stage
     A foetus is only a potential life but the woman        Individual rights = the foetus, the
        already has life                                     mother, the father, other family
     A minority has no right to impose its views on         members, the medical people
    the majority because there are different opinions as     involved.
    to when life starts.
     Every child has the right to be a wanted child.
     Abortions would still happen, even if it were made a crime. They always have.

Arguments against abortion:
       Abortion is discrimination against the weak
       Modern science proves that the unborn child is a separate human being from conception.
       Life begins at the moment of conception.
       Human life is sacred at all stages. Only God has the right to end or begin life.
       Severely handicapped people can still lead happy, fulfilling lives.
       Abortion is taking the easy way out; we should concentrate on improving the quality of
        life in our society.
       Abortion could kill a potential Beethoven or Einstein
       There is a shortage of babies available for adoption.

The decision – whose is it? Whose rights should have the final say and why?

Time Limit Debate
This is a debate about the viability of life (at what point life could be sustained). The original
Act put the legal limit at 28 weeks. As medical science developed, more premature babies could
be supported so it was altered to 24 weeks in 1990. Anti-abortion groups campaign for any
changes to the law that will reduce the number of abortions. Others oppose any reduction in
the time limit (that is to an earlier point in the pregnancy) for a number of reasons:
    Some women may not realize they are pregnant until quite late. Particularly young
        teenagers who may also be afraid to ask for help.
    Unsympathetic doctors and delays in the health service may force women to have late

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      Foetal abnormalities cannot always be detected early; amniocentesis test usually takes
       place at around 16 weeks.
Religious Views
Roman Catholic:
    Not allowed under any circumstances.
    Deliberate abortion is a serious sin
    Human life begins at the moment of conception
    All human life is sacred. Only God has the right to end or begin life.
”Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception; abortion and
infanticide are abominable crimes.” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Specs 51)
The Church of England and most Protestant Churches agree with the Roman Catholic Church in
principle. However, they are prepared to allow abortion in certain circumstances, thus leaving
more of the decision to the conscience of the individual. Eg: rape, serious risk to mother’s life,
serious risk of disability.

     All life is sacred and is in Allah’s hands.
     Allah creates all life so only He can take life.
However, the Qur’an says, “Do not take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for a just
There is disagreement amongst Muslims about what is a just cause.
     All agree that abortion for economic reasons is wrong and the Qur’an directly forbids it
        – “Do not kill your children for fear of want.”
     Some Muslims permit abortion to save the life of the mother.
     Some also say it is permitted in the case of serious handicap or disease.
     Some argue that abortion for disability is wrong as we cannot understand Allah’s plans
        for us.
Islam also teaches that there is a purpose for suffering.

Ensoulment - neither Christians nor Muslim can agree within their own religion when this

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC):
This organization is against abortion and would form part of the Pro-Life lobby. It is supported
by the Roman Catholic Church. It was started in 1967.
    Abortion denies the right to exist
    Unborn children need someone to speak up for their rights
    Life begins at the moment of conception so there is no difference between abortion and


d5c83954-6502-4c37-bdc1-2797165cf423.doc                                                             2
In the 1960s some Church leaders though that legalising abortion was the lesser of two evils.
They still believed in the sanctity of life but felt that the Bible would permit abortion under
some circumstance.
     The Bible says to love one another and help the weak. Some Christians argued that the
       most compassionate thing in some cases would be to allow abortion rather than force a
       single, unsupported mother to have a child.
     Jesus tells us to live life to the full. What kind of life awaits a severely brain-damaged
     God gave us free well. We do not have the right to take it away from someone (the
Pro-Choice Christians tend to tolerate abortion rather than favour it.

Bible verses that could be used:
Genesis 1:27                     So God created human beings making them to be life himself

Exodus 20:13                     Do not commit murder

Isaiah 49:5                      Before I was born, the Lord appointed me; he made me his servant
                                 bring back his people….

Psalm 127:3                      Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing

Psalm 139:13-15                  You created every part of me, you put me together in my mother’s
                                 womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is
                                 strange and wonderful. I know it with al my heart. When my bones
                                 were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb.
                                 When I was growing there in secret – you know that I was there.

Matthew 18:10                    See that you don’t despise any of these little ones.

Luke 18:15-17                    Some people brought their babies to Jesus for him to put his hands
                                 on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so but
                                 Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the children come to
                                 me and do not stop them because the Kingdom of God belongs to
                                 such as these.

Acts 17:26                       From one human being he created all the races on the earth and
                                 made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed
                                 hand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would

1 Corinthians 3:16-17            Paul wrote: Surely you know that you are God’s temple and God’s
                                 Spirit lives in you! So if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will
                                 destroy him. For God’s temple is holy and you yourselves are holy.

Galatians 1:15                   But God in his grace chose me even before I was born and called me
                                 to serve him.

Qur’an verses that could be used:
Surah 42:49                      To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He

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                                 creates what He pleases.

Surah 42:49-50                   He bestows children, male or female according to His will, or He
                                 bestows both males and females; and He leaves barren whom He

Surah 17:32                      Kill not your offspring for fear of poverty, it is We who provide for
                                 them and for you. Surely, killing them is a great sin.

Legal Aspects
Abortion has been legal in Britain since 1967. The law allows a pregnancy to be terminated up
until the 24th week if:
    2 doctors agree
    there is a risk to the mother’s physical or mental health
    there is no time limit if there is a risk to mother’s life, the child will be born with a
        serious handicap or that the woman would be permanently inured
    the mother has been raped
    the mother is very young

d5c83954-6502-4c37-bdc1-2797165cf423.doc                                                             4

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