Abortion:Biblical and Christian teachings

Essay by Sharmeen February 2004

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what biblical and church teachings might be used in a discussion about abortion?

The ethics of abortion is a big debate, with a range of arguments supporting both views. The two main themes are the status of the embryo and women's rights. Some say the developing of the foetus has no moral or legal rights and thus abortion is exclusively on the woman's decisions. Others choose to accept that the embryo has some status, but the woman's right to choose what happens to her body is dominant. But some believe that the embryo has some status and it should be protected.

"You shall not murder," the sixth commandment.

Generally the Church is united in its condemnation of abortion, as many believe it violates the sixth commandment. However there is a great debate in the enquiry into when exactly a foetus becomes human, in other words when, according to Christian teachings it becomes body and soul.

The Catholic Church teaches that ensoulment happens the very moment conception; therefore they believe that abortion is murder, which is their main reason to not accept abortion as being right. Another reason to why Catholic churches disagree with abortion is because they believe the main reason for a woman to become pregnant is for her to give birth.

The Protestant Church, however, accepts that there are certain situations where abortion is an unavoidable consequence and is also thought as the 'lesser of the two evils'.

"The Church believes that the demand of abortions is unacceptably high. It stresses that abortion should happen as early in the pregnancy as possible and only after serious moral reflection. In view on late terminations (after 24 weeks) of handicapped foetuses is that they should only be given if the baby is likely to die of its deformities soon after...