Ethics - Abortion

Essay by tegan-leeHigh School, 12th grade October 2008

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Studies of ReligionResearch Assignment: Values and EthicsTo what extent does contemporary Australian society reflect the positions of the major religious groups in ethical issues?The World Book Dictionary defines Abortion as "1a birth that occurs before the embryo has developed enough to live, usually during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. b the inducing of premature delivery in order to destroy off-spring."Despite religious views, a vast majority (54.4%) of Australians believe that a woman should be able to access to have an abortion readily when they want one and another 34.5% believe abortion should be allowed in special circumstances. These findings were taken from the 2004 Australian Election Study (AES), which showed that it was overwhelmingly clear that the majority of Australians support liberal access to abortion. Those who are fundamentally opposed to abortion under any circumstances represent the smallest minority and on average they constitute less than 5% of the Australian population.

A second survey conducted in 2003 by the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) revealed 81.2% of people were pro-choice believing that women should have the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. (What Do Australians Think About Abortion? (N.D.).)At Federation in 1901, abortion remained governed by the British Offences Against the Persons Act or 1861. This Act made abortion illegal under any circumstances. However, since then things have changed. Abortion in Australia now remains a subject to state law rather than a whole nation law. This means that the ground on which an abortion is permitted in Australia varies from state to state. The grounds on which abortion in permitted in each state is as follows:•Australian Capital Territory: Legal on request•New South Wales: Legal for maternal life, rape, health, fetal defects, mental health, economic factors and/or social factors•Northern Territory: Legal for maternal life, rape,