Christianity And Abortion Essay, Research Paper
The Christian belief in the sanctity of life is based on the teachings
of famous Christians and on what they read in the bible, the teachings
of Jesus. A quote from the bible which seems to support the view that
abortion is wrong is from Psalm 139:13, verses 15-16,
?You created every part of me;
You put me together in my mother?s womb?
When my bones were being formed,
Carefully put me together in my mother?s womb.
When I was growing there in secret,
You knew that I was there ?
You saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
Had all been recorded in your book,
Before any of them ever began.?
This seems to be saying that god has already begun to have an influence
on the life of a person before they are even born. The life of a person
is already unique and god has already given them their own identity
before they are born. If this is true, and the quote seems to be saying
that it is, then abortion would have to be seen as a crime on the same
level as murder. There are no good grounds for murder, one of the Ten
?Do not commit murder.?
So, if we were to consider only this quote then we would have to see
abortion as fundamentally wrong, any justification for abortion would
become a justification for murder, and we can see no justification for
murder, the ultimate sin. Another quote from the bible would seem to
strengthen this view, Jeremiah 1:4-5
The Lord said to me, ?I chose you before I gave you life, and before
you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations.?
This seems to suggest, as did the last quote, that God decides the fate
of the child before it is born, abortion would prevent the child from
fulfilling its potential. This would be fundamentally wrong and would
not have any justification, in performing an abortion, a doctor may
unwittingly be ending the life of a famous prophet before it has even
begun; something which anyone would have to agree is not a good thing.
The Catholic Church holds the view that abortion is wrong. They
believe that to justify the killing of an unborn child one would also
have to justify the killing of any human being given the same set of
circumstances. A foetus has as much right to live as anyone else.
There are many Christians who would disagree with this view, they would
say that the unborn child has the right to live, and that it is preferable
that they be allowed to do so. They would not, however, see this right
as being all important. They believe that there are circumstances in
which terminating an unborn foetus is justified. This is demonstrated
by the official stance of the Church of England, from their Board of
Social Responsibility Report 1984,
Although the foetus is to be specially respected and protected,
nonetheless, the life of the foetus is not absolutely sacrosanct if it
endangers the life of the mother?
This view, that the life of the mother is more important than that of
the unborn child is contested by the anti abortionists using many of
the arguments given above. The foetus is a human being and so to have
an abortion simply to save the mother?s life would be to make a decision
to kill one person for the sake of another. This is the sort of decision
that only God can make.
The people who agreed with abortion in certain circumstances would argue
against the view that the foetus is as much a life as the mother. Most
arguing that the foetus can only be considered a life after the ?turning?,
the time when it would be able to survive without its mother. This is a
very strong argument, before the turning, there is no way that the child
can be considered as a life in its own right, it is totally dependent on
its mother for even the most basic of needs such as oxygen and food. It
has no way to get these things for itself so the argument is that, until
this point in time, the child and the mother must both be considered as
one. They also argue that the mother?s life can be seen as more important,
this is because she has the ability to survive independently of the
child whilst it would undoubtedly die if it was to be separated from her.
The argument about whether or not the foetus is a life in its own right
before the moment of the turning is not one that can decide the question
of whether or not abortion is justified. Even if the view that the foetus
before this moment is not a human life and therefore not as important as
its mother is accepted, there is still a potential life there, something
which can, in time, become a human being. The argument about the turning
is that this life is entirely dependent upon the survival and health of
the mother. It is fundamentally wrong to put the life of the foetus above
the things that have been there to allow it to survive just because it
will not be dependent upon them after the time of birth. This argument
seems to be overwhelming and is, in my opinion, a justification for a
Christian to have an abortion on the grounds that her health or her life
would be seriously threatened by continuing the pregnancy for the full
term. Of course, the argument about having an abortion because of the
woman?s health does not involve the question of the moment of turning,
the baby will have passed the time of turning by the time it is in a state
to threaten the mother?s health and still survive itself. The life of
the child is no longer dependent on that of its mother, but it once was,
and the mother is a fully developed human being who already has her own
personality. It seems wrong to endanger the mother?s life, upon which
the foetus was once entirely dependent to allow the child to survive.
Another circumstance in which some people attempt to justify aboriton
So, the Christian view on the sanctity of life makes it difficult for a
believer to justify an abortion, it would probably mean that they would
be reluctant to have an abortion but there are certain circumstances in
which the action could be justified.