The dictionary definition of abortion is; the premature termination of a pregnancy that may be induced or spontaneous. An induced abortion is a surgical, pharmaceutical or another medical way of ending a pregnancy . A spontaneous abortion is a natural loss of a fetus, usually before 20 weeks, this is called a miscarriage.
In 1967 the Abortion Act was put into place,this did not legalise abortions but rather provided a legal defence for those carrying them out. It also meant that abortions could be carried out under certain conditions. One condition is that the continuance of the pregnancy would cause more physical or mental problems to the mother than a termination. Also the women’s foreseeable future environment like her home may be take into account. Abortion is allowed up to twenty-four weeks and is also allowed if there is a risk that when the child is born, it would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities or be seriously handicapped. It must be permitted by two doctors unless it is an emergency abortion where it can be decided and carried out by just one. Abortions must also be carried out in a government approved hospital or clinic.
Abortion and Religions
Although abortion is legal it is not accepted among many people Abortion may be seen as murder depending on when people think that life begins. The Roman catholic church believe that a child is formed at the moment of conception therefore abortion is wrong as it is killing a child, that is murder and murder is wrong. And so if murder is illegal, why isn’t abortion? However they accept that a pregnancy may end as a result of an ectopic pregnancy and therefore double effect, if the women has the child she and the child must die, so an abortion may be the only sane way of making sure no deaths occur a Roman Catholic has an abortion they are excommunicated from the church. In Genesis (Bible) it says that “life is good”, “do not kill” it talks about consequences, through Adam and Eve’s eating of the apple, and therefore implying that nobody and nothing is perfect.
This relates to abortion because if life is good who are you to abort a child’s life and so that if they are born they will not have a good life? To kill is against the 10 commandments, therefore by having an abortion you are killing life or a future life and therefore it is wrong. Consequences of an abortion are rarely thought of due to the thinking of you are doing it for good however it may cause depression as what you have done dawns on you, example of this can be found with the charity “SPUC”, Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child,”Not a day goes by when I don’t think of my lost child. When I wake up in the morning I know I’ve had an abortion. I would never wish this pain on anybody.” Ruth (American SNM leaflet).The Roman catholic church also look at natural law (Bible).
An example of natural law is that babies are gifts, so why not want a gift? We need to pro-create to develop the world. Natural law gives you freedom, with freedom comes sexual control therefore if you don’t want children do not have sex. Also what principles are most important? The principle of giving life or the principle of killing it for your own selfish pleasures? Other churches that prohibit abortion are Jehovah’s witnesses and the Evangelical Christian. Churches that do not prohibit abortion but also do not agree with it are Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, Orthodox Judaism and Hinduism.
These churches believe abortion can only be justified to save the women’s life. Churches like the Church of England,and Islam think that abortion is sometimes a “necessary evil”, and should not be used for trivial reasons. Buddhism, Sikhism and Quakers believe that there is no written law on abortion, they believe that abortion is a sin as they pregnancy increases but they do allow for abortion to be used to protect the health of the women and in other limited circumstances like rape. Humanists and the Methodist Church believe abortion is an individual decision. They teach that you should have compassion for women as well as reverence for life. They also say you should weigh up the pros and cons of abortion before making any decisions.
The Sanctity of Life
The sanctity of life is a religious phrase that refers to the idea that life is sacred. It debates the moral ideas of abortion, and what makes a person – how old do you have to be to be classed as a person? Christian believe that all life is a gift from God and human life is special and sacred. Men and women are created in the image of God and therefore superior and different to all other forms of life. Since we are given domain over all other living things we can shape events like nothing else can. Since we were all made in God’s image , we are all to be nurtured, supported and protected. If a human decides to abort a life, they are rejecting God, and this person who is being killed does not get to be nurtured, supported and protected, therefore as well as rejecting God you are denying his will. (The Bible, Psalm 139 verse 13) says “You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. Christians believe that God alone should determine a person’s moment of conception as well as their moment of death., not us.
Methods of Induced Abortion
Suction abortion is when the fetus is dismembered by a vacuum machine . This is the most common early abortion technique, it accounts for around 90% of abortions in England and Wales for up to twelve weeks of pregnancy. This technique is promoted as the “safe and early” abortion, however the vast majority are performed on young, healthy women with no medical reason for abortion.
Dilation and curettage is when the fetus/baby is dismembered with a loop bladed knife called a curette. This procedure is not that popular because it can leave bits of the body in the uterus and so a nurse has to check the dismembered body parts to see if they are all out. Also it can cause haemorrhage’s and sepsis.
A third method of induced abortion is salt poisoning. This is when a concentrated salt solution is injected into the amniotic fluid, killing the baby by acute salt poisoning.
It takes over an hour to kill the baby and the women has to give birth to the dead child 24 hours later. Also children have been known to survive from this treatment.
There are also pharmaceutical ways of abortion for example the morning after pill. Many people do not see this as an abortion because it is a pill you take for up to 3 days after having unprotected sex.
Development of a fetus in relation to abortion
You can have an abortion up to twenty-four weeks into a pregnancy. Here is how the baby develops over those weeks to help decide whether this amount of time is just.
On the 21st day of conception the unborn babies heart begins to beat. Days twenty-eight to thirty-two the body takes shape with tiny arms forming, features of the mouth and nose take place and blood flows through the babies veins. On day thirty-six the eye color develops. On day forty the baby can make their first reflex movements. On day forty-four tiny buds of milk teeth appear. On day fifty-two spontaneous movement begins. The baby can now yawn, stretch and suck. At eight weeks old the baby is the size of a thumb.
And well proportioned. At nine weeks genitalia become visible. At 10 weeks fingerprints form. Every person has different fingerprints, this means that these fingerprints are unique and if printed could define the fetus, does this make the fetus human or not if only that fetus will have them fingerprints in the whole of the time and universe? At eleven weeks the baby practices breath and can urinate. At this point they can smile. Between twelve and fifteen weeks the baby begins to swallow, has skin stimulation, makes distinct facial expressions, and nerve cells begin and continue for a month. At four months old the fetus or baby can suck their thumb, and develop sleeping habits.
At four and a half months they can feel pain.
At five months you can feel the baby move.
At six months you can still abort the baby. The bay will be staring to hear at this age The child sleeps and wakes, nestling in her favorite positions to sleep, and stretches upon waking up. This is the latest legal abortions can take place. Depending on the circumstance the baby can be aborted later than the 24 weeks, however these causes are very rare. Many people think that the abortion cut of date is too late, and should be cut down. Some people think this because babies have been born at twenty weeks old and survived and therefore at 24 weeks a baby could survive if born so why should we abort it when it could be born and given up for adoption instead of terminating its life or future life.
Facts and Figures
One in three pregnancies will end in induced abortion. Women aged 20 to 34 are most likely to have an abortion. 60% of abortions are carried out between 4 to 9 weeks. 63% of abortions are carried out by single women.
95% of legal abortions are carried out due to the pregnancy involving greater risk than if terminated.
Over six million children have been aborted.