Decisions on Life and Living

Decisions on Life and Living

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Decisions on Life and Living


This piece of coursework will deal mainly with the Christian beliefs
and moral views on abortion and euthanasia. The word abortion means
the death of a baby still in the womb and its removal from the
mother's body. Its correct name is a "procured abortion" and this is
when a foetus is deliberately killed and removed from the womb, with
outside help, from a doctor for example. Euthanasia is the act of
purposely making or helping someone die prematurely, instead of
allowing it to happen naturally. It has many different meanings,
depending on how it is "performed";

· Voluntary euthanasia is when a person chooses to die and asks for
assistance from another person/ people for a painless death.

· Non-voluntary euthanasia is when an individual is killed because
they are regarded as having a (future) life worse than death, for
example a serious handicap or disease. This can only be decided, if
the person is completely unable to make the decision for themselves,
e.g. babies that are born/unborn and are in great pain with terrible
abnormalities or people surviving form only the help of a life support
machine.

· Suicide is also seen as a form of euthanasia as is

· Assisted suicide.

With these issues, there is much disagreement throughout the different
religions and their beliefs on different things, such as when life
begins. For this coursework, I shall only be focusing on the beliefs
of CHRISTIAN religions (Anglicans, Church of England, Roman Catholics
etc).

A topic, which could often come up on the topic of abortion and
euthanasia, is that of the suspected quality of life that the person
might/ will lead if they had the chance to live. For example, if an
unborn child can be seen (with ultrasound) to have a serious handicap
or illness, then many different views could be given on this such as,
the child would not have a very good life at all, or alternatively
that every person has the right for life, regardless of their health

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issues. Another topic, which comes up a lot, is that of the sanctity
of life, which is very important to Christians, as they see life as
being sacred.

Christians believe that life is sacred and of infinite value because
it is a gift made by and from God, and when regarding life as sacred,
we should do as much as possible to try and preserve and value life as
much as possible and to its fullest extent. To Christians, the
sacredness is seen especially in the life and death of Jesus Christ,
and they believe that God sanctified human life by becoming human. The
following quote comes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the
creative action of God and it remains forever in a special
relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end."

This gives the idea that if an un-natural death is "performed" then
this is completely ruining and interfering with God's work. This next
quote from the Bible, suggests that by killing a human being, that
person is effectively also killing a part of God;

"God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he
created him; male and female he created them…" Genesis 1: 26.

Anglicans believe that a foetus should be specially protected, as the
Church of England stated in 1984, but that it was not sacrosanct, and
this in a way would contrast to the catholic beliefs that life is
sacred. Anglicans are said to believe that abortion might be
understandable if the situation was:

· Rape

· Age of the mother (if she was extremely young)

· If it is likely that the child will be disabled/ handicapped.

This again contrasts on some of the catholic views that life should be
preserved no matter what.

The quality of life that a person who is likely to be involved in a
"performance" of abortion of euthanasia, will definitely be looked
into, because some people will think/ believe that if an unborn child
can be seen to have major disability(ies) or a serious
illness/disease, then maybe they will think that that child will lead
a life worse than death and so in this case, they would feel it right
to abort the pregnancy and not make that life suffer. However, some
people take the opposite view on things and say, that even if the
unborn child will have handicap(s) or illnesses, then surely it would
be better to at least give that child the right to a life, rather than
not at all. It is not always easy to decide this, and usually the
decision is left up to either the parent (whether they feel that they
can cope with having a handicapped baby) or the doctor, who will know
its certain state of health. The same situation will apply to those
suffering from a terminal illness, and euthanasia is an option. The
decision of whether to carry out euthanasia will again, either be left
up to the closest relative/ significant other or then the
doctor/nurse/surgeon, or indeed if the patient is in an able state of
mind, then he/she will make that choice. Most Christians take the
belief that any person, whatever state of health they may have, should
be given the right to life. Also in law, it is morally and ethically
assumed that life is good and should be preserved.

However, despite all of the disagreement on the issue the Roman
Catholic Church tells us that we should support and help those who are
considering having an abortion, and most Catholics will agree with
this and do so. It is very obvious, that in society today there is
much disagreement and contrast on when and why abortion or euthanasia
should be carried out, and the different views and beliefs that people
of different Christian religions have.
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