Table of contents
- Introduction to Abortion and Ethical Dilemmas
- Christianity and Diverse Perspectives on Abortion
- Catholic Church: Upholding the Sanctity of Life
- Anglican Church: A Balanced Stance on Abortion
- Baptist and Presbyterian Churches: Varied Views and Ethical Decisions
- Conclusion: Interpreting Scriptures and Forming Ethical Viewpoints
Introduction to Abortion and Ethical Dilemmas
In today's contemporary world, we are faced with difficulties and decisions that determine our moral viewpoints on ethical issues. An ethical issue is a situation that requires a person or organization to choose between alternatives that are ethical right or ethically wrong. The answer to ethical problems we have in our society can be evaluated by world religions. Religions help address and face our perspectives on ethical decisions. Abortion Is a well-known issue that is continuously addressed in the public with worldwide debates on whether they should be legal or illegal. Abortion is continuously debated as the over the past 50 years as the society has been growing over past years, and that the science of the world is continuing to grow, causes the people to have safer procedures and practices. This allows the community to address the topic, and make the ethical issue more controversial. To help address the ethical issue, religions over their existence have developed teachings/scripture that provides followers an ethical response to the issue. Christianity is a major religion, that over time has developed a deeper interpretation of the scripture, creating denominations, known as Presbyterian churches. Churches have various perspectives on ethics, such as beginning of life issues. These various perspectives are determined from scripture and the past thesis statements that has been passed down. As the world has modernized, the interpretation of these statements has changed. These are dependent on the theology of the various denotations. The response of Christianity to abortion, can be addressed as pro-abortion or anti-abortion.
Christianity and Diverse Perspectives on Abortion
Abortion is a very topical issue that is well addressed issue in today’s society. This ethical issue is a fascinating issue that has caused many political debates. The debate deals with the termination of a fetus after conception. The moral issue can be discussed from two sides these can include from pro-life or pro-choice; The difference between the is that pro-life believers, have the morals of keeping the fetus for its natural childbirth. Whereas pro-choice believers, can decide whether they terminate the fetus before the natural childbirth. The major debate happens as people feel particularly strong about abortion as the foetus has no way of expressing its opinion, whereas euthanasia can be explained and because the foetus can be easily targeted an in totally innocent and defenceless human being.
Catholic Church: Upholding the Sanctity of Life
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, reinforces the idea of abortion in today's contemporary world has a gravely immoral act to take to terminate the fetus. The Catholic church perspective on abortion is highly dependent on the past thesis written by past Pope’s. In 2002 Pope John Paul II, articulated the 'Creator's right to interfere in the mystery of human life. Rejecting divine law and moral principles, he openly attacks the family.' Pope John Paul II has continuously had this perspective as in 1995 he addressed the public phrasing ' I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.' (Bbc.co.uk, 2020) The Catholic church view point on abortion is extremely negative, as the killing of the fetus is ethically wrong. With the advancement of technology, there has been an increase in discussion around the issue of abortion. Each person has a different situation that would lead them to terminate the fetus. Pope Francis (the current pope) states that “…the commandments, shape and guide how we live our Christian life, but they do so within the circumstances of each individual, with all their opportunities, limitations and constraint.” (firstname.lastname@example.org, 2020) Since the sixteenth century having an abortion has led to an automatic excommunication. At this point in time being excommunicated was being banished from the church, and unable to contain communion. The Didache written in the 2nd century that is characterised to have to ancient material states that 'You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish'. (Bbc.co.uk, 2020) the document is the teachings of the lord from the 12 disciples. The perspective on abortion basis the doctrine and the natural law and the written on the word of God. The Anglican Church is a comparison of the Catholic church and interprets the scripture and view on abortion are similar.
Anglican Church: A Balanced Stance on Abortion
The Anglican church is a denomination of Christianity. The denomination split from the Pope's opinion back in the 1530s, when Henry VIII started the process of creating the Church of England. The denomination, split as Henry VIII was not granted a divorce. With his power at the time he gained followers. The church had a greater emphasis of power and authority. The Anglican church shares an ethical view that’s similar to the Roman Catholic view that abortion is 'gravely contrary to the moral law'(Bbc.co.uk, 2020). The church sees the termination of the life as a great moral evil. In comparison to the catholic church, they share similar perspectives on the killing of the fetus. (Bbc.co.uk, 2020) Catholicism and the Anglican church in some respects share similar morals of the ethical issue as, if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, a termination of the pregnancy can be justified and that there must be adequate and safe provision in our society for such situations. The Anglican church compared to other denominations, allows the adherence to terminate the pregnancy at an early stage. Where the Catholicism says that all life is precious and a baby at 1 week is still god's gift to them; (Bbc.co.uk, 2020) however, when the termination of fetus carried out beyond 24 weeks, this should only occur when the fetus has disability. This a pro-life decision that the Anglican church has on abortion.
Baptist and Presbyterian Churches: Varied Views and Ethical Decisions
A denomination that is conservative on the ethical issue is the Baptist church. The Baptist church is a major branch of Protestant Christianity, the church's ethical view point of abortion is heavily interpreted from scripture. A survey in 2007, says that 36 percent of the Baptist religion believe that abortion should be legal in some cases, on the other hand 59 percent say that abortion should be illegal in most situations. Over the past 7 years from this point, the increase of abortion being illegal in all/most cases has increased by 7 percent. (Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 2020) This means that the Baptist churches perspective on Abortion is changing and all Baptists have different views on the ethical issue abortion. The Southern Baptist church in the united states, opposes abortion as a means of avoiding the responsibility of conception. The Baptist church follows holy scripture and man's life begins at conception, that abortion is immoral and a destruction of a human being created in God’s image (Job 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44; Proverbs 31:8-9; Galatians 1:15) (Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 2020) Many others believe that act of abortion is a morally acceptable act that, believers can follow the biblical response to the issue or act by their own will. This act is similar to the Presbyterian church's opinion as they believe that abortion should be legal in most minorities but not for all cases.
Conclusion: Interpreting Scriptures and Forming Ethical Viewpoints
The United States Presbyterian church is one the recent denominations to branch of the Protestant Christianity. The Presbyterian church, declared the artificial or induced termination of a pregnancy is a matter of careful ethical decision of the patient . . . and therefore should not be restricted by law. (Presbyterian Mission Agency, 2020) The perspective they take on this ethical issue is that it’s their own decision, they don’t take in the view of, does it take the side of the majority of the community. A survey conducted in 2007, say that 64 percent of the church, allows abortion to be legal in most/all situations, where on the other hand 32 percent of the church say it should be illegal in most/all cases and 4 percent say they don’t know. (Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 2020) The perspective they have on abortion is varying from everyone. The consideration of the mother to terminate the pregnancy should be morally accepted. Possible justified situations such as if the mother's life or the unborn was gravely threatened. It would be morally accepted if the women were raped, incest, or if the baby had severe physical or mental deformity. (Presbyterian Mission Agency, 2020) In the recent years this is a major reason in why abortion should be allowed in the community. The decision to make the significant moral choices to end the pregnancy, it shouldn't be chosen from your personal moral preference, but should be based on scripture, faith and Christian ethics.
Therefore, it can be argued that by evaluating the denominations of Christianity. That the ethical view points and the scripture of Christianity determines the church’s interpretation of the scripture. This allows them to form different viewpoints on the ethical issue abortion. Abortion is the termination of the unborn fetus from the beginning of conception. The Protestant churches interpret scripture differently compared to Catholics, where they follow the Popes saying and past theologies of abortion. The Presbyterian church is one of the few that takes a pro-abortion stance as they believe it’s the women’s decision and ethical decisions should be recognised if a decision is made. Therefore, conclusions about abortion are that the ethical viewpoints of each denomination are taken into account, before the termination of the unborn fetus.
- Bbc.co.uk. (2019). BBC - Religions - Christianity: Abortion. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/christianethics/abortion_1.shtml [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- The BBC website, was a useful source that showed a lot of credible information and quotes that have been used in the task. The source is secondary with primary quotes. The source was used for information of the Roman church’s perspective on the abortion as well as the information on the Anglican or church of England.
- Cpcmiami.org. (2019). Our Beliefs - Abortion. [online] Available at: http://www.cpcmiami.org/AboutCPC/OurBeliefs_Abortion.html [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Views about abortion among members of the Southern Baptist Convention - Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data, Demographics and Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-denomination/southern-baptist-convention/views-about-abortion/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- The pew research centres religion and public life project website, allowed me to obtain graphs and physical data of the southern Baptist church, that can be interpreted and to show the change of perspectives and how the modernising world has caused a review in peoples opinion of abortion.
- Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Views about abortion among members of the Presbyterian Church USA - Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data, Demographics and Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-denomination/presbyterian-church-usa/views-about-abortion/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- Presbyterian Mission Agency. (2019). Abortion/Reproductive Choice Issues | Presbyterian Mission Agency. [online] Available at: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/what-we-believe/social-issues/abortion-issues/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- The Presbyterian Mission Agency, has allowed the task to verify any facts that been stated during the paragraph, the website is secondary and contains little bits of primary information that allows me, to corroborate the graphs and data that has been mentioned. The information that was used was useful and credible.
- Religious Institute. (2019). American Baptist Resolution Concerning Abortion and Ministry in the Local Church | Religious Institute. [online] Available at: http://religiousinstitute.org/denom_statements/american-baptist-resolution-concerning-abortion-and-ministry-in-the-local-church/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- email@example.com, T. (2020). The Tablet. [online] The Tablet. Available at: https://www.thetablet.co.uk/ [Accessed 5 Feb. 2020].
- The tablet is a magazine that did an auto biography on the current Pope. (Pope Francis) The Magazine was useful in the way that I used primary source quote that corroborates the point that the interpretations of previous thesis statements are becoming unrelated to the current society. The source is credible and contained useful information.