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Flashcards in Medial Ethics Deck (51)
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What is the Sanctity of Life?

The idea that life is a gift from God, therefore it is precious and deserves protecting and respect.


What is an abortion?

The ending of a pregnancy prematurely. It may happen naturally (often called a miscarriage) or through medical intervention.


What is the UK law regarding abortion?

2 doctors have to agree that the pregnant woman should have an abortion because:
*Continuing with the pregnancy would put the mother or any other children that she already has at risk.
*The foetus would be at severe risk of being born with a life limiting condition or a condition which would negatively and seriously impact upon its quality of life.
Abortions take place before 24 weeks except in cases where there is serious health risks.


Why might a woman have an abortion?

*Pregnancy is unplanned.
*Relationship may have broken down.
*Woman may feel she is too old/ young.
*Tests may show that the foetus would be born with a serious medical condition.
*Pregnancy might be the result of sexual abuse/ rape.
*Continuing with the pregnancy may cause harm to the woman.


What does the Roman Catholic Church think about abortion?

Life begins at conception, therefore abortion is taking away a human life and is murder.


In what situation might a Roman Catholic Christian believe an abortion is acceptable?

If the abortion is a consequence of another medical procedure (and is not the intention of the procedure). For example, a pregnant woman is found to have cancer and needs hysterectomy as part of her cancer treatment which would terminate the pregnancy. This is known as double effect.


"Before I formed you,..."

"...I knew you." (Jeremiah 1.5)


What does it mean to say that life begins at conception?

That life begins at the moment that the sperm and the egg meet.


What is the law of "Double Effect"?

The Roman Catholic idea that an abortion/ euthanasia may happen if it is not deliberate but the side effect of some other, very necessary treatment.


Which Christians say that abortion is sometimes " a necessary evil"?

Anglican Christians, Methodist Christians and Quaker Christians.


What does it mean to say that abortion is the "lesser of 2 evils."

That abortion is never a happy choice, but there are circumstances where it might be better to have an abortion than to let the pregnancy continue.


Which Christian Church campaigned to make abortion legal as prior to the legalisation of abortion, many women died after having illegal "backstreet" abortions which were very dangerous?

The Methodist Church.


What is meant by the phrase "fertility treatments"?

A range of medical treatments that may be given to people who want to have children but are unable to conceive naturally but could conceive with medical help.


What different kinds of fertility treatments are there?

*Fertility drugs.
*Artificial Insemination.
*In Vitro Fertilisation.
*Egg donation.
(Some of these treatments are used at the same time.


What is meant by Artificial Insemination?

When sperm is put inside a woman using medical help. They may use the husband's sperm (AIH) or donor sperm (AID).


What is meant by In Vitro Fertilisation?

IVF is when eggs are taken from the woman (or a donor) and fertilised in a laboratory before one or more healthy embryos are placed in the woman's body to grow in her uterus.


What is surrogacy?

When a woman carries a foetus for another couple.


Why do some Christians believe using fertility treatments is a good thing?

*All new life glorifies God.
*Using science to help people and enrich their lives.
*God tells people to have children.
*They might think that if they couldn't have children, that they would want science to help them- the Golden Rule.


"Be fruitful and increase in number..."

"...fill the earth and subdue it." (Genesis 1:28)


"So in everything, do to others..."

"...what you would have them do to you." (Matthew 7:12- known as the Golden Rule."


Why do some Christians say that freezing embryos is wrong?

Some Christians believe that life begins at conception so if these embryos are never used and are destroyed (as they haven't been used) then it would be the same as murder.


Why do some Christians say that using donor sperm and eggs or using a surrogate is wrong?

Some Christians believe that using such fertility treatments is wrong as it brings a third person into the marriage. Some say that it is adultery and the 10 Commandments say "Do not commit adultery." (Exodus 20)
Other Christians might disagree if it enables homosexual couples have children as some Christians believe that children should only be born to married, heterosexual couples.


Why do some Christians say that using fertility treatments can never be right?

They might say that life is a gift from God and if God hasn't "given" a child to a couple, it might be because he has a different plan for them.
Some Christians might say that fertility treatments are wrong as it is playing God, deciding who can create new life and also it involves "unnatural sex" as it may involve a man masturbating to produce a sperm sample.


Which Christian denomination believes that using fertility treatments is wrong?

Roman Catholic Church.


What is an alternative to fertility treatments?



"But Hannah had no children..."

"...because the Lord had closed her womb." (1 Samuel 1:6)


What is cloning?

It is a scientific process where cells are copied, exactly so that a new cell is made with the exact DNA of another cell.


Why have scientists experimented with cloning?

It might lead to important medical breakthroughs:
*Creating organs for people who need transplant surgery.
*Help us to understand how embryos develop.
*Could lead to better treatments and possibly cures for life threatening diseases.
*Give a better understanding of ageing and old age.
*Preservation of species that are at risk of becoming extinct.


Why are most Christians against cloning?

*Each human life is unique and a gift from God, therefore it is wrong to create human life artificially.
*Many embryos may be created before a successful clone is created; these embryos are human lives being thrown away.


Why might some Christians agree with tissue cloning?

This involves the cloning of a particular type of cell and could be used to give skin grafts to people with bad burns or replace organs that have stopped working. This is not creating new life but helping to save/ heal existing lives.


What does the word "euthanasia" mean?

Literally means "a good death."
Often known as mercy- killing; it is helping someone to die deliberately.


What is voluntary euthanasia?

When someone makes a free choice to be helped to die.


What is involuntary euthanasia?

When other people make a decision that someone else should have euthanasia (as the person is unable to make this decision for themselves.)


What is assisted suicide?

A form of euthanasia where someone wants to commit suicide but needs help.


Where is euthanasia legal?

The Netherlands, Switzerland.


Why are some people against euthanasia?

*People suffering pain may not be in the frame of mind where they can make such a serious decision.
*People may feel like they are a burden on their family and ask for euthanasia, even if it is not want they really want.
*With involuntary euthanasia, relatives may ask for euthanasia as they want to inherit money/ property.
*A cure may be found.
*No one should be able to make the decision about when to end someone's life.


Why might Christians disagree with euthanasia?

*God gives life so only God can take it away.
*Human suffering may have a purpose that humans cannot understand- it is part of God's plan.


What is palliative care?

Specialist end of life care, often found in hospices or given by nurses in homes such as the Macmillan nurses.


Why might some people agree with euthanasia?

*Banning euthanasia discriminates against those who can't physically end their own lives; suicide is an option for those who can.
*Life is only worth living if one can live with dignity.
*It costs money to keep someone alive.


Why might Christians agree with euthanasia?

*The Golden Rule- they may want the option of euthanasia being available to them so want it available to others.
*Christians have a duty to stand up for the weak and not allow them to suffer.
*Roman Catholics may use double effect- if someone is given pain medicine to end the pain that also kills the person, the intention is treating the pain, therefore it is okay.


"Don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?..."

"...You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)


What is a suicide?

When someone deliberately ends their life.


Why did Christians in the past believe that people who committed suicide should not be allowed to be buried in church cemeteries?

*It breaks one of the 10 Commandments "Do not commit murder."
*Life is a gift from God that people should appreciate.
*God makes each human life for a reason so that if a person commits suicide, they are going against God's plan for them.


Why don't Christians today judged people who commit suicide in the same way that they did in the past?

Attitudes and awareness of mental health have improved within society and now people, including Christians realise that people who attempt suicide need love, support and not to be judged.


How might Christians help those at risk of committing suicide?

*Being there as a good listener.
*Not judging people if they feel that they cannot cope with their livers.
*Praying for those who need help.
*Fund raising for organisations who support people with mental illnesses.
*Volunteering for the Samaritans who offer 24 support via the phone for people who feel like they can't cope.


What is the story behind the charity "the Samaritans"?

Christian Reverend Chad Varah began his work as a priest in the 1950s. The first funeral he had to do was a teenage girl who has committed suicide; she had committed suicide as she thought she was dying after she started her periods and no one had ever told her that this would happen. So he started a charity so people could get confidential advice and support. Varah started the charity as he believed every life was special to God.


What does the law say about using animals in medical research?

Medical research using animals can only be carried out when there are no reasonable alternatives, and should not be done unnecessarily. When it has to be done, it should be a way that causes the least possible suffering to the animals. There are some species such as chimpanzees where approval for research is never given.


Why might Christians support medical testing upon animals?

*God gave humans souls but not animals so human life is more precious than animal life.
*God gave people the right to rule over animals so animals do not have the same rights as humans.


"Then God said:"Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea...

"...and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26)


Why do some Christians argue that medical testing upon animals is wrong?

*God told people to be "stewards" of His creation.
*All animals are part of God's creation and therefore deserve respect.


"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?..."

"...Yet not one of them is forgotten by God." (Luke 12:6)