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Flashcards in Religion and Early Life Deck (23)
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What is meant by 'children as a blessing'?

Idea that God has favoured a couple with a child. The same idea is sometimes referred to ‘children are a gift’ from God and planned by God.


Describe 3 ideas on when life begins.

1. CONCEPTION - when sperm fertilises egg the DNA is fixed.
2. VIABILITY - point at which a foetus could survive if it were born.
3. BIRTH - this is when UK law says we are entitled to rights


When do MOST Christians believe life begins?

CONCEPTION - when the sperm fertilises the egg.
• At conception the fertilised egg gains a soul. This is called ‘ensoulment’ and is a key Christian belief.
• A child’s DNA is fixed a conception.


When do MOST Buddhists believe life begins?

CONCEPTION - Rebirth teaches that individual human life begins at conception. The new being, has the karmic identity of a recently deceased individual so should be treated morally as an adult human being.


When do many non-religious people believe life begins?

BIRTH - ‘child’ is not an individual until separate from the mother. Until then the embryo or foetus is part of the mother.


What is meant by quality of life?
What would Christians add to this definition?

Kind of life someone leads.
In this case, a baby or child’s quality of life - can mean both the mental and physical well-being of the child as well as the family and social circumstances into which it is born.
Christians would add the relationship with God as good, through worship and following key teachings.


Why might quality of life be relevant to abortion?

The quality of life refers to the kind of life someone leads. In this case, a baby or child’s quality of life. It can mean both the mental and physical well-being of the child as well as the family and social circumstances into which it is born.


Describe 3 circumstances where quality of life may be used to justify abortion.

1. Severe DISABILITY, mental or physical, that causes suffering and/or pain. BUT the Paralympics as an example of people living a good quality of life whilst being disabled.
2. UNWANTED child. In some cases, not the majority, an unplanned pregnancy may lead to the baby being resented by the mother or unloved. The father may also be disinterested. So the child will suffer mentally. Also, a pregnancy my result from rape, which could lead to the child being unloved or cared for.
3. Cause the family and existing children to live in POVERTY. If there are low incomes or it is a large family, all may suffer as a result of an extra mouth to feed.


When did abortion become legal in UK (except Northern Ireland) and when was the law updated?

1967 - with consent of 2 doctors up to 28 weeks.
1990 amendment - up to 24 weeks (medical advances have led to viability at this stage).


What are the 4 conditions under which abortion is legal in the UK?

1. The woman might die.
2. There is a risk that the baby will have a severe physical or mental disability.
3. There is a risk to the woman’s mental or physical health.
4. There is a risk to the physical or mental health of her existing children.


Who has rights when it comes to abortion?

Baby - protected by law conditions.
Mother - given choices under the law conditions.
Father - NO RIGHTS
Grandparents - NO RIGHTS


Why do some people say fathers should have rights?

Fathers may feel left out of these debates. They have a legal responsibility for the child once it is born BUT they have no rights on whether it is aborted or not.


Why do many people, including religious believers, support women's rights for abortion?

• It is still her body and her life. Her health and freedom are also important and will be affected by a child. She should have the final say.
• Women should have a right to safety. Childbirth can be dangerous for some women and abortion may be safer.
Failure to provide a legal abortion may result in a BACKSTREET ABORTION, which can be very dangerous.


What is meant by 'pro-choice' and what arguments will they use?

Pro-choice means women should have choice to choose an abortion.
Key arguments include:
• The woman carries and gives birth to the child so she should decide to keep or not.
• Life does not really start until to foetus is born or at least viable.
• The risk to the mother outweighs that of the baby.
• Circumstances are important - if raped, or she is young with the rest of her life ahead of her, then abortion should be considered.
• Adoption is not easy as the mother becomes attached to the child.
• Illegal (backstreet) abortions will return if abortions are made illegal.
• It is cruel to bring severely disabled children into the world.
• There are already too many people on earth!


Name and describe the work of a pro-choice organisation.

A Pro-Choice pressure group is Abortion Rights. They put pressure on government to keep the 24 week limit and abortion legal. They believe it should be easier to get an abortion.


What is meant by 'pro-life' and what arguments will they use?

Pro-life is against abortion in all circumstances.
Key arguments include:
• Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.
• Depression and guilt may follow an abortion.
• Disabled people can enjoy happy and fulfilled lives.
• Unwanted children could be adopted.
• The UN Declaration on Rights of the Child suggests children should have rights before and after birth.
• Abortion is just a way of avoiding responsibility for getting pregnant.
• Each person is unique and we should not end that.


Name and describe the work of a pro-life organisation.

A Pro-Life pressure group is Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC). They campaign against abortion and for more help for mothers so that they decide to keep their unborn children.


What are many Christians, in particular ROMAN CATHOLICS, against abortion?

Abortion is called a sin and so murder:
Bible quotes used to argue AGAINST abortion include:
• “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). This suggests God planned your birth.
Once Christians establish that the foetus is a human being, the sanctity of life teachings all apply. Bible quotes that support this include:
• “In the image of God” (Genesis 1:26)
• “Do not kill” (Exodus 20:13)
• ”You yourselves are God’s temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16)


What is the attitude of the Church of England towards abortion?

The protestant Church of England is uneasy with abortion, but says that abortion is the LESSER OF TWO EVILS in cases such as rape, incest or a serious threat to the mother’s health or life. Therefore, acceptable.


Why might other Christians be in favour of supporting abortion?

- “Love your neighbour as yourself” suggests you should show love towards those wanting an abortion.
- Golden Rule of ‘treat others as you would want to be treated’ suggests you should put yourself in the shoes of the person having the abortion.
- Bible says God made Adam, and then “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” (Genesis 2:7). Perhaps this suggests life starts at birth.


What teachings in Buddhism are against abortion?

• First Precept 'avoid harming living things'. Therefore, most Buddhists are against abortion.
• You could also get bad karma from the depression and guilt of having an abortion. This may result in a bad rebirth.
• Many Buddhists believe that life (or rebirth) starts at conception, so abortion is the deliberate harming of life.
- Human life is precious and rare (analogy of Blind Turtle)


What teachings in Buddhism are in favour of supporting abortion?

- Foetus’ karma is unaffected so there will be a similar rebirth.
- Abortion is OK if the intention is right (Right Intention). For example, if a foetus was aborted to help other children live good lives or to prevent a birth resulting from rape or incest.
- Abortion is OK before the child feels pain or has developed a mind. The formation of the mind is the fifth skanda (or aggregate).


What are the 3 alternatives to abortion?

1. KEEPING THE BABY – In the past, women would be looked down on for having a child if they were unmarried. That view is considered out of date by most people in society. Today, it is more socially acceptable to have a child if you are unmarried. There is also more support available, such as child benefit and single-parent benefit.
2. ADOPTION – if the child is really unwanted, it could be adopted by loving adoptive parents/family that will raise it as their own son or daughter. Adoption also means the child will legally be the child of the adoptive parents and not the biological parents.
3. FOSTERING – this is when a child is placed in the temporary care of another family. Some foster parents are paid by the government to look after children in care. Sometimes, the foster parents may adopt the child.