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The topic of abortion has never been a question for me, a woman’s choice came first but recently I realized I didn’t understand how so many religious people felt about it and I felt it unfair to have no justification other than my family’s views to bash someone else’s ideas. So to be fair i needed to know more about the religions and how influential they are in different parts of the world who all have similar and different views. The beliefs studied, or rather, explored range from Catholicism to other branches of Christianity with an emphasis on the people in each and for reference, the people may be your neighbor, your roommate or even your own child
Abortion is the removal of the fetus from the mother’s womb, resulting in the termination of the pregnancy, up to this point we have to face the question, when does life begin? Catholics believe that life begins at the moment of conception and that it is at this time when you must regard the fetus as human life, just as important as any other living human. However, the differences in belief about when life begins results in the problems people have with the issue of abortion. Other Christians believe that living beings are only when the fetus becomes able to live on its own, but you do not only have to be religious to take this viewpoint, as many non-religious people also take this into account, and accept it as the beginning of human life. Non-religious views on the beginning of life can be either when the fetus becomes viable, or you could believe that life begins once the baby is born, and in this world, it is a perfectly adequate time to think it.
Adding more to this Catholics as they can be seen as the most passionate about this at least in my hometown believe that life begins at the moment of conception, and from this time, the fetus should be respected as human life, and therefore not aborted because it would be the same as ending a human life or as they like to parade around town as “murder”. The only time in which a Catholic would permit the death of the fetus would be of natural causes or under the doctrine of double effect which is in the cases of an Ectopic pregnancy where the woman should have an operation to save her life, and in its best efforts save the fetus, but unfortunately the fetus may die but in order to let the fetus live the mother herself must live, and so, in this instance the life of the mother outweighs the life of the fetus. Catholics oppose any act that would purposefully end the life of the fetus, and they also believe it is an extreme form of bias to abort a fetus because of mental disability or being handicapped once again starting the argument of the definition of life, that all life is sacred and important. Now other religions such as Evangelical Protestants vary in beliefs, some taking the pro-life, and some take the pro-choice beliefs depending on the individual. The Church of England believes, like Catholics, that life begins at conception, therefore, abortion is murder and should not take place. Some Anglicans believe that life does not begin at conception, and so at certain stages of the pregnancy, abortion is in fact acceptable. Most Christian Churches take pro-life points of views because of what was said by the Church in recent years; ‘In the light of our conviction that the fetus has the right to live and develop as a member of the human family, we see abortion, the termination of that life by the act of man, as a great moral evil. We do not believe that the right to life, as a right pertaining to persons, admits of no exceptions whatever; but the right of the innocent to live admits surely of few exceptions indeed.’ This statement does, however, mention life “of few exceptions” meaning that some Churches do take the pro-choice beliefs, or like the Anglicans, have people on either side. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes that abortion is unacceptable as they also believe that life begins at conception. They know why a woman may need an abortion, such as poverty or the mother would not be able to cope with the child and they believe that the Church should work to help these women. In some cases, they do believe that abortion is almost the better of the two options for example when the mother’s’ life is in the risk of being harmed. Fundamentalist Churches have no particular view on abortion, they generally believe that abortion is acceptable if the woman’s life is in danger, but if an abortion is performed in any circumstances other than trying to save the mother’s life, is murder. But they also tend to be more lenient when conception takes place from rape or incest, and see abortion then as the best option, because in most of these cases, the woman does not want to go through with the pregnancy due to either emotional trauma, or not physically being able to support the child because she obviously did not plan on the pregnancy taking place.
As stated by the CDC “In 2015, 638,169 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2015 was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years, and the abortion ratio was 188 abortions per 1,000 live births.” Which is a staggering number and to add to this it is also shown that in teenagers, the fetus is aborted at a younger age than that would be with an older woman, because of pressure indecision and the fear of parents of younger women finding out about the pregnancy. For comparison in the UK, you can have an abortion until the fetus becomes viable (could live independently) which is 24 weeks; you could, therefore, call it a pro-choice country, where freedom reigns.
But why would this affect you and why you should care because although it may seem you could have an abortion just in saying you want one, there are four reasons you would be allowed an abortion, the first is that the pregnancy puts the mother’s life in harm’s way, the second being that it poses a risk to the mothers mental or physical health, the third is an additional child imposes on the rest of the family and thus causes a risk to the mother’s health, and the fourth and final reason being the child will be born severely handicapped or impaired. In most cases if the abortion needs to take place urgently, a second doctor’s permission isn’t needed, and for certain cases where the expecting party is under the age of 16, parental consent isn’t needed but it is encouraged to inform parents on the situation, so one can make an informed decision, but at the end of the day it is the young woman’s choice, and she may believe that no-one can affect the decision she’s already chosen to make. Some countries, however, do not allow abortion, such as Iraq, who uphold Muslim values on the sanctity of life and therefore do not allow abortions ever.
Some would argue that in countries where abortion is thought to be immoral and is not allowed is a good thing but abortion still takes place. It is hard to know how many illegal abortions take place, but in areas of the world where abortion is illegal, women turn to backstreet abortion clinics, this is not in any way good however, because they are often unsafe, unhygienic and extremely risky procedures and a large proportion of the women who have these unsafe abortions die from disease because the abortions weren’t sterile. For example in Myanmar a province of Burma in Southeast Asia “Others visit backstreet clinics run by untrained quacks who use anything from umbrella shafts to twigs or bamboo to try to dislodge the fetus.” As you can see across the world religion and law are causing women to go to extreme lengths just to preserve the life they have and what doesn’t help is debates concerning abortion are always heated and the views of life are always debated inadequately. Moreover, even in places such as the U.S. which for the most part abortion is legal, you’ll find “crisis pregnancy centers” and as stated by Planned Parenthood “When looking for a place to get an abortion, beware of “crisis pregnancy centers.’ These fake clinics seem like medical centers that offer abortions or other pregnancy options, but they’re actually run by people who want to scare or shame people out of getting an abortion”. In the states that planned parenthood is legal is ready to help those in need even if you just need information, for example, their webpage has a video that discusses the basic information of an abortion. The video also explains how you will get a check-up, take an exam explaining your situation and most likely an ultrasound to show the severity of the pregnancy.
The ideas of abortion aren’t from nowhere, they originate from worlds of the holy texts where it is explained that the sanctity of life is the belief that all life is sacred, important, a gift from God, and should be protected and also respected at all times; this belief of the sanctity of life is triggered by content of the Bible, “To the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) which shows that we were all made in the image of God, therefore we shouldn’t ever even consider abortion. Another quote from the Bible claims a reason why not to abort is “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16), this quote can be interpreted in the way that in the killing, you’re destroying God’s temple. In order to agree with the idea, you must agree that there is such a thing as subjective morality, and as Catholics do, they believe that abortion is wrong. These are powerful words and I know my limitations on the understatement of religion come into play here because with such inspiring words on the future of life and how we should live but then God allows for the plague and large scale war? With these statements, a genuine issue, or problem with abortion is deciding when we would consider a fetus as a human life that is if we do at all.
This I feel can be a huge misconception that depending on your parent’s upbringing as well as many other factors can result in huge verbal and mental harassment. This is where I agree with The Methodist Church who has been known to be pro-choice because they believe that in certain circumstances, abortion is acceptable, and the woman has the right to choose as they should but these are when the woman is in grave danger. The reason they believe this is to class a fetus or embryo as life but not as sacred as the life of the woman, as she is already born, and so more of a human than the fetus could, or should be considered as. Now a better understanding of the argument at hand I feel can be achieved by a scenario where someone can accurately apply their ethics.
For example consider a woman who is only twenty, and has been raped. She is in college working towards a better future for her, and the family she intends to create in the future when she is ready. Her family being Catholic will most likely tell her to keep the child no matter how much she doesn’t want to. She will most likely have to drop out of university, live with her parents if they take her and furthermore have to get a job that doesn’t require a college diploma. This job has to be able to support a child, the mother, both of their futures by itself without another person such as a husband to help take care of them. Of course, the parents will most likely help them but say that they don’t and with that, they could even not allow them to live with them. Although such an extreme scenario is unlikely it does happen and why should you care? Think 10 years down the line and your own child gets raped and this an awful thing to think about but say your significant other if there is one is an extremely passionate Catholic or has parents in this same regard, no matter what your views are your child is now stuck between two worlds where if she chooses to go with the views of religion over her own then she now has a child. If she chooses to logically get an abortion for adequate reasons she may lose the help and/or respect of a huge part of her family because she did what she felt was right.
I feel no need to continue that for the fear of my own future and what it entails but to explain, religion is a huge, beautiful and powerful entity in this world that comes with hundreds of different views and several that are plain wrong but they are there and a person has every right to follow them. But I feel that no matter what we are people, human beings before any religion and we need to look out for each other especially our own children that if a possible mother or father feels that they are not ready for a child, a new world really, then they need to put beliefs, ideas and any notion of religion aside and take into account what’s most important and that is the child at hand and what world they are coming into. I stand with pro-choice no matter the God who opposes me.
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