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I have been asked for this section of the coursework to describe the beliefs that Christians hold about their responsibilities for those at the beginning and at the end of their lives.

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As Christians we believe that Abortion and Euthanasia are wrong and that every persons’ life begins at the moment of contraception and at ends at the moment of natural death. Life is sacred and holy and is a gift from God; we therefore as human beings have no right to decide on when life should begin and end. God has decided these people should be born or die we therefore have no right to act out abortion or euthanasia. All human life including life developing in the womb is created by God in his own image and likeness and is therefore to be nurtured, supported and protected. Too many women have abortions for reasons which are not just enough for the killing of a human being.

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Some people believe that a woman has the right to choose whether she will have an abortion or not, but I think that this belief is selfish. Our right to choose is limited by the rights of other people. For example, if this ‘right to choose� were applied to another situation it would not be appropriate; very few people would say that an employer has the right to employ someone on the basis of their gender or the colour of their skin. Also, the woman is not the only one affected by an abortion, family members and the father in particular are greatly affected. It is has been said that the woman is the only person who should decide whether she should continue her pregnancy or not and that the woman’s partner has no right to prevent her having an abortion. It can then be said that the woman then has no right to call on her partner for support and that both parents have the mutual right to abandon their responsibilities.

It has been said that a foetus is not a human being; it is merely part of the woman. Whereas, medical science has proved that the foetus is biologically separate from its mother. From the moment the embryo is formed a new individual comes into existence, genetically different from its parents. The development of vitro fertilisation has proven that an embryo can exist outside a female body. All these scientific advances confirm that the unborn is a separate human being. The terms ’embryo�, ‘foetus�, ‘baby�, ‘child� and ‘adult� are just different words for a human being at different stages of life. Given the right necessities, a foetus has the potential to grow into an adult.

Many women think that they would have to give up their job or education if they were to have a baby, but now this is not true. There are laws, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Even though a woman may have to postpone some of her plans, the unborn baby’s right to live should take priority over the mother’s right to a certain lifestyle.

Some may argue that the law should not interfere with what goes on in the retreat of a woman’s womb. I believe that inside a woman’s womb a human being is undergoing the process of growth and development and is permitted to the protection of the law.

I believe that many of the reasons for having abortions are totally unacceptable. For example, there have been reports that some pregnancies were terminated because parents decided that their child was the ‘wrong� sex. I think that too many women do not look hard enough to find the possible solutions of the problems that arise with pregnancies. Parents must take more responsibility as the situation has only arisen because of the parents� negligence whilst having sex. In my opinion, if a woman does not feel she is ready to bring up a child, the best option is to put the child up for adoption, as there are thousands of people who are desperate to foster or adopt children. I also believe that it is right to terminate the life of one or more foetuses involved in a multiple pregnancy to preserve the life of other foetuses. Finally, I think that although doctors should consult other doctors, they should not be prosecuted for carrying out an abortion in extreme circumstances. For example, in 1938, Dr Alexander Bourne performed an abortion on a 14-year-old girl after a gang of soldiers raped her. Dr Bourne informed the police and was prosecuted.

My main feeling about abortion is that it denies the most basic human right, the right to live.

In an address to doctors visiting Rome for Holy Year celebrations, the Pope told them they had an unshakable mission to defend life from its natural start to its natural end. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception and ends at the moment of natural death. The Church defends the rights of Roman Catholic doctors, even those working in public institutions, to claim conscientious objection to abortion or euthanasia and not be party to them.

Linked to abortion is euthanasia, which also involves the taking of life and is illegal in this country. It is still taking away a life, no matter the reason, and is therefore neglecting God’s teachings. Voluntary euthanasia is where the patient and no one else makes the decision to die. It is different from suicide as the person is generally incapable of killing him or herself and will therefore ask someone else to help them die. Under our laws today, however if someone commits euthanasia by helping someone to die they can be sentenced to prison.

The Roman Catholic Church state that euthanasia is totally wrong and that life is sacred and only God can make a decision over death. Roman Catholics do accept that it is right to ease the suffering of those who are terminally ill, often knowing that the side affects of drugs may well speed up the death of a patient. This is known as the doctrine of double effect.

The patient might not be in the right state of mind to make a decision, as they may be depressed or full of pain and then when they feel better they may change their mind.

People also believe that nursing the sick is one way of helping Jesus. As he was often portrayed as helping all kinds of people and illnesses. Others believe that suffering is a way of strengthening faith and belief in God. It is also morally wrong. It also goes against the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’.

Euthanasia should not be practised as it violets God’s gift to us, it may be our life to do with as we want but God gave us this life, we should be grateful for this. I believe Euthanasia is unacceptable but I do believe in the doctrine of double effect.

I believe that at the beginning and the end of people’s life’s we should respect them by giving them the chance to live and sense God’s world and what he has planned for us. We owe it to them to give them the basic human right to live and we owe it to ourselves.

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Kylie Garcia

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