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abortion intro

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Published on January 24, 2009

Author: ICTatCSG

Source: authorstream.com

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Slide 1: The Ethics of Abortion KQ: What are the key issues to consider in the abortion debate? The question of whether or not abortion is acceptable is informed by four key issues: Interpretation of the law The question of when an embryo / foetus becomes a human life. Whether the unborn foetus has a right to life. Whether a woman has the right of control over her own body. Whether doctors and nurses can be asked / required to take life away. Slide 2: 4 cell embryo – 2 days 3 weeks 12 weeks When is it a human being? 20 weeks Slide 3: UK Abortion Laws 1967 Abortion is made legal if TWO doctors agree that -there is a risk to the health of the mother if the pregnancy continued -there is a risk to the health of existing children -there is a substantial risk the baby might be seriously handicapped A doctor or nurse can refuse to participate in a termination (abortion) on religious/ethical grounds Abortion could happen no later than 28 weeks (a pregnancy lasts 39 weeks) Slide 4: UK Abortion Laws 1990 Abortion is limited to 24 weeks (unless the mother’s life is at risk). The time limit for abortion was reduced because medical technology has improved a great deal, and premature babies born at 24 weeks now have a far greater chance of survival. If a baby is able to survive without its mother, it is viewed as having a right to life, and is deserving of treatment to ensure its survival. There is currently a debate about reducing the time limit again, to 21 weeks. Slide 5: Interpreting UK Abortion Laws Some people argue that the law is too relaxed, and that in the UK there is ‘abortion on demand’. This means that anyone can get an abortion on the basis that the pregnancy would cause harm to the mental health of the mother – to be pregnant / have a child would be distressing and depressing. Some people argue that the law should be stricter about the circumstances under which abortion can occur. Some people would argue that women who choose to terminate (end) their pregnancy because they “cannot afford” or “don’t want” a baby are acting very selfishly, and that they have to accept the circumstances and be responsible for their actions which led to the pregnancy. Slide 6: Interpreting UK Abortion Laws Some people argue that it is good that the law is open to interpretation, and allows ‘social’ rather than just medical reasons for abortion. Social reasons include: Being too poor to bring a child up satisfactorily Being unmarried / not in a relationship with the father Not wanting to bring up a baby that is the result of a rape Not wanting a child at that time in life, perhaps because the woman is pursuing her career It is argued that women take abortion seriously, and should be trusted to give serious consideration to their actions. Some feminists argue that women do not have a duty to the foetus until it is born, and that until the child is born, the foetus is a bit like a tumour or parasite living off the woman’s body. A woman has a right to control her body and remove unwanted organisms. Slide 7: Key facts In 2007, for women resident in England and Wales: the total number of abortions was 198,500, compared with 193,700 in 2006, a rise of 2.5% the age-standardised abortion rate was 18.6 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, compared with 18.3 in 2006 the abortion rate was highest at 36 per 1,000, for women age 19 the under-16 abortion rate was 4.4 and the under- 18 rate was 19.8 per 1,000 women, both higher than in 2006 89% of abortions were funded by the NHS; of these, just over half (57%) took place in the independent sector under NHS contract 90% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation; 70% were at under 10 weeks medical abortions accounted for 35% of the total compared with 30% in 2006 1,900 abortions (1%) were under ground E, risk that the child would be born handicapped From the Department of Health website: www.dh.go.uk Slide 8: Too many abortions? Some people are very worried about the high number of abortions in the UK each year (the total number of abortions was 198,500, compared with 193,700 in 2006, a rise of 2.5%). They argue that the fact that abortion is available leads to irresponsible sexual behaviour leads to a failure to consider the rights of the unborn child leads to a devaluation of human life Slide 9: “Abortion is too easy” Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion showing you have considered another point of view.

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