Abortion

Syllabus requirements for GCSE/A'level regarding abortion:- definition, reasons for and against, Bible texts, principles and statements, case studies.

The Abortion Act was passed in 1967 and made the termination of pregnancy legal in this country, as long as the requirements of the act are complied with. The Act was amended in 1991, so that now there are four reasons under which abortion can be performed.

Section 1(1) of the Abortion Act 1967 currently provides:

1(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith -

(a) that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or

(b) that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or

(c) that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or

(d) that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

The following articles consider the effects that the change in law has had:

The Irish Government has adopted a different policy on abortion:

The ethics of abortion is a hotly debated issue, with a range of arguments adopted by those on either side. Two main themes are the status of the embryo and women's rights. Some hold that the developing embryo has no moral or legal status and thus abortion is solely a decision dependent upon the womans wish. Others may accept that the embryo had some status, but that the woman's right to choose what happens to her body is paramount and outweighs any regard that may be given to the embryo. Still others believe that the embryo has moral status and should be protected...

These and other arguments are considered in the following articles:

Many feel that abortion isn't the right solution to an unwanted pregnancy. The 'pro-life' movement is active in opposing abortion and implementing alternative options for women with a 'crisis pregnancy':

Another hotly debated issue is whether abortion is actually harmful for women, and therefore not the 'easy' solution that many seem to think it is:

This area of medicine can be especially difficult for those who disagree with the practice of abortion. The Abortion Act 1967 contains a 'conscientious objection' clause which means that a doctor can refuse to carry out an abortion or to sign the abortion certificate for a woman. A doctor who does this will generally refer his patient to another doctor. The following articles discuss some of the difficulties associated with conscientious objection:

An interesting point of contrast in that between abortion and euthanasia...

For a round up of news articles on abortion since 1997 go to news

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