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Topics Sanctity of Life – Strong Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life – Doctrine of Double Effect Doctrine of Double Effect – Weak Sanctity of Life.

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Presentation on theme: "Topics Sanctity of Life – Strong Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life – Doctrine of Double Effect Doctrine of Double Effect – Weak Sanctity of Life."— Presentation transcript:

1 Topics Sanctity of Life – Strong Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life – Doctrine of Double Effect Doctrine of Double Effect – Weak Sanctity of Life Weak Sanctity of Life – Strengths and weaknesses Strengths and weaknesses Quality of Life – Quality of life calculus calculus – Concerns Concerns – Scholarly opinion Schol Right to Lifefe – Criteria Crite – Mary Anne WarrenAnne Warren – Warnock Committee Warno

2 Sanctity of Life Question What makes your life Sacred/Set apart from other forms of life? Think of some examples of how your life is Sacred!

3 Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life Doctrine of Double Effect Weak Sanctity of Life Strengths and weaknesses

4 Pro-Life Pro-Life groups support the notion that all life is sacred from natural conception to natural death. God gives life. Man has no right to create or destroy life.

5 Supporting scripture: Old and New Testament So God created humankind in his image (imago dei). – Genesis 1:27 God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils. – Genesis 2:7 – Divine Spark

6 Supporting Scripture: Old Testament God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. – Genesis 1:28

7 Supporting Scripture: Old Testament He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ – Job 1:21 You shall not murder. – Exodus 20:13

8 Supporting Scripture: New Testament Christ’s incarnation reaffirms the sanctity of human life – we are set apart – John 1:14. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

9 Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life Doctrine of Double Effect Weak Sanctity of Life Strengths and weaknesses

10 Double Effect… A scenario where the pregnancy will result in the death of mother and child. The intention is to save the mother’s life. A consequence is the death of the child. E.G. Foetus begins to develop in the fallopian tube.

11 Criticisms Some think that this is the same as aborting a child intentionally if the mother’s life is in danger. How do you gage intentions ?

12 Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life Doctrine of Double Effect Weak Sanctity of Life Strengths and weaknesses

13 Ethical Disticntions Extraordinary means is a justification for killing. Consider the Christian principle of love and compassion.

14 Church of England (1965) Abortion: An Ethical Discussion This document expressed the overriding compassion for the needs of the mother, especially where there is a threat to her mental or physical health.

15 Church of England (1993) Abortion and the Church 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 life admits surely of few exceptions indeed.

16 Church of England (1993) Abortion and the Church Circumstances exist where the character or location of the pregnancy renders the foetus a serious threat to the life and health of the mother, in such circumstances the foetus could be regarded as an ‘aggressor’ on the mother.

17 Church of England (1993) Abortion and the Church The mother would be entitled to seek protection against the threat to her life and health which the foetal life represented.

18 Sanctity of Life Strong Sanctity of Life Doctrine of Double Effect Weak Sanctity of Life Strengths and weaknesses

19 Strengths All human life equal value. – Race, gender etc Killing is always wrong. – All have a future. Equal dignity. – Irrespective of disability. Avoids too much group pressure and power – E.g. taboos on disability.

20 Weaknesses: Charles Darwin The theory of Natural Selection challenges the notion of imago dei. If life is not in the ‘image of God’ then we are no different from other animals.

21 Weaknesses: Immanuel Kant No reason to link vital signs to valuing life. – It is not the development of the body that makes you human. He linked the possession of reason to valuing life. – It is the development of reason that makes you human.

22 Weaknesses: Peter Singer To threat the human life as having a special priority over animal life is ‘ speciesisms ’. He did a lot of work on Animal Rights. – See booklet on extracts from Moral Problems.

23 Weaknesses: Other Value all life, not just human foetuses. – Mother and child – see Thomson. Conflicts of duty are not dealt with. – Which life is more sacred: mother or child?

24 Quality of Life Question What gives your life value? What actions, abilities do you consider vital to your life?

25 Quality of Life Quality of Life Calculus Concerns Scholarly opinions

26 Quality of life calculus The value of life to vary by its quality: – The immanence of death – Constancy of pain – Ability to think – Ability to enjoy life – Ability to make rational choices Who benefits and whose quality of life is being judged? – Foetus, parents, society?

27 Quality of Life Quality of Life Calculus Concerns Scholarly opinions

28 Quality of Life Concerns When considering ‘Quality of Life’… – Is there a danger of ‘ playing God ’? – Are we treating the foetus with dignity ? – Consider the slippery slop to actions like the Holocaust !

29 Quality of Life Quality of Life Calculus Concerns Scholarly opinions

30 Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse It would be better to drop the Sanctity of Life Ethic and work out a Quality of Life Ethic instead.


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