The Study of Ethics
Examine and comment on the view that the religious and/or moral principles provide essential guidelines for medical ethics, with reference to the topic you have investigated.
The principle of sanctity of life should always be considered as first priority in medical ethics, especially in abortion – the topic which I have chosen to investigate – which deals with the life and death of the unborn child that, arguably God only has the right to end. The principle of sanctity of life is the idea that all human life is of equal intrinsic value, except in cases of legitimate defence of others’ lives is it always intrinsically wrong to take human life. This principle therefore defines abortion as an immoral act, because it is an act of destroying
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Arguably the idea of personhood can be considered just as vital in making ethical medical judgment as sanctity of life. Killing an innocent human being is wrong – however, people argue that a foetus is not a human being therefore it is not wrong, the problem lies in the fact that the development of a fertilised egg to child is continuatious, therefore it’s difficult for those who want to defend abortion to establish a morally significant dividing line between the earliest stages of life. Peter Singer, a theologian,, states that the dispute about abortion is often taken to be a dispute about when a human life begins. He shows the problem in relation to four points at which human life emerges, birth, viability, quickening and the onset of consciousness. He also notes that children when the foetus can hear, see and cuddle people morally sympathise with them more over the unborn foetuses therefore killing a foetus is acceptable. Albert Schweitzer, a philosopher, developed a theory of ‘reverence for life’ where people should have reverence all form of life as all form of life has