The Right to Life & The Use of Medical Technology

The Right to Life & The Use of Medical Technology


religious studiesMost Christians are opposed to abortion, although many will accept it in a few well-defined sets of circumstances. Both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church base their opposition to abortion on the belief that the foetus has the right to life.

The Church of England has consistently said that the number of abortions in Britain is too high. However, a 1980 statement a statement from the General Synod, the Church’s ruling body, said that if ‘…the continuance of a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother a termination of pregnancy may be justified and that there must be adequate and safe provision in our society for such situations.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that abortion is never acceptable as it constitutes the deliberate taking of life. Only God can decide when a human being should die, and the foetus is human from the moment of conception. Any one who has an abortion, or helps someone to have one is automatically excommunicated. Excommunication means expulsion from the Church.


The Use of Medical Technology

Fertility treatment

religious studiesSome Christians believe that if a couple cannot have children for any reason, this is the will of God and it should not be challenged. Others believe that since we have created the technologies such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) there is no moral reason not to use them to help people have children. Christian advocates of fertility treatment point out that God told Adam and Eve to ‘be fruitful and increase in number’, meaning that they should have children.

Some Christians reject surrogacy as a treatment for infertility because it involves a third party and so acts against the strongly held belief that the family unit consisting of one man and one woman is sacrosanct.

Genetic engineering

Many Christians reject genetic engineering as this interferes with the creation of life itself, and only God has the right to do this.