Explain How Belief in the Sanctity of Life May Influence Ethical Approaches to Abortion

457 Words2 Pages
The sanctity of life theory is the idea that all humans are created in the image of God (imago dei), and because of this only God has the right to give or take life. An embryo, if considered a person, cannot be aborted if someone believes in the sanctity of life, for only God has the right to do this. Natural Law uses the sanctity of life in its approach to abortion. Natural Law is a theory which uses the five absolute (i.e. cannot be broken) primary precepts to make moral decisions. One of these primary precepts, “preservation of innocent life”, leads to abortion being forbidden. Natural law observes the sanctity of life thesis, considering an embryo / foetus to be a person. However, although Natural law respects the sanctity of life, it is by no means a religious theory, for it is based on objective truth. Despite Natural Law forbidding abortion, there is a doctrine of double effect that can be implemented. If the mother’s life is threatened as a result of the pregnancy, for instance during an ectopic pregnancy, then the destruction of the fallopian tube would be acceptable. Here, the primary aim is not the terminate the pregnancy but to save the mother’s life. The secondary effect is that the embryo is destroyed. Here, abortion would be permissible even by Natural law followers, who believe in the sanctity of life. The sanctity of life can be deconstructed into weak and strong theses. The strong sanctity of life, the pro-life argument, strongly asserts that God is the creator of life and creates us in his image. We are therefore different to animals (God blew into Adam’s nostrils, not into other animals). This brings up the idea that humans are different, or special. Humans, according to this theory, are created at conception, rather than at birth (or even after birth as Peter Singer believes). Because of the special nature of humans, they cannot be
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