Does the Definition of Human Life Stop Abortion Being Murder?

Topics: Definition, Central nervous system, Pregnancy Pages: 1 (443 words) Published: April 13, 2013
For different groups/people, abortion would or would not be seen as murder according to how they define life. The view of human life from the perspective of Catholics would be that life starts, and ensoulment happens at conception. Therefore the foetus is a separate life, so any deliberate elimination of the foetus would be classed as murder. Humanists would disagree with this view since they believe that the foetus is not a separate life until after birth. Therefore to abort the foetus would not be seen as murder. Feminist Humanists hold the same view on abortion, considering that until birth the foetus is a ‘growth’ inside the mother. The view that the foetus is merely a ‘growth’ in the mother could however be argued against on medical grounds. At the abortion limit of 24 weeks a foetus has viability with a 50-75% chance of surviving, only 4 weeks later these rates would rise to a 75-80% chance of survival. At these viability points the foetus can clearly be defined as a separate individual. As well as this, at 8-12 weeks old the central nervous system (CNS) of the foetus is developed to the stage of consciousness and self-awareness. This could also count the foetus as a separate individual because it would now be able to feel. Since both the arguments concerning viability and consciousness can count the foetus as a separate individual, to abort it would be seen as murder. Despite the fact that the CNS of a foetus is developed to consciousness at 8-12 weeks, at any time before 19 weeks a foetus cannot survive alone, which could classify it as not being a separate life. This view would not count abortion as murder. The stage where the foetus has a developed CNS at 8-12 weeks is a similar age to when Muslims believe that the Ruh enters the body, at between 45 and 90 days. Abortion is seen as murder in Islam, although it can also be seen as being self-defence in situations where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. One of the biggest...
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