In today’s society unwanted pregnancies are commonplace; most people have heard speculation and most people have formed their own opinions. Although many of us may not associate as a dilemma for a typical Christian woman, the amount of Christian couples who live together outside a marriage is at its highest. Most people today have sexual relationships outside marriage, this widely accepted and many following Christians choose it over marriage. Christians believe that children should be born inside of wedlock.
This obviously will bring problems, if Christian women are having sexual relationships outside marriage and fall pregnant. Their reasons for not wanting a child may vary, the relationship may be casual, and they may be at university or trying to commit to a career. Whatever their reasons, if a mother does not want to go through with a pregnancy or raising a baby, they are not obligated to by law. Many people do not agree with the fact that a woman can have complete say over whether she the fate of her unborn child. A Christian woman’s dilemma in this case is bound to be more severe, she may feel tied as to what to do.
She may not want to tell her family or speak to anyone to ask for advice as she may fell she’ll be looked at with shame. If she has considered abortion chances are she is feeling guilty due to the controversy associated with it. She may blame herself, thinking she should have known better or that it was her fault she fell pregnant. If the woman was raped she’ll feel very confused, she may not know if she actually could bring up a child whom was conceived in such a way. To go through with the pregnancy may mean to her shame and defeat.
Whatever the mother chooses, she can be sure it an easy decision to live with and it will probably stay with her for the rest of her life. The choices a mother faces may seem full and varied when discussed but, to the mother it may seem difficult at best. None of the options are ideal for her; none of them are what she would choose given the choice. Although she may not want to, she could choose to bring up the child herself. This is not an easy answer or quick fix, if the mother doesn’t want the child she may not bond with it and problems will arise.
The child will miss early exchanges of love and will grow up feeling unloved and the mother will feel she failed it. This will conflict with, as her faith states that it is a parent’s duty to offer a child a loving and caring environment. Adoption is a second choice. The expectant mother may feel it is the best thing to do; she isn’t harming the child, but offering it to a family where it can be loved and brought up in a good environment, the chance she cannot offer it. However this may cause problems inside her family, they may not agree with her putting it up for adoption, or she may feel attachment towards it.
She should be sure before she makes a decision. The last and most controversial option is abortion. In Britain a woman can legally terminate a pregnancy up until the 24th week. Although it’s allowed and widely accepted, it will most definitely raise strong moral questions for the mother. Her faith is not the only thing she’ll be considering. This could be one of the toughest decisions she’ll ever make, to kill a living being that is part of her isn’t something she’ll jump into lightly. There are several methods of abortion, one which involves her giving birth to a dead baby.
As well as the emotional side effects she has to consider the medical complications which could ensue. A Christian woman, as well as considering these points, will have to consider the attitudes her faith will have about hr decision. While the first two choices will be found acceptable by most denominations, the same cannot be said about abortion. Christian teaching possesses a keen desire to follow and apply the teachings of the bible. However given the fact that the bible doesn’t comment directly on abortion, and has conflicting interpretations, some denominations vary in their views.
Generally though, the church is united, against abortion. They believe it contradicts the sixth commandment (thou shall not kill). The Roman Catholic view teaches that, life begins the moment the sperm fertilises the egg. It is one of the key reasons they refuse to accept it. Another factor is ‘natural law’; Catholics believe the natural consequence of a woman falling pregnant is her giving birth. Although Catholics refuse to accept it as it as a solution for unwanted pregnancies, they understand it in special circumstances, such as the mother’s life being at risk.
As they believe all life is sacred they must acknowledge the mother’s too. The Church of England believes abortion to be a great moral evil, they accept it at times, such as severe disabilities in the mother or child, in the case of aids or if the pregnancy is life threatening to both mother and child. They think the current amount of abortions in Britain is far too high, and that abortion should only be seen as a last resort and not an easy solution. Methodists believe that life is sacred and a God-given gift.
They also believe to ability to control the fate of a child is an awesome power which we should never abuse. The gift of life is a precious thing, to be treated with respect and reverence. They accept abortion if it threatens the emotional or physical well being of the mother. The see abortion as a last resort. As something they only consider after long talks, prayer and reflection. Furthermore they believe any woman who has to endure this ordeal should be offered help and counselling. Another factor which affects a Christian’s belief on abortion is the Doctrine of Double Effect.
This is the idea that if an action is taken to achieve one effect knowing that is will produce another that you cannot be blamed for the second effect occurring. Many protestant denominations, such as Anglicans, Methodists and Quakers have been reluctant to draw a hard line as catholic do in the abortion debate. They often accept that there are certain situations where abortions are an unavoidable consequence of deciding between the ‘lesser of two evils’ (E. g. accepting that a woman who becomes pregnant after being raped may want an abortion). This is known as situation ethics.