Some religious leaders in Malawi are opposed to the review of abortion laws.
This entry investigates the moral basis used by Christian churches when saying no to abortion.
There is heated debate in the country over the Termination of Pregnancy Bill about to be debated in Parliament.
Collins English Dictionary defines “abortion” as an operation to end pregnancy or the premature ending of a pregnancy before the foetus can live independently.
There are several reasons a woman chooses not to keep a pregnancy.
Some women abort to time childbirths, especially when a woman realises that she has a pregnancy at a wrong time in accordance to her aspirations.
Others terminate pregnancy to control family size. Yet others abort for economic reasons, saying that they cannot afford to properly care for a child.
There are also women who abort because of relationship problems, particularly partners’ objection to carrying the pregnancy to term.
And there are unmarried persons who opt for abortion because they are too young to give birth or afraid that their parents or others would object to their pregnancy.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 is the most cited scripture used by Christians who believe that the life begins in the womb of a woman.
It reads: “Then the word of the Lord came into me , saying, Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou comest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Many Christian, therefore, liken the termination of pregnancy to killing.
Besides the scripture that support Christian opposition to abortion, there is the Deontological Theory of Ethics, as opposed to Situational Ethics Theory, that Christians use against abortion.
The theory, which takes its name from the Greek word deon (duty), focuses on doing the right action.
Similarly, Christians are demanded to do what is demanded of them by God: “Do not kill.”
The ethical theory insists that certain actions are inherently right or wrong, regardless of the consequences.
This is why Abraham in the Bible had to obey God’s command to sacrifice his son even though it would be morally wrong in human perspective.
There are a number of philosophers who propagate deontological ethics, including Greek great Socrates, who has influenced western philosophical thought and tradition.
He argued: “Ethics must be rooted in the belief that things are intrinsically right or wrong. What is right or wrong is to be determined by reason.”
German philosopher Immanuel Kant shared Socrates’ belief that moral duties are inherently obligatory simply because they are duties.
In his reasoning, one behaves morally because it is right to do so for the sake of it.
For Immanuel Kant, actions are intrinsically right or wrong, regardless of their consequences.
Some Christian churches are against abortion because abortion is an idea of situational ethics, pioneered by Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991).
Situational ethics, according to Fletcher’s model, states that decision-making should be based upon the circumstances of a particular situation, not upon fixed law.
The only absolute is Love, so love should be the motive behind every decision.
This means that as long as love is your intention, the end justifies the means.
All in all, according to God, life of a human being starts at impregnation in the womb of a woman.
Except at times when the life of a mother is endangered, abortion is not acceptable to Christians.
Rejection of abortion on the part of Christian believers is about doing a duty that God commands in his Commandment: “You shall not kill.”
The idea of situational ethics—or dangers faced by women and girls who clandestinely seek abortion—will not work among Christians.