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Christian faith, reason and science

Ethics and the issues raised by medical technology

Do we embrace the possibilities opened up by medical advances, or reject them? The Bible isn’t as helpful as we might have hoped; but then the issues didn’t arise in Biblical times.  Abortion is an example.  “You shall not kill” may be misapplied.  One passage of possible relevance is Exodus 21:22-25; in some translations it seems to refer to a miscarriage caused by a fight, in which case it’s significant that the offence isn’t treated a s the taking of a life; but most translations refer instead to a premature delivery

 22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[a] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (NIV)

We talked about adoption, as a possible alternative to abortion on some occasions, and welcomed moves to be less politically correct and ethnically restrictive about the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents.  Loving and caring for people, in this as in other issues, is what matters.

Do people have the right to know who their biological parents are?  How do we view – and involve in the church – people who have undergone gender reassignment, or are going through the extended period of preparation such a procedure requires?  Issues such as these are sometimes confusing, and we probably have to fall back on the principle of loving and caring for people again.



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