Medical Ethics

Read the summary of the content below and then follow the links below to futher revision materials. Remember, if you get stuck, do contact your RE teacher for help and advice.

Key terms | Key themes | Key Quotes | Sample Questions | Extra Revision Materials

Key Terms






*Vivesection (Animal Experimentation

*Fertility Treatment

*AIH (Artificial Insemination by husband)

*AID (Donor)

*IVF (in-vitro fertilisation)

*GIFT (Gamma in-vitro fertilisation)

Key Themes

You will need to know about the following five areas:

  • Basic Concepts: What are abortion, euthanasia, fertility treatment, suicide and animal experimentation (and vivisection)? When is abortion allowed by law in England, what types of fertility treatment are available, what does the law say about suicide and how have people reacted to animal experimentation (see Hunt. Life Sciences).
  • Christian Attitudes Towards Abortion: Again you must show that you recognise that all Christians have different opinions!  Why does the Catholic Church believe it is wrong at all times, what have the Vatican Council and the Pope said?  Under what conditions do the Church of England (and other Protestant denominations) say that it is ok?  You should know the Pro-Choice and the Pro-Life opinions.  You should have a solid idea as to what the Bible says about abortion and the sanctity of life.
  • Christian Attitudes to Fertility Treatment: The Bible mentions infertility and all the churches recognise this. However, the use of sperm and eggs by others is questioned, especially if it involves what the Church classifies as ‘adultery’.  There are two opinions you need to know – (I) acceptable as long as husband’s sperm and   wife’s eggs are used, or (II) any form of embryo technology is wrong (e.g. AID, AIH, IVF, GIFT).
  • Christian Attitudes to Suicide:  In the past the Church said that suicide is wrong and that the soul of the person would automatically go to hell (eeek) and were not allowed to be buried on consecrated/holy ground.  Nowadays they are slightly more tactful!  It is no longer considered a ‘mortal sin’, but results in the family being treated with compassion and care.  Pressures are so great nowadays that some people see no way out.  Christian groups like the Samaritans help people who feel suicidal – they see this as their moral and Christian responsibility to God and others.
  • Christian Beliefs About the Use of Animals in Medical Research:  This is slightly confusing.  There are many viewpoints (as ever) but they are as follows:  Humans are more important than animals, therefore , the sacrificing of animals in order to save the potential lives of humans is acceptable.  However, other Christians believe that any form of animal testing and research is wrong.  Generally, Christians say that animal testing is a necessary evil for medical research, but totally wrong for cosmetic.

Key Quotes

  • ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…’ (Jeremiah 1:5)
  • ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…’ (Matthew 7:12)
  • ‘Hannah had no children because the Lord had closed her womb.’ (1 Samuel 1: 2,6)
  • ‘Rule over… every living creature that moves on the ground.’ (Genesis 1:28)
  • ‘Do not commit murder’ (Exodus 20:13)
  • ‘You are God’s Temple, where the spirit of God lives.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
  • ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your father.’ (Matthew 10:29)


If there are any problems or you have a question, email us at PJC (Mr Chester), EAT (Miss Taplin) or PJW (Mr Winter) ‘…’  Good luck!

  Other Revision Materials Religion and Science Revision Guidance Euthanasia Case Studies Powerpoint Fertility Treatment Powerpoint Religion and Science Wordsearch Mind Map Example