To what extent have changes in moral values been reflected in the laws of the uk Essay

Values are important to us, it’s what influences our behaviour. Moral values are linked to essential human emotions and experiences that encourages us in distinguishing ways, to identify principles that lead us to assess what’s right and wrong. Due to morals being different to every individual, this has made it difficult for the English legal system to implement morals. There are many examples to conflicting morals such as Abortion, Homosexuality and Euthanasia. These issues have taken into the public eye drastically; moral values have now changed. The public has matured in understanding situations relating to these issues, which has shown through implemented legal acts set in place, such as the Abortion act (1967), the Sexual Offences act (1967) and the Suicide act (1961).

The issues stated above have been heavily impacted on today’s society, times have changed. During the early 19th century, all these acts were non-existent up until the mid 19th century. All three of these acts have changed lives, the Abortion act allowed women who had been raped, to have an abortion if they were unable to financially support a child or simply not ready to be a mother. The public have defended the abortion act presented by the government as the abortion rates have gone up significantly. “In 2017, approximately 206",880 abortions took place in Great Britain alone which has gone up by 4",411 since 2016.” The Sexual Offences act was released not too long ago nevertheless, it allowed people be themselves and come out about their sexuality proudly. “Data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that people who classify themselves as being either “gay” or lesbian’ or” bisexual” stood at approximately 1",026",000 in 2016- up to 11.4% on the previous year; the largest increase since ONS records began. Now that the Sexual Offences act has come into place, there are a lot of younger citizens who are part of the LGBT community; People aged 16 to 24 were most likely to identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual than any other age group, with 4.1% of young people fitting into these categories- amounting to nearly one in 20 young people in the UK.” “Only 50 years ago committing suicide was illegal however the sense in suicide being illegal wasn’t well thought out; as if someone were to commit suicide, they’d be dead so how could the law charge them with any type of liability.” “The police found Lionel Henry Churchill with a bullet wound in his forehead…he had tried but failed to take his own life. In July 1958 he was sent to prison for approximately 6 months after pleading guilty to attempted suicide. His story made a few columns in the Times.” In this situation, the reason for Mr Churchill’s arrest was probably seen as unnecessary as it caught The Times newspapers’ attention. There were many other people who were seen as ‘liable’ for trying to take their own life due to their distress. Within euthanasia, it is only legal in the minority of countries, the UK has made euthanasia illegal as it’s believed that this form of deliberate death is seen as murder or manslaughter. “On the other hand, some doctors do carry out euthanasia despite it being illegal due to ethical problems as some public sectored employees believe that people should be allowed to die in dignity and without having to live in immense pain.” Moral values have clearly been deeply affected if all these acts came into place, the parliament must have noticed the amount of people who didn’t want children or everyone who took up an abortion illegally and therefore put the Abortion act into place. Similarly, with the Sexual Offences act the parliament must have considered a lot of peoples moral values to make a law for people who are attracted to the same sex.

Abortion is a controversial topic in today’s society, majority of the UK are okay with such an action, however many aren’t. Within religions, Christianity and Islam both see abortion as wrong but its permitted to a certain extent; such as, if the mother’s life is in danger due to the baby, an abortion would be suggested. Christianity believes in the saying “God can only give and take life” where there are “strictly limit conditions under which may be morally preferable to any available alternative, in hindsight this means abortion should be seen as the very last option. Christianity believes “life begins when the woman’s egg is fertilised by a male sperm.” Despite, how many people were against abortion, the public now have an open view to it as well as it being an open choice. Ireland has recently legalised abortion through public votes where a staggering 66.4% of the population voted yes, a majority of 706",349; being the greatest turnout for a ballot on social issues which demonstrations a deep commitment to improve despite a bitter campaign. Islam also allows abortion within reason, such as for the protection of the mother’s life, for the sake of the baby (if they were to have a physical or mental deformity which is incurable) or if the woman has suffered from rape, incest or adultery. Muslims believe in the saying from the Qur’an 5:32; “Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has killed all of mankind.” Islam rarely permits abortion after 120 days as some believe that’s when life starts, different opinions Muslims also believe is that life starts is at 40 days and others when there’s voluntary movement of the foetus. Many abortions take place in the UK with the reasoning of ‘not being about to provide for the child’, Muslims believe they should trust Allah to look after things; Qur’an 17:32 “Kill not your offspring for fear of poverty; it is we provide for them and for you. Surely, killing them is a great sin.” The current law governing abortion provides the oldest extant statutory framework leading any specific medical method in the UK. “Within s.58 to s.60, the outcome states whoever had the intend to force a miscarriage, whoever has unlawfully supplied a poison of such as well as a secret disposition upon themselves should be seen as guilty of an offence, convicted and liable where the sentence lies between a penal servitude for life (58), imprisonment for five years (59) or imprisonment for two years (60).” Overall, abortion happens worldwide, it is now inevitable for the abortion rates to go up never mind the reason.

Homosexuality is a romantic and sexual attraction towards the same sex. Homosexuality wasn’t seen as normal before, it was seen more like a problem as many people were against it but ever since the Sexual Offences act (1967) came into place, it allowed people who were attracted to the same sex have a relationship publicly without having to be ashamed. People are now for homosexuality and supporting people who are gay, this is shown through having a ‘LGBT month’ which is held in February, it celebrates people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual. “1 in 50 people in the UK now say they are, lesbian, gay or bisexual, the amount of people who identify themselves as LGB increased last year by 2%. The proportion was up by 1.7% in 2015 according to ONS which means there’s over 1 million people who identify themselves as LGB in 2016. Now in the recent year being 2019; there must be even more people who identify themselves as part of the LGBT community.” Before the decriminalisation of homosexuality, life was seen as ‘lonely’. Professor Brian Heaphy, an expert from the University of Manchester, explained that “Homosexuality was often treated as an illness by doctors and psychiatrists, who thought they could ‘heal’ people who were attracted to the same sex by treating them. The professor also had stressed on the fact that “people who were LGBT were forced to hide their true identities from their family, friends and the public to avoid being singled out or harassed.” Despite, the past of homosexuality, it is now seen as normal and widely loved.

Islam and Christianity don’t condone homosexuality however some Orthodox Christian churches in recent times have called for tolerance. A biblical perspective on being Christian and gay isn’t known as ‘gay Christians’ but preferring to use the term of ‘same-sex attracted’. There are many passages in the bible that directly mention homosexuality, most being against; Romans 1:18-32: “Homosexual desire is the only thing that God did not originally intend but all our desires have been distorted by sin”. Paul describes “both lesbian and male homosexual behaviour as ‘unnatural’”. Nevertheless, 2% of the population are white gays which shows the society and public have come less secular due to the increase of the LGBT community within Christianity. Religion within people somewhat takes part in hate crime towards those who are LGBT as peoples’ religious beliefs feel like they’ve been disgraced by those who are gay. Homosexuality in Islam isn’t allowed and is seen as ‘haram’, Islam believes that being gay should receive punishment. Islamic scholars overwhelmingly teach that same-gender sex is a sin, the death penalty instead comes from the Hadith, or accounts of the sayings of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Islam doesn’t condone Homosexuality whatsoever. Being gay in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran etc. will receive punishment usually being the death penalty. This is followed through by Muslims and their religious beliefs as it is deeply haram in Islam as its stated in the Qur’an. Moral values in most Muslim countries are taken very seriously (as well as in Muslim households) but only in one way by teaching everyone from a young age what’s haram and halal.

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