Abortion as Therapy?

What is § 15 of Humanae Vitae saying? Is it talking about abortion. I began reading it and became lost.


Is there ever a lawful means for abortion? Such as the mother’s life in danger? Or even is that wrong? I will be searching the CCC too and trying to find my way around.


  1. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.

No it is not talking about abortion.

It is talking about treatments that may have unintended effects on fertility/procreation, which includes the possibility of the death of an unborn baby.

But - the death cannot be intended. In abortion, the death is always intended.

Also - pregancy itself is not a “bodily disease”. Some pregnancies, called ectopic pregnancies, are considered diseases, in that left untreated they pose great risk to the mother’s health. Here a treatment will involve the removal of the diseases organ (the fallopian tube) which results in the babies death, but the death is not intended.

In Catholic moral theology, there is never a circumstance in which direct abortion is acceptable.

Ok that clears things up a little. Now I have heard of situations medically (I don’t know how often these things come about) when the mother or the baby is to be saved or let go. What about in these situations?


Firstly, I’ll repeat what I said above:

So that rules out any medical treatment that is in fact a direct abortion, even in the circumstances you suggest.

Secondly, of course every effort is made to save both. If one cannot be saved, there is no Church rule that it has to be one or the other that is prioritised. It is acceptable to allow an unborn baby to die in the treatment of a mother’s disease, or to allow the baby to come to term even if the mother will die. The case of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla is often cited in these discussions, so you could look up her case.

I see thank you. I have never heard of St. Gianna. But I guess she could of opted under church theology to have the hysterectomy. I see.


You’re welcome Bill.

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