Abortion to save the life of the mother



I am looking for a clear and difinitive answer regarding the Catholic Church’s official teaching on the ethics of abortion in relation to saving the life of the mother. I have found some info. at CUF regarding tubal pregnancies but I am looking for more.



Here’s where you have to quit citing rules and reason from principles.

The RULE is that abortion is never moral under any circumstances.

What you might miss in reading that rule is that abortion is defined as the direct and intentional termination of a pregnancy.

When a woman has a portion of her fallopian tubes removed because of an ectopic pregnancy, that action is not an abortion. The death of the child is an undesired, unintended but unavoidable side effect of saving the mother’s life via the removal of that section of tube.

There may be other situations where no action would result in two deaths where medical intervention intended to save one party that has the unintended side effect of killing the unborn child is a moral choice.

But don’t be fooled in political abortion debates. When a politician seeks exemption for the “health” of the mother, he’s really seeking to sap ALL enforcability out of the law. Courts have ruled that “health” means anything a woman wants it to, including how she feels about her prospects in life.

Because politics often distorts good definitions, catholics can arguably politically support exceptions to save the LIFE of the mother, but not the health.

In fairness, I’m no help to your real question since I’m nobody definitive. Just been a pro-life catholic my whole life.


When I first started attending RCIA, I picked up a book that some might consider lame, but had a lot of good information nonetheless. It is called “Catholicism for Dummies”. :smiley:

In it, they clearly state that the mothers life takes precedence in all situations. However, that does not mean abortion. This means that in cases where the mothers life is in danger because of something such as uterus cancer, or what have you, the doctors can perform the necessary surgeries to remove the uterus, or remove what the problem is. If the doctors kill the unborn baby in the process on purpose, then it is an abortion. If they try to do everything in their power to save both the baby and the mother, and the baby still dies, then it is considered a natural death because the intention was to save both lives, although it wasn’t quite possible. Quite unfortunate to happen. If both are saved, then the better. :smiley:

God bless!


I’ll expand the above to note that this is the case even if it is very clear beforehand that it is virtually certain that they will not be able to save both.


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