Anyone ever hear of a woman refusing an abortion to save her life?

The Church’s position is that abortion is never permitted, even to save the life of the mother. Yet I have never heard of a Catholic woman who has refused to have an abortion that would have saved her life. This woman would be a saint. But there ain’t any. Maybe some priests have heard of one, but I never have.

You’ll need to define “saved her life” better before we can answer.

In this case the person would be acting as a Christian…

here is one that is related …and she is a Saint

Not only did she not do an abortion…but she could have saved her life morally (not via abortion) …but since the child would die…she did not…

St. Gianna Molla.

In Christ,


Uh… St. Gianna Molla, anyone? One of the most popular saints of the twentieth century?

Thank you, come again.

EDIT: Oh, two people got it before me. Well played, gentlefolks.

yes she is a saint, Giana Molla, who could have even under laws of that time had a therapeutic abortion because she had cancer and the treatment would have posed grave risk for her unborn child, She elected to forgo treatment until after birth, and consequently died.

Closer to home I know at least 3 women, 2 of them family members, and one, myself, all of whom were told that continuing their pregnancies would endanger their own lives, and that treatment for their conditions would threaten their unborn children. all 3 of these cases happened in the years before RvW and in all 3 cases legal abortions could have been obtained, but were not chosen, because all 3 women were (are) Catholic. Two elected to undertake the prescribed treatments for their conditions (cancer) and both of them survived, and both bore healthy babies. The third did not undertake treatment (it was not cancer something else) until after her healthy child was born, but was cured eventually and lived in good health until her death from unrelated causes. Saints? I cannot say, but certainly heroes for life.

In my case I was told by 3 doctors (I got 3 opinions) to abort because I had a viral infection known to cause severe birth defects, and could not take the prescribed treatments at that time (1970). I just got supportive treatment during the first few months of pregnancy and bore a health child and recovered from my illness. This even though I was supposed to die because I would not take the prescribed drugs and treatments.

Bottom line, there is no such thing as “you will die if you have this baby” at best that is a doctor’s informed opinion, and to make a decision that positively ends the life of another individual cannot be balanced against a possible ill effect, even possible death of the mother.

There is no reason for a woman to have an abortion to save her life. That’s probably why you haven’t heard of any.

A lot of people like to use ectopic pregnancy as an example. However, in the case of ectopic pregnancy, the fallopian tube is removed to save the woman’s life. I have never heard of anyone refusing treatment. Though I have heard of some women waiting for the fallopian tube to rupture before acting on it…which is extremely risky, but I can’t blame them for hoping and praying that the situation resolves.

Another example they like to use is if a pregnant woman finds out she has uterine cancer or an otherwise diseased uterus. If the phyician tells her that she needs to start treatment, or that she needs a hysterectomy, the Church allows her to do so. I have heard of women delaying medical treatments until the fetus is viable, but that is not required of the Church. The age of viability is only 20 weeks BTW.

The Church does not deny medical treatments to women in need of them, even if there is threat to the fetus. The Church forbids DIRECT abortion. There is no need for a direct abortion to save a woman’s life. Therefore it would be difficult to come up with an example of a woman refusing treatment to save her life in order to save her child. Remember that a fetus needs a mother. Without the woman, the fetus dies.

If you can think of an example, let us know so we can help you understand.

Do your homework - a very simple Google search for “abortion saint” would have found your answer.


we had a team of doctors speaking at our last series of pro-life events, and all of them made the point, btw, that there is never a case where a partial birth abortion is preferable to allowing vaginal delivery to continue or to perform a caesarean. PBA always results in more trauma and danger to the mother. The cases where it has been used are instances of medical malpractice where a doctor is trying to cover up malfeasance and mishandling of the case.

I’m here - my mommy is in heaven…sorry

My godmother died in childbirth.
I don’t know all the circumstances,
as I was only seven at the time.

My cousin did - refusing abortion and chemo during her pregnancy to save the life of her child. She died of leukemia after her baby was born.


PBA is just a sick joke, it was cooked up to obtain intact foetal organs for research. The way the pro-aborts peddle it like its used in an emergency to save a woman’s life, a PBA requires dilation of the cervix, it takes 3 days to do it. Can’t be that big of an emergency if they can insert sea weed sticks and send her off to a hotel (what Tiller used to do).

Anyway, to the OP, there are lots and lots of cases of women who have risked and even lost their lives after refusing to abort, but you dont’ hear of it because it wouldn’t make the pro-abort cause very compelling.

According to Guttmacher’s stats, 98% of abortions are for social reasons, and something like 0.02% are for “life of mother”.

My grandmother did it. She is Methodist. She is still alive. The doctors begged her to abort my uncle.

Some years ago before the legalization of abortion, Readers Digest had a blurb of a women who was told that unless she aborted she would die.
I don’t recall the medical reason but it had to do with something to do with her chest.
She refused and as her pregnancy progressed it actually cured her of her medical problem. In other words, the pregnancy saved her life.

Readers Digest use to have many articles that were pro-life. I don’t know what it does now.

We are all called to be saints.

St. Gianna Molla’s daughter (the same child who was in her womb when she was diagnosed with cancer and told that she should have an abortion to save her life) attended her Canonization ceremony, and received a personal blessing from Pope John Paul II. :slight_smile:

I just read a story based on a real family where the mother and some of the children contracted polio during one of the last epidemics in the 50s. One child died, one was in an iron lung for almost a year, but ultimately recovered after a lot of therapy, two had mild cases and recovered, but the regnant mother was paralyzed. They were told it would be impossible for her to carry her pregnancy to term and that because of the locations affected she would almost certainly get worse and probably die from lung complications during delivery if not before and the child would certainly have been damaged in utero from the disease and subsequent treatment and periodic anoxia. The baby was born healthy in natural v.b., and the stimulation of internal muscles during delivery actually helped her regain some function, to benefit more from therapy and she was able to walk within 2 years of the child’s birth.

I have a very dear friend who lost her young daughter (she was in her early 30s) to the ravages of a particularly fast growing and terrible type of breast cancer. She was diagnosed during her fourth pregnancy with this terrible form of cancer and was told that it was a virulent strain of cancer and would therefore likely kill her if she did not have cancer treatment, which involved chemotherapy and radiation. She was told that she should have an abortion (she was about five months pregnant at the time but could have had a late term abortion if she chose) because the baby would not survive the treatment.

A life-long Catholic and very active in her Church and in the Faith, this beautiful young woman, a former college athlete no less, chose to carry her baby to full term and then go through her treatment. The baby was delivered early by C-section to gain more time for the mother but sadly it was too late. This young mother passed away about 18 months later, weighing less than 100 pounds, bald from her treatments and only until the last week or two, she faught to survive for her children.

The last few weeks, it became clear that nothing more could be done. The cancer had spread to her brain and all over her body. She chose to participate in hospice at her home and died surrounded by her beloved family.

This occurred about seven years ago – and just recently, her husband remarried a wonderful woman who loves his four children, including her youngest – a boy.

I attended this beautiful young woman’s funeral and saw so much love in that family. Her mother suffers terribly over this loss and feels so much sadness when she sees another woman raise her daughter’s children. She is grateful they have a mother but she feels so much pain in losing her. I’ve never seen such bravery in my life – from the woman who died, from the husband who respected and supported his wife’s choice, to my friend – who loved her daughter more because of the amazing sacrifice she made for her son. God bless this family and pray for them.

You have now.

My grandmother went to the hospital was advised to terminate her pregnancy, or face certain death.

So she checked out of that hospital and checked into a different one (Catholic, as it happens.)

She gave birth to my mother. And lived to be 76 years old.


Not to mention, it goes the other way.

I met a woman who had been 5 months pregnant and diagnoised with a nasty strand of cancer, she was told if she had the aboriton, got teh treatment, she’d live, and have a 98% chance of doing so.

Well, she didn’t. She said she was actually really angry at the doctors, because she could have given birth to a child that would have carried on her genes and been a “good” mark she’d leave on this earth.

Her husband actually left her because he didn’t want her to have an abortion, and all her firends and family just told her not to worry, she could have the abortion, get the treatment, and recover to have another shot at life.

But no, instead she died a few months after what would have been her due date, with no child and no husband and a very sad and guilty looking family.

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