Cancer and abortion

A friend of a friend possibly has cancer for the second time. She’s several weeks pregnant. I talked to our mutual friend, mentioning things like cancer treatment being allowed even during pregnancy, and how depending on the cancer she could continue her pregnancy.

Today I found out she had an abortion.

Our mutual friend didn’t feel it his place to say too much. I feel like I should have said more to him, made it clearer what was ‘allowed’ as far as her options. He’s generally pro-life, he talked to her a little, but didn’t push her. She hasn’t had the best history, and of several previous pregnancies only one made it to term. She worries about her cancer spreading again… the situation is just horrible from all sides. I suppose an abortion made sense in a way if she was thinking of her first child and being alive for them. Neither she, nor our friend, is Catholic (or Christian).

I… I feel like I should have said more. I feel guilty, culpable. I’m worried about my friend, and for his friend especially because this is a tragedy in any way you look at it. I can’t stand feeling like, in addition to everything else, there may be souls on the line as well. It was too easy to just say ‘cancer treatment is allowed, principal of double effect’ and assume that’s what would happen. The doctor probably said it would be easier treated without a pregnancy or… I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I should have said more.

Please pray for everyone involved.

What a tragic situation for your friend to be in and probably most terrifying as well with potential Cancer in the picture.

I will pray for all involved and for the healing, peace , health and well being of your friend. May the baby rest in peace and be entrusted to our loving Father.


Abortion does not make sense at all. There are absolutely no circumstances that justify a direct abortion.

I know. I’m saying that perhaps somehow to her it did. I don’t know her personally, she really is a friend of a friend. Maybe I’m trying to justify her actions. If she was unaware, if she didn’t know, that… makes it easier.

I’ve never had to deal with something like this in my life. And it really isn’t even my life. You hear stories about ‘well, what if this happens’ and it’s easy to reply with the correct answer. I mentioned the principle of double effect, I mentioned treatment being morally justifiable even if there was indirect harm. But I… don’t know her, I never talked to her. Maybe I should have, maybe I should have prayed more, said more.

Speaking in general:

direct abortion is always gravely immoral, regardless of intention and circumstances

indirect abortion is permissible in some dire circumstances

If a woman has cancer, needs treatment to save her life, and the child is far from viability, it may be morally permissible to undertake the treatment, even though it will result in the death of the prenatal. The typical case where this would be moral is one in which there is no way to save the prenatal: delaying treatment would likely kill both the mother and the unborn child. Even so, directly killing the prenatal is always a grave sin.

direct abortion carries the penalty of automatic excommunication

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