Church used to allow some abortions?


#1

I was reading the Roe v Wade decision last night, and in it the impression is given that earlier canon law did not forbid pre-quickening abortions.

Seeing that I can’t find 18th Century canons in English… can anyone shed some light on this for me please?


#2

In times past, the process of human development in the womb was unknown. Great Saints of the past talked of humans going through a “vegitative state” in which they thought we were more like vegetable life than animal (human) life. Since vegatative life does not have a human soul, it was thought that the developing life was not yet human. Believing this, it would be conceivable that abortion could be allowed during that state but absolutely prohibited once a human soul was created (quickening) for the developing person. The time of quickening was determined to be when movement of the baby could be felt by the mother (under the false assumption that the mother would be able to feel any movement so the baby must not have been moving before that time - no movement, no human life, no soul, so abortion would be okay).

Recent advances in medical science has dispelled all of these misconceptions about human development but the important note on the views of the past is that the “acceptability” of abortion was always based on the idea that the child in question was not yet a human because he did not yet have a rational soul created for him by God. Once that soul was present, abortion was absolutely forbidden and that teaching goes all the way back to the first century of the Church.


#3

And even that is a little misleading. Certainly, in the Early Church, abortifacients and contraceptives were condemned regardless of whether the child had a soul or not. It was never a unanimous position that abortions were permissible before the quickening.


#4

[quote=JPrejean]And even that is a little misleading. Certainly, in the Early Church, abortifacients and contraceptives were condemned regardless of whether the child had a soul or not. It was never a unanimous position that abortions were permissible before the quickening.
[/quote]

Thanks for the clarification. You are absolutely correct! :thumbsup:


#5

The church consistently condemned abortion at any stage. The only question was (because of the “ensoulment” debate), whether it was to be classified as homicide.

The science is much better now. We know when a human being begins biologically. It is at conception that a new individual of the human species comes into existence. No need to worry about ensoulment.


#6

An example would be that Thomas believed that little boys became “souled” and thus human at 45 days and little girls at 90 days. (he also believed that everything was in the sperm and nothing came from the woman) However, an abortion before ensoulment was still interfering with God’s will and sinful.

IN Roe V Wade they talk about that when life begins being the determining factor. This is because the court won’t decide when life begins. It is also because of the vague right to privacy. Look up the 1965 case Roe refers too. It is an anti-contraception case that came up with the right to privacy to strike down the anti-contraception laws enacted by protestants. Their is a link between contraception and abortion. Abortion and homosexuality and so on.

Matt


#7

Actually, the Church never allowed aborition at all. NEVER.

Ill try and get the quote from the document (the DIDACHE).

In the Didache, it is mentioned just like that…


closed #8

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