Hi everyone. I’m in a discussion with an acquaintance. It’s not my goal to ferry questions and answers back and forth from that discussion. However, I would like to see if my response to his question is consistent with Catholic teaching and to gain other people’s views. It’s also something that I’m genuinely curious about myself. The end goal is that I’m better able to address this question in the future.
The discussion is regarding abortion, the dignity of the human person from fertilization (conception?) until natural death. He wants to know how we should respond to failed implantation and miscarriages, and specifically asked: “Do you think that the preventable death of unimplanted zygotes is a serious problem that should be addressed (by say treating people with a medication that harmlessly increases the rate of zygote implantation)?” I think this is a leading question, with a potential follow up of: “Then should women be required by law to take this medication?”
This is my response:
I do not believe so, though I do not say so with 100% certainty. An abortion is a violation of the moral law. Arguments can be made for encouraging the use of such medications to encourage implantation and better the health of a fetus, but forcing the use of a drug on a person strikes me as also being a violation of a person’s dignity (barring any real mental illness in which they are no longer rational), and thus also immoral.
A failed implantation or a miscarriage is and should be sad, but it’s not a violation of the moral law by the mother. I think that is a key distinction that must be made. The important factor is that we respect the dignity of the human person until natural death, and a grave evil is when we don’t respect the dignity of life. Natural death, such as a miscarriage, isn’t necessarily a violation of this dignity, and there is a balance that must be struck with the dignity of the mother as a person, so long as we don’t use this to justify grave evils such as intentionally terminating the life of an innocent.