I need some help with this question


My husband had this question. He did not give specifics about the conversation, but my suspicions are that he is trying to defend the recent ban on partial birth abortion. But I am not really sure.

And so, when there is a conflict between the church and a profession, it becomes a conflict between titans. Since the beginning in the late 20th century, the nature of these conflicts has become not one of competing scientific truth claims, but one of clashing claims about the moral use of scientific truth. When medicine decides, for example, as a profession, that abortion is a medical procedure for which there are legitimate medical “indications,” one monolith sets itself against another that says that the practice is always morally wrong.

What if the mother is guaranteed death if she gives birth? I forgot the rules here.

I hope this make sense.

Thank you.


Partial birth abortion is absolutely unneeded in this day and age to save the life of the mother. In the old days, when women delivered at home, it was used as a last ditch effort to save the mother’s life when the child was stuck and could not be extracted alive. Since both would die if nothing was done, then this horrific procedure would be done to save the mother. There was no other choice, other than to allow her to die, along with the child.


Recently I’ve found myself having to encourage people more and more to think about particulars rather than just see red when they hear the word “abortion” simply because it is used in a different way by those outside the medical community and those in it.

Partial birth abortion aside, I think most of the friction between people of faith and science on these issues reflect rejection of God’s authority by the latter and lack/failure of understanding of specific issues by the former.

For example, certain treatments that are allowed by the Church are sometimes condemned by pro-life people simply because doctors apply the term “abortion” to it. In deciding on morality of a treatment, the Church looks at ‘intent’ and (I’ve recently learned) whether or not the measure is a direct attack on the baby; doctors have no such constraints and are trained to apply the term abortion to any loss of pregnancy for any reason (intentional or not).

More and more I’m becoming convinced that there has to be a middle ground, where scientific facts are better understood (especially the fact that no one treatment or solution is applicable to every situation) and God’s sovereignity over life is upheld.


Here is an excerpt from the Act. There is a provision in the Act that allows for this, even though most media outlets fail to mention it:

‘‘1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited.
‘‘§ 1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited
‘‘(a) Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign
commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby
kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply
to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of
a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical
illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical
condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.
This subsection
takes effect 1 day after the enactment.
‘‘(b) As used in this section—
‘‘(1) the term ‘partial-birth abortion’ means an abortion
in which the person performing the abortion—
‘‘(A) deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers
a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation,
the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother,
or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the
S. 3—7
fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother,
for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person
knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and
‘‘(B) performs the overt act, other than completion of
delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus; and
‘‘(2) the term ‘physician’ means a doctor of medicine or
osteopathy legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery
by the State in which the doctor performs such activity, or
any other individual legally authorized by the State to perform
abortions: Provided, however, That any individual who is not
a physician or not otherwise legally authorized by the State
to perform abortions, but who nevertheless directly performs
a partial-birth abortion, shall be subject to the provisions of
this section.
‘‘©(1) The father, if married to the mother at the time she
receives a partial-birth abortion procedure, and if the mother has
not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the abortion,
the maternal grandparents of the fetus, may in a civil action obtain
appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff’s
criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion.
‘‘(2) Such relief shall include—
‘‘(A) money damages for all injuries, psychological and physical,
occasioned by the violation of this section; and
‘‘(B) statutory damages equal to three times the cost of
the partial-birth abortion.
‘‘(d)(1) A defendant accused of an offense under this section
may seek a hearing before the State Medical Board on whether
the physician’s conduct was necessary to save the life of the mother
whose life was endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness,
or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition
caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.
‘‘(2) The findings on that issue are admissible on that issue
at the trial of the defendant. Upon a motion of the defendant,
the court shall delay the beginning of the trial for not more than
30 days to permit such a hearing to take place.
‘‘(e) A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed
may not be prosecuted under this section, for a conspiracy to violate
this section, or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this
title based on a violation of this section.’’.
S. 3—8
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of chapters for part I
of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after
the item relating to chapter 73 the following new item:
‘‘74. Partial-birth abortions … 1531’’.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.

A link to the full document:

So from a legal standpoint, this can be done.

From a moral standpoint, I have heard both sides of the argument, and I believe that every effort should be made to save both lives. Performing the abortion because it is “believed” that the mother will die is a serious lack of faith in God’s power. None of us can truly guarantee a result of death.


I agree with you that everything should be done to save the lives of both but sometimes God allows death and we need to accept that. Your “lack of faith” comment in unfair to many of those of us who have been in these life or death situations. The Church recognizes that difficult situations can arise and has provided guidelines concerning them; she doesn’t just say: "just have faith’.


I am wondering how it is that she would certainly die while giving birth, but not while having an abortion?

After all, whether alive or dead, the baby still comes out the same way, right? If she would be killed if the baby is alive, then how will she not be killed if the baby is dead? This is the part that I don’t understand.


Performing the abortion because it is “believed” that the mother will die is a serious lack of faith in God’s power.

My sincere apologies, I certainly didn’t mean for that comment to come across the way that it did. It was an extremely poor choice of words. I obviously didn’t think very hard about what I was saying. I will attempt to rephrase it.

If we are told by one doctor that the mother’s life is at risk if she goes through the entire labor, and we have sufficient time (assuming she is not currently in labor), to consult other physicians, pray on the matter, and open our hearts to God, we must do so.

Again, my sincere apologies. I recognize now just how unfair a statement this was.:frowning:


Thank you all for your replies. I sent my husband the quotes from the CCC, and just explained that you must all be cautious of both patents and never hold one in a higher position.

I think it helped him.

Again thanks.


Partial Birth abortion is wrong in any scense!


What’s so hard to understand about killing babies as being wrong?


I don’t think we are talking natural delivery, whether normal presentation or breech, with death delivered part way along. We are talking reaching in with forceps and dragging part of the baby out before dispatching it, sucking out the contents of the skull, and then crushing the skull. I would hazard that any danger of death to the woman would be caused by something other than the delivery or abortion.


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