Induced delivery for placental abruption morally licit?

If the placenta abrupts, either totally or partially, such that no remedy is possible (assuming placentas cannot be reattached), may the unborn child (along with the placenta) be delivered alive via induced labor, even though it can be foreseen that the child is not viable and will die immediately after being delivered?

And what would be the alternatives?

I read of a tragic case of this in the news, though out of deference to the family’s loss — a loss my wife and I shared, though much earlier in the pregnancy — I will not identify them, and I think it would only be a kindness and a courtesy for nobody else to identify them either. We are discussing moral principles, not personalities.

My understanding, as a layman with no medical training, is that in this case the child is almost certain to die in either case. If labor is not induced, the mother may well also die.

Given that, it seems morally licit, since the intention is not to kill the child. If the child somehow survived, that would be a win, although everyone understands it’s incredibly unlikely.

Basically, double effect.

I would think the same thing, however, I have to wonder if there are those who would say “no, inducing labor would be a direct abortion because the child is still alive, even though the placenta is basically destroyed, you have to let nature take its course, let the child die in utero, then induce a miscarriage — if the mother is dying in the meantime, well, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it”.

This is hairsplitting that no one except faithful, orthodox Catholics would engage in. Nonetheless, we are the one true Church, our doctrines are the only sure moral guide for all things — I’m not being sarcastic, I live a dry martyrdom trying to live those teachings, when cutting corners could make my life so much easier, if you don’t count that hard stop at the end — and if we make distinctions that the rest of the world doesn’t make, it’s up to them to conform to the truth, it’s not up to us to change to suit them.

I’d defer to someone with more specialized knowledge than myself, but given that the intent is not to kill the baby, I don’t see how double effect wouldn’t apply.

I would welcome someone else’s input as well, not that I don’t value yours, I just question mine.

The only problem here seems to be, that as long as the child is not directly killed, you could justify any sort of early delivery, whether viable or not, under the rubric of “we hope the baby lives, even though we know it probably won’t, but this is not a direct abortion, because we’re trying to deliver it alive, instead of assaulting its body in the ways an abortion is usually carried out”.

I’m probably entirely wrong to think this, but that could then open the door for any non-assaulting termination of pregnancy, regardless of stage of that pregnancy, by saying “our goal is to preserve the life or health of the mother which is under assault itself by the pregnancy — if the child dies as a result of being delivered, that’s tragic, but it’s a case of double effect”.

This happened to my daughter-in-law with one of my grandsons. She was placed on strict bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy and at one point they wanted to hospitalize her for the rest of her pregnancy just so they could work quickly to save both her and the baby.

I moved in with them to take care of her, my son, my older grandson, and house. She was able to go to 36 weeks and delivered a healthy baby boy who is seven years old now.

It was a scary time, my older grandson was a micro preemie and the thought of going through that again was difficult to think about. Of course we would have done whatever God willed, but God was good.

I would think that in a placental abruption, the baby is no longer able to benefit from the mother’s body, therefore the only hope of saving baby would be early deliver with (however vain) an attempt to save the life. I would think that the thought process of “We need to get rid of this fetus to save the mother’s life” is evil because there the life of the fetus would be disregarded, thrown away. But in the case of a placental abruption and early delivery, that’s not necessarily the case. If the intent was to end the pregnancy with no thought toward the outcome of the baby – if the mother’s life was the only focus – it would be immoral. But in the case presented, nature has already taken its course. Leaving the baby in the womb would not save him or her, and the delivery is not a direct attack. It would be therapeutic if we had developed the technology to be able to help these babies. On the flip side, a direct abortion “because the baby is going to die either way” would be evil because the death of the baby is intentional, not a tragic side effect of a lack of technology.

I don’t think an early delivery because of a placental abruption, even when the death of the child is inevitable, counts as an abortion. At least, not when the death of the child is unintentional. If one was going with an early delivery just to “get rid of the pregnancy” that may be a different matter. I think mindset and therefore intention matters here.

I don’t know if what I say makes any sense. Been a foggy-brain couple of days.

Edit to add; maybe the early delivery would be the right thing to do on the basis of attempting to get the child out for baptism. If the baby is dying either way and this is absolutely confirmed, it may be the morally better option to get them out so they can be baptized. I don’t really know. Maybe something to think about.

I had a partial placental abruption with my last child. It was very scary. My doctor explained there isn’t anything that can be done other than delivery of the baby.

It could be fatal for both mother and child.

My son was 3 months premature. He ended up in the NICU for almost three month. In his first few days he had 4 transfusions.

No. Inducing labor isn’t an abortion. There is the possibility the baby survives.

An abortion is a direct attack on the baby. Labor induction isn’t a direct attack.

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