Intention to have an abortion the same as?

Yeah, yeah, another abortion thread. :rolleyes:

A friend of my sister’s got pregnant and was hell bent on having herself an abortion. She went through the process as it stands down here and she arrived at the clinic, and had her pre-termination scan. It was then they discovered the pregnancy was a hydatiform mole, which is basically a giant cluster of cysts for the most part, and generally there’s no foetus or embyro - there wasn’t in her case.

Anyway, so of course teh D&C was performed and the mole removed. There had been no embryo/foetus amongst the mole and nothing had shown up on that the scan that there had been a child.

She already had a four year old child, and after that baby was born she had an IUD inserted. So obviously she had no concerns with the destruction of the zygotes the IUD causes. This girl is a lasped Catholic, and knows all about the Church’s teaching on abortion, she has had conversatiosn with my pro-life (lasped Catholic) sister, and myself about abortion, and her mother is a devoute Catholic midwife. So on that stating she has “full knowledge”.

Anyway, my querry, or at least I’m seeking the opinions of others, would this be viewed the same as having had an abortion? I mean, there’s that part in the Gospel where Jesus talks abotu committing adultery in your heart just by looking with lust at a woman. Did, spiritually I guess you could say, this girl commit an abortion?

I’ve also heard from some pro-abortion folk about women who were pregnant, were booked in for abortions, and miscarried the day before, or found out they were carrying a blighted ovum or ectopic or mole, so they argue that “well, obviously God wanted me to have the abortion, but He was nice enough to save me the money so I miscarried naturally”.

This from “”:

*"Types of Molar Pregnancy

“There are two types of molar pregnancy, complete and partial. Complete molar pregnancies have only placental parts (there is no baby), and form when the sperm fertilizes an empty egg. Because the egg is empty, no baby is formed. The placenta grows and produces the pregnancy hormone, called HCG, so the patient thinks she is pregnant. Unfortunately, an ultrasound (sometimes called a sonogram) will show that there is no baby, only placenta. A partial mole occurs when 2 sperm fertilize an egg. Instead of forming twins, something goes wrong, leading to a pregnancy with an abnormal fetus and an abnormal placenta. The baby has too many chromosomes and almost always dies in the uterus. Thus, molar pregnancies are “accidents of nature” that are not anyone’s fault. They are not caused by behavior, but they are more common in older women and in certain geographic locations. Also, although most molar pregnancies occur after a miscarriage, some occur after an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy or even a normal delivery.”*

Molar pregnancy can lead to metastasis.

There was always the possibility that the sonogram could have revealed a perfectly-formed fetus, and she may have decided in that case not to abort. In my opinion it’s best to not judge this woman’s actions but to be relieved that she did not have to make the choice between abortion and going full-term. She did not have an abortion; there was no fetus present.



I’ll play devil’s advocate. Let’s say someone plans to rob a bank. Gets a gun and a balaclava, rolls up to the front door. Only unbeknownst to them, the bank had burned to the ground the night before their attempted robbery. So nothing there for them to rob!

Sure, it may be that IF the bank had been intact that day, and they had gotten inside, they may’ve chickened out anyway. But the fact remains they had formed the intent, and it was only a completely external circumstance (the bank having burned down), rather than their own change of heart or mind, that meant they ended up not going through with it. And not because they didn’t want to, but because it was actually impossible to do.

I’m thinking such a person would be found guilty of attempted robbery by a court of law, as long as they both formed the intent to rob and actually took steps to try to put the plan into action without having changed their mind in the meantime.

I’m thinking this woman is in a similar situation - it’s not that she had a change of heart or mind, it’s only that an entirely external circumstance meant she didn’t need to (indeed, couldn’t) put her plan to abort into action. By her actions of going to the abortion clinic, it seems to me she had taken steps to put her plan into action, though.

And what with putting an IUD in afterwards, it doesn’t look like she’d had any kind of change of mind or heart about the issue.

I believe, canonically the intent to have an abortion and actually having one are different while morally they are the same.

The intent to have an abortion-- and indeed to go to the clinic to have it-- is grave matter, and possibly a mortal sin depending upon knowledge and free will.

Actually procuring an abortion is also grave matter and a mortal sin, but additionally incurs the penalty of excommunication through canon law.

So you’re suggesting “attempted abortion”? Is that a lesser sin than abortion? We cannot know whether this woman might have had a change of heart had this not been a molar pregnancy. The possibility does exist. Therefore, she should not be considered a sinner in this case, or be held fully accountable for having committed the sin of abortion,* which she did not do.* Turnabouts happen with more frequency than many would care to admit when it comes to a change of heart with regard to abortion.

I’m outnumbered here: I believe that God alone can judge, and that He is merciful.


I think she was guilty of having the full intention of having the abortion. It wasn’t like she was told she had a normal pregnancy and then decided to not have it. She fully intended to go through with the abortion. I’m not sure what or why you’re asking, but if it’s a confession question, she should confess that she went to an abortion clinic and went through the process with the intention of having it. But she didn’t have an abortion because it turns out she wasn’t pregnant with a live fetus. So she’s not guilty of having an abortion. I don’t think she commited a spiritual abortion either. I think in order to be guilty of commiting a sin, you have to actually commit the sin. But I do think you can be guilty of having the intent to do wrong.

But it’s not like having the intent to do wrong and after praying about it deciding not to go through with it. The choice to do wrong or good was taken out of her hands by nature.

I don’t think God ever saves people the money when they miscarry though. I rather think that pregnancy wasn’t meant to be, regardless of the woman’s intent.

I don’t think you’re outnumbered. God alone can judge, and He is merciful. What you say is true. I just think she should confess her intention because she never had the opportunity to either go through with it, or have a change of heart. The decision was basically taken out of her hands. By going to a priest, she will be given the information that we cannot give her, because you’re right, she could have changed her mind. We don’t know. I don’t think she does either. Though she may be breathing a sigh of relief, the fact is no one but God knows what she would have done at that last minute. I’d rather be on the safe side and confess it though…

And God judges the intent and the heart as well as the actions.

Remember Christ saying that a man who merely looks at a woman with lust had committed adultery with her in his heart? He equates the sin of lustful thought (which involves no external act at all) with the sinful act of adultery.

And remember St Paul saying that he could do every possible good action, even to the point of giving up his body to be burned, but without the right INTENT (love) those outward acts were meaningless? Sounds like this is a case where the sinful act was avoided, but not with the right loving intent in the heart. Instead, it was avoided merely because it became unnecessary.

Sin originates in the heart, and sinful thoughts and intents are serious matter. Canon law, as has been pointed out, does attach more severe penalties to the act, which is probably correct, since intent + act would almost always be worse than intent alone.

However, the one who INTENDS to have an abortion and is only prevented by external circumstances from going through with it is far from guiltless.

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