Is abortion a mortal sin?


Yes of course full knowledge and deliberate consent are also required. As for freedom of conscience, that does not mean a person can decide for themselves what is or is not morally evil. Conscience must be formed in line with Church teachings. There is also the issue of Natural Law, which is written on the hearts of men. The wrongness of the killing of the innocent would seem to be a fairly basic plank of Natural Law.

We need to be careful here not to give the impression that abortion is a crime that can sometimes be justified. It cannot be justified, ever.

If someone was to pose the question, “Is mass murder a mortal sin”, or selling people into slavery, or any other heinous act, then would there be much prevarication about the answer given?

Abortion is the deliberate slaughter of an innocent child, in the place where is should be safe, usually with the cooperation of his/her mother, and with no place he/she can escape to. Abortion is gravely evil and unjustifiable.


I don’t think I disagree with you at all. When I earlier stated:

I’m not saying it can sometimes be justified. I’ve clearly stated it is intrinsically and morally evil in every circumstance:

I’m not looking for loopholes for people to commit the sin. I’m staunchly pro-life. I’m just stating what the Catholic Chuech has taught on the criteria for a sin to be mortal.

Whether it’s mortal or not for a person, doesn’t change that it is willful murder and a heinous moral offence. As for justification, you will find none of that in my posts. All abortions are excommunicable, intrinsically and morally evil. They are severely contrary to nature and to God. It is always grave matter. I’m just repeating church teaching on what makes a sin mortal like the OP asked in his original post.


That is fair enough, but when someone asks whether or not abortion is a mortal sin, and where there are others on the thread who seem to support the ‘right’ of a woman to choose an abortion, is it prudent to focus on freedom of conscience and lessening of culpability? This could give the false impression that it is up to each individual to decide for himself, or that there are certain circumstances where abortion is not so bad.

Now I think you know that that is not the case, but someone less well catechised may take a different view. Clearly abortion is always a gravely evil act, it is never justified, involves the murder of an innocent child and is always wrong. It isn’t down to the individual to decide and there are no circumstances ever where the evil act of abortion is justified.


I guess my first mistake was not realizing the thread was under “non catholic religions” while my answers were based on theology and I concur they can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. It was confusing that the OP asked a specific question regarding mortal sin and abortion but labelled it under “non catholic religions”.

I’m not focusing on the freedom of conscience to have an abortion. I don’t know where I wrote anything that would say that. There is no freedom of conscience on abortion. The conscience has to be properly instructed. I am equally concerned for the babies being aborted as I am for the wounded parents who make the decision to abort and the pain and damage they inflict upon society, themselves - sometimes for decades or longer.

As I have stated, I don’t think I disagree with anything you are really saying :grinning:


When the Church rules that abortion itself may not be a mortal sin - but is an excommunication offense - then the Church is WRONG! We must take Church teachings and laws as it would affect the laws of God and the Commandments. The Church has changed many of its laws since Vatican II - we as Catholics have been living with a very liberal CCC ever since.
Yes, we are sheep counting on the Church to shepherd us as the Lord would - but sometimes this doesn’t happen. If you plan to commit MURDER and commit it -for whatever reason or level of other sins that caused you to position yourself (and the life you PLAN to take- (one of God’s children) you will not be forgiven by God so why in Heaven should the Church forgive you? The commandment “Thou shall NOT kill” does not exempt those on drugs or under duress or social pressure from her peers. This is in response to the following:::::

I’m not looking for loopholes for people to commit the sin. I’m staunchly pro-life. I’m just stating what the Catholic Chuech has taught on the criteria for a sin to be mortal.

Whether it’s mortal or not for a person, doesn’t change that it is willful murder and a heinous moral offence. As for justification, you will find none of that in my posts. All abortions are excommunicable, intrinsically and morally evil. They are severely contrary to nature and to God. It is always grave matter. I’m just repeating church teaching on what makes a sin mortal like the OP asked in his original post.


I totally concur . . . then WHY as Christians, and ESPECIALLY Catholics (which alone number in the tens of millions in the US) we have, as a religion, sat back and let death-mills like Planned Parenthood, grow and prosper and gain power and change laws to their benefit? We all may be the “Silent Majority” but we as well MUST share responsibility for allowing abortion to happen here -because it happened on our watch!! Remember what Jesus said: “I do not come to bring peace - I come with a sword.” (I paraphrase)


Using the term “pro-life” is a very liberal change of what our position once was: ANTI-ABORTION. Maybe we should return to “truth in labeling.”


Thank you Richard:
Words and phrases mean a lot in verbal and written communication. The Liberal (read progressives) word-smiths have effectively ‘softened’ the truly negative phrase that “PRO-CHOICE” once was “LEGAL ABORTION.” This was purposely done. It is troubling that “ANTI-ABORTION” advocates allowed “PRO-LIFE” to replace it. Must we wrap our position in any words other than what they truly are?
In such a war as we are in there is no ‘sugar-coating’ necessary (unless you side that abortion is acceptable). We can’t be led down the verbal slippery slope that: “It’s not a war - it’s a police action” to make our citizens more comfortable. After all, “WAR” has such finality to it - “police action” however, is much more palatable.
If you are “UNION” in your support, say so - if “CONFEDERATE” was where you stood there was no ambiguity.
It’s either “LEGAL ABORTION” or ANTI-ABORTION" Everyone understands exactly where you stand -weasel phrases utilizing positive words like “PRO” con notate that both are acceptable. Of course you can then use: “PRO-DEATH” as an abortion phrase against the standard “PRO-LIFE”.


Adding up everything, It’s no wonder why Jesus said, “few are saved”


I don’t know if you just want to argue but The criteria for a sin to be mortal was laid out by St Thomas Aquinas over 700 years ago… I’m not sure where you are thinking this is modern.

As for the Church forgiving sins… they have the keys to the kingdom. Whoever sins they loose on earth are loosed in heaven.

As for saying you will not be forgiven by God…that’s a preposterous thing to state. There is only one sin in all of scripture that is deemed unforgivable and it isn’t abortion.

Mark 3:28-29
“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”-

Matthew 12:31-32
"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.


Well I am anti abortion but I am also pro-life. I support life at all stages, from conception til natural death. It encompasses my objection to abortion, murder, the death penalty and euthanasia.

Would you have an objection for the incredible mission of “Priests for Life” just because they are not called “Priests against Abortion”?


Yes it is a mortal sin.


Now look I am not Catholic but I don’t"t understand why are you guys still arguing whether RCC considers it a mortal sin or not. It is dead clear on this matter:
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
And the rest of it starting from this point on:


Not as long as they clearly state their mission as “ANTI-ABORTION.”


Amen…and this effectively wraps up this thread!


The subject of the original post is : Is abortion a mortal Sin? I assumed the discussion was around whether it was a mortal sin or not, based on the subject. If the subject was “ the evil of abortion”, it might have been a more open ended conversation.

I was just working within the parameters of the subject


Hello MT!

It seems like the subject matter is so closely related, and folks want to express their feelings -one way or another! I am surprised that many Catholics feel that the CCC offers ‘options’ as to the mortality of that particular Sin. I was forced to use the analogy of Hitler planning and then killing the Jews. If you plan to kill an unborn and then kill the unborn, is there much difference between that person an Hitler? I realize that one person killed millions . . .but does it matter how many participated in the murder? Would they not be held as accessories?
A really sticky subject, I found.


You keep repeating this theme! In 2000 years the teachings of the Church have been consistent. None have been changed and the Church has never admitted error in any of its doctrines. You have failed to back your ludicrous claims.
Put up or shut up.

You have also failed to answer my response to your claim that anyone who has an abortion can never get into Heaven. That is plainly untrue. ALL sins (no matter what they are) can be forgiven through a sincere Confession.

Your attacks on the Church and rejection of doctrine means you put yourself in a state of mortal sin! Instead of attacking and judging others you should take a close look at yourself.


Sorry again, but you are wrong. Read about the Church in the 16th. Century after Martin Luther (a Catholic Monk) had enough with Pope Leo X sale of ‘indulgences’ and reprieves of penance . He wrote what was called his '95 thesis that generally accused the Pope. Martin Luther laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences, good works (which sometimes involved monetary donations) that popes could grant to the people to cancel out penance for sins, as corrupting people’s faith.A part of his protest was when Luther publicly declared that the Bible did not give the pope the exclusive right to interpret scripture, which was a direct attack on the authority of the papacy.
Luther was excommunicated and became the founder of the PROTESTANT AND LUTHERAN churches.

As a result of so much parishioner loss, the Catholic Church made many changes to its policies and doctrines.
I am a Catholic, but I can see how Luther garnered such a great following when he had the Bible printed and given to every church to be read to the laity, something the Catholic Church didn’t allow at that time.

I would like to submit a quite from Martin Luther that has special meaning today, especially in this country:
I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth
So you can see . . . the Catholic Church has made many changes to its doctrines over the years. Just spend a little time studying church/religious history.


I think what really has confused this thread is that the subject line has little to do with the original post. Basically, “the evil of abortion” is the gist of the OP.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit