Problem with the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion in cases of rape

I’m sure many of us as Catholics have been confronted by pro-choicers with arguments as to why a woman should ultimately have the right to choose if she wants an abortion or not.

I also know what the Church teaches on the subject and the reasoning she gives for her teaching.

I won’t pretend however, that I haven’t struggled internally, when being questioned by pro-choicers with arguments such as, ‘what about in cases or rape? What if the mother is going to die?’

I must admit, while I am able to refute their arguments with Church teaching, I do feel an inner conflict when doing so. I do accept the teaching, because I believe that choosing not to accept any Church teaching leads to a slippery slope of picking and choosing, ‘well I already don’t accept that, so why not also reject this?’

I find the rape argument in particular very hard to accept though. I think with the mother’s life being at risk, it’s also difficult, but the arguments for why the Church might be against it are easier to comprehend. If the mother dies in the process of giving birth, perhaps that was what God wanted? The mother sacrificed her life in order for the child to live. God took the mother into heaven where she can look down at her child etc. It was part of the plan and of course, while we might find that hard to understand from a worldly perspective, it makes sense from a Godly perspective, which we cannot comprehend, or at least not yet.

With rape we are essentially saying, a man committed a terrible act of violence against a woman and she must give birth to and raise the fruit of this act of violence and violation, even though doing so may continue to remind of her of the horrendous act itself and cause her serious psychological pain. Yes, life is God given and begins at conception, but God can also choose not to allow a women to become pregnant when such an act occurs (and yet he doesn’t do it). If a woman becomes pregnant from an act of rape, it feels as though it’s completely against God’s plan of how children are to be brought into this world. Forcing the woman to have the child just seems so incredibly cruel. The child has come about, not because a woman planned it within the confines of a family, or even because she wasn’t being careful (and her carelessness doesn’t give her the right to end a life) but because somebody else violated her personal freedom. For me it’s almost impossible to understand from an earthly perspective. Actually sometimes I don’t think it is possible to understand for us humans.


So you want people to add another sin to one? Why do you want to condemn the mother of a child, the doctor and probably many side persons to the punishment of eternal hell and the child to death just because the rapist has already committed a sin? You have to stop this spiral of sin.

The teaching of the Church is very simple. Every life is precious in the eyes of Our Father Allmighty.


No, I don’t want to do any of that. I think you’re missing my point. My whole issue is with the teaching of the Church that abortion is still a sin in the case of rape. If it isn’t, then none of the things you mentioned would be a problem.

Of course it isn’t for me to decide the Church’s teaching on what is and isn’t sinful and that’s why I said that as Catholic, I accept it, but it’s incredibly hard for me to understand how forcing a woman to keep and raise her rapists child is humane.

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So, the pro-abortion person wants to impose the death penalty in cases of rape.

Except, it’s not the rapist who is executed, but an innocent child.


Because it is a sin. You want Church to stop calling sin a sin?

Are you trying to say that murdering a baby somehow magically resolves the problem of mother’s horrific trauma after rape? And it won’t make things any worse?


That’s a fair point. I’m just thinking of the women who absolutely cannot get over this traumatic experience, and for whom having this baby is going to remind them of this act non stop, every time they look at him or her (I won’t say ‘it’ because it got some people really mad last time).

I suppose they could have it and give it up for adoption. That might be one solution, but still, having to carry this baby, basically the fruit of a sinful act, would also be traumatic.

You only say ‘it is’ a sin because the Church calls it a sin. If it stopped calling it a sin, you’d stop thinking it is a sin. Anyway, I do not want the Church to do anything. I’m just saying it’s a teaching of the Church I find difficult to come to terms with, that is all.

No, but it may help her not having to spend a great part of her life with baby. Imagine you have a 12 year old daughter who is raped. You wouldn’t take issue with her having to give birth to and take care of that baby? Say she gets raped again at age 15 by someone else? Again, it wouldn’t bother you to help her (she’s still a child herself) look after two children who were forced on her as a child by two criminals?


Placing the child in an adoption scenario is also an option.


And because of the potential for trauma, it is the responsibility of the people around her to walk beside her and shore her up.


God calls it a sin.

The same God says that kids are not to be put to death for their parents’ sins.


These tend to be the go-to Catholic videos explaining and defending the Church’s position and stance on abortion. You can also check out some of Ben Shapiro’s videos on the topic (because although he is a Jew, he argues from a secular viewpoint so it works across religious borders).


No. Church never changed the teaching about not even one sin, because doing this we would be opposing the Word of God and his Holy, Eternal Law. Abortion (murder) is always a sin, killing a baby because it was conceived in rape may mitigate a little bit the circumstances of sin (considering mother’s trauma) but it’s still a sin no mater who says it isn’t.

The problem is that you still want to put mother’s psychological well-being over salvation of her soul. It also shows disregard towards the life of the innocent baby — a fully God’s creature regardless the circumstances of its coming to this world.


Oh which so many die in the womb, or die as soon as they are born, or die a few days after they born. Should people also fight so hard for the babies rights over the mother’s life, if she dies while having it and then the baby dies immediately afterwards too?


You share some very honest struggles. Thank you for your honesty and candor.

I think the best argument I’ve heard against abortion in cases of rape is the potential for adding trauma to trauma. Rape is, without question, a traumatic event that will effect the victim for the rest of her life, whether or not the rape results in a pregnancy. But (leaving aside the rights and dignity of the unborn child for the moment) abortion has been shown in numerous studies to also be a traumatic and extremely painful event for the woman; not infrequently resulting in lifelong physical, emotional, and psychological damage. In what way would offering this be “caring” for the victim of rape?

I think what @0Scarlett_nidiyilii said is certainly the best solution to the horrific situation rape-victims find themselves in. The people around her need to rally to her side and support her to shore up her courage, help her heal, and be a source of emotional support. It can then truly be up to her whether she chooses to raise the child or place him/her up for adoption.

That’s the only solution I can see that really has the best interest of both the woman and the baby at heart.


Such babies can be put up for adoption and the records closed.



I think you’re missing @Polak’s point. He/she doesn’t seem to be questioning Church teaching, but simply struggling to find reasons in favor of Church teaching beyond simply saying “because it’s a sin: the Church says so.” Such reasoning may work for us Catholics, but it won’t work when you’re discussing the issue with an atheist.

@Polak, is my understanding of your questioning correct?

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But that’s answered in the “killing a child who had nothing to do with it” response.

It’s consistent with why abortion is wrong.

“Why is abortion wrong?”
“It’s murder.”
“Why is aborting a child conceived by rape wrong?”
“It’s murder.”


Wow. So: kill babies because some of them have weak health and may not survive?

Now you’re stopped asking about the rape case, but you shifted to preferring the child life over mother’s life. As I said every life is precious in the eyes of Our Father Allmighty. It includes everybody.


Ought we kill the weak in society since they put a strain on it?

Think of how many people die because they can’t see a doctor in time because lines can be full, or there aren’t enough organs.

I certainly don’t disagree with you here. But I think @Polak is trying to argue from the perspective of what’s going to be best for the victim/mother. Is “removing an effect of the rape/trauma” truly what’s best for the mother?

My thought is that abortion doesn’t remove the effect of the rape/trauma in the slightest. From the perspective of the victim/mother, it simply adds trauma to trauma. The best thing for the mother would be for those who love her to rally round and support her in bearing the child, then support her in her decision to either raise the child herself, or put it up for adoption. And not just by providing emotional support, but also providing the material and even child-care support that she’s going to need if she decides to raise the child.


Is God cruel because we suffer or are tested? We have metaphysical evil, physical evil, and moral evil. We have inherited original sin. God gave free will and grace, and one can choose to cooperate with that grace or not.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. …

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” ( Rom 5:20).

618 … He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,454 for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps."455 …

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