Questions/Advice about Abortion, Pre-Marital Pregnancy and the Catholic Church



Yesterday, I found out that my girlfriend is pregnant. As you can imagine it’s quite a shock. Well I’m here asking for advice because our situation is a bit unique.

I currently live in Vietnam. She’s Vietnamese. I’m American.

She comes from a very traditional Catholic family. And she herself would say she is a strong Catholic (however she has made the decision to have sex before marriage and “rebel” in other ways.)

I’m not Catholic. I used to be protestant but have in recent years stepped away from the faith.

As you can imagine she is terrified of what her family will do/say. She has expressed that she will be a shame to her family for the rest of their life and hers.

In this situation, as you might imagine, two options come up. 1. Have the child and deal with the struggle that comes with the mistake that was made. 2. Have an abortion and deal with the mental struggle of having had an abortion.

For option 2, especially for her, there is a heavy concern about the implications on her faith. She’s mentioned that she would need to be forgiven by the local father and the greater regions archbishop (sorry if my terms are wrong - but I think you know what I mean).

[Edit] She specifically wanted me to ask you all if she will get excommunicated from the church if she does have an abortion? Or is there some other sort of punishment?

[Edit 2] She, also asked me to ask how to show repentance so that she can be forgiven?

Honestly, we both have no idea what to do. But, when I asked her yesterday which direction she was leaning she said she was more leaning on the side of having an abortion.

It’s my feeling that it’s the women’s decision given that it’s her body. I do have a feeling about the whole have an abortion or not topic but now that this situation is upon me/us I don’t feel like I could/should pressure her one way or the other.

I guess that’s enough context for now. I don’t want to provide too much of my own “opinion” but am purely interested to hear advice, stories, first hand experiences, encouragements, really just anything. And if you’re Vietnamese it would be really great to hear from you!

Thanks in advanced.


option 1, no question

please do not participate in the abortion of your child


What brian_custer said


Option 3 adoption, it’s understandable that you might not be ready to be a parents, but you could give your child the greatest gift of life with a family who wants and is ready for a child.


I agree with this option. I would hope a girl from a Catholic family would find her family supportive of adoption. If not, perhaps your girlfriend could talk to a priest out the family situation and see what advice he has about addressing the family.

I will keep you both in my prayers; God bless.


Someone can help you. Yes, someone can help you get through this.

I don’t know who that person would be by name, but someone can help you get through this without making things even worse by ending an innocent human life.

Contact the local Catholic diocese. I wish I could help by providing some kind of contact information, but even if you told me exactly where you live (please don’t) I couldn’t imagine how to find the appropriate diocese.

Contact ANY Catholic diocese in the country, even if it’s not the one where you live.

All you have to do is make contact with them and they will direct you to someone who can truly help you, your girlfriend, and your child all get through this.


Hello WonderingWandering,

I think these two questions are what I can best answer for you.

In all likelihood, excommunication is not a danger for you two, but excommunication is hardly to be feared when compared to damage this decision can have on your eternal soul. I’m especially worried about you guys because you seem to strangely imply that you can commit a sin with the future hope of being repentant of it. Do not fool yourselves! Our Father knows our hearts. Such an act would constitute knowingly rebelling against God and His law.

Ask a good, trustworthy priest for advice on this. I can only give my opinion here as a layperson. There are two possible things your girlfriend could mean here, so I will address them separately.

  1. How can one show repentance for pre-marital sex?

I answer that one ought to say the act of contrition and truly mean every word of it. Also, ask Our Father to put a delight of His law in your heart. See Psalm 1:2, it is a great reminder of how we can look to God’s law with delight, not reluctance.

  1. How can one show repentance for an abortion?

First thing first, if she has not gone through with the abortion but intends to do so, it is impossible for her to be truly repentant. Your girlfriend cannot show repentance for an action she has yet to commit. In fact, by committing the act she would be testifying against her supposed “repentance.” On the other hand, if your girlfriend has already gone through with an abortion (God forbid) before you read this, I’d advice her similarly as I did in (1).

It’s my feeling that it’s the women’s decision given that it’s her body.

It is “the women’s decision” in the sense that every woman (and every person for that matter) has the freedom to commit good and evil. But that does not mean we should encourage every possible act a person can freely choose.

I’m praying for you, your girlfriend, and your new child! May he/she be a beautiful blessing to you both and one day grow to become a God-honoring person.




I am thinking about what Pope Francis would say if he were confronted with this question. Firstly, no abortion. The baby is your son or daughter, however small he/she is now… Secondly, no Catholic marriage. Don’t go to church to ask the priest to celebrate a Catholic marriage. You may live together more openly by having a traditional marriage ceremony. Everybody will know she is your wife. But the state and the church will not recognize it…

After a few years and you think you would continue the marriage, then go to church and ask for the sacrament. Everybody will be happy…

I will pray for you and her that this embarrassing situation will soon be resolved amicably.


No Catholics will advise her to go for the abortion, so it has to be option #1.

As for you, even if you are not a Catholic, the baby in the womb IS your child. How are you willing to kill your child? Not even an animal will do that. I am just making a point, not saying you are.

As for abortion, it is a mortal sin. There is no point to repent later or to regret what both of you are purposely doing now. Once it is done, you cannot turn back the clock, you will be going to live with it (the decision).

Abortion causes untold brokeness in women, any woman. It is not only about sin but the scar and the life-long guilt that she has to live with at killing her own baby.

I am much into this line and I have met many women who had abortions in their lives, and all of them found it was one thing that haunt them later in their lives. No matter, whether she is a Catholic or not.

Both of you have to accept responsiblity, yes, it sounds rather harsh, but any rash decision you make now will be even worse for you (her) in the long run.

There is a suggestion for adoption. Usually after all is done (pregnancy and adoption), it may not be that bad. She can still go on with her life. She may have made a mistake, but she will live with it. Abortion, however, is another matter altogether.

Another option, of course, is for both of you to get married. Yes, we may want an ideal marriage. In reality, it does not often go that way but we also know that a couple can work out their marriage too.

Think about the other option rather than go for the simple solution of abortion. Please don’t.

EDIT: As for adoption, we have similar cases in our parish, where the baby would be taken care by the grandparents. Just another option for her. Forget about having to hurt her parents - the pregnancy has happened. Now is the time to deal with it.


One problem here is that the fear of the family’s rejection of her would lead her to even consider an abortion. That is not very Catholic. Have they not read the Gospel?
Prodigal son, woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery? Jesus did not advocate an approach that shuns the sinner for life.

As for your options:

You could always tell the family and hope they react better than she thinks.

Abortion is not an option. In fact it would be worse for her as she knows well that is is wrong. And is even thinking about how she could be forgiven after. Yes, she would be excommunicated automatically after having an abortion.

If you care about this woman I would say you should help her to avoid having an abortion whatever else may happen.

Is adoption not an option at all?

To be honest, I would adopt a child if I thought the other option was fot it to be aborted.


The rest will give good advice. But here’s just my thoughts…

It makes no sense for someone to think about their future repentance before committing the sin. If I’m not wrong, that’s a mortal sin in itself.

So the question of how to show repentance is very inappropriate. I mean think about it. If she knows the consequences of the sin and she thinks she is going to feel guilty about it, why have the abortion? That’s like me saying “I want to kill my dad, but I know it’s a sin and all…so how do I go for confession after I do it?”. I know I’m being too straightforward here but like…come on…seriously. Planning to just get your forgiveness before committing a sin is really, really bad.

Women with this mindset (ie knows that abortion is really wrong) are usually prone to the horrible mental health issues after the abortion. So don’t have the abortion.


NO ABORTION. This will ruin her life and of course kill the life of your child. Tell her to get to a priest ASAP and he will definitely knows of people and places that can help her. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes but to take another life for whatever reason NO DON’T let her do it. She can go to confession for the pre-marital sex , she can receive help and she can get back in full union with God. Whatever happens between you 2 from now on this child is both of yours and it will need love, nurturing and care. PLEASE have her seek out some help from the Church and whatever her family says or does she needs to have this child no matter what. NO ABORTION! PLEASE talk her out of that even being a possibility. There is adoption, there are ways and places to help you both raise this child but NO abortion. NEVER!


It’s your baby.

Offer her support during her pregnancy and after the birth. If she cannot keep custody due to shame, then offer to take custody of your child.

Premarital sex is a sin, yes. Having a baby out of wedlock isn’t a sin. The baby is innocent. Having an abortion is wrong, always.


You’re a father. You have a responsibility to protect your child as best you can. I agree that you should offer to take custody if parenthood is not an option for your girlfriend.


There is always an element of sin which violates the natural order. Reconciliation isn’t just about forgiveness but about being reconciled to God and His Kingdom.

BUT, dodging the ramification of a sin with more sin only compounds the separation of a person from God and His people. But she won’t be shamed forever. She’ll have to reconcile just as she would with any other sin.

two options come up. 1. Have the child and deal with the struggle that comes with the mistake that was made. 2. Have an abortion and deal with the mental struggle of having had an abortion.

Option 2 is only dodging the responsibility you both have. You chose to do something which has a natural ends of creating life. Murdering a life to avoid the consequences you consented to doesn’t make that any better.

Also, you’ve ignored a major factor of option 1: yourself. Where are you in this option? You chose to have sex with this woman knowing that it could result in a child, will you accept responsibility for that act? Maybe option 1 should include whether you two should get married to reconcile the act towards a more naturally ordered solution, & how you will be there to support her getting over “the shame” of having a child out of wedlock.

I mean, I’m hoping here that the choice to have sex with someone was at least thoughtful to the possible life-long responsibility you might have with that person.

An additional note: abortion is not just a mental struggle. It’s a murder. Compounding one sin with another just to dodge a consequence of your actions is not going to make it better. In fact, it’s sending both of you into greater moral jeopardy.

She specifically wanted me to ask you all if she will get excommunicated from the church if she does have an abortion? Or is there some other sort of punishment?

She, also asked me to ask how to show repentance so that she can be forgiven?

This seems like an incredibly shallow understanding of the sacrament of reconciliation.

First and foremost, the validity of confession, is dependent on actually being contrite. Maybe someone can fool a priest with demonstrating fake repentance, but they can’t fool God. Additionally, confession doesn’t work like a get out of jail free card. You don’t get to plan to do mortal sin and just confess it later… that belies an attitude that says true contrition and repentance for a sin doesn’t exist.

She should be less concerned with the state of excommunication and going to confession, and more concerned that her confession might not be valid. We are, after all, talking about not just the life of a child being murdered, but endangering her (and your, depending on your culpability) souls to hell. What does being visibly welcomed back to the church matter if the repentance is false and you’re doomed?


This website provides the most up-to-date information on Dioceses around the world.

Here are all the Dioceses in Vietnam

My random clicking found websites active for these Dioceses. Call someone, if they have a Family Life, Youth Ministry, Young People department that is where I would begin.

Please, please, your child is precious.


She is afraid. She needs to hear you say “I cherish you and our child. I will protect, defend and care for both of you. Even if the entire world turns their back on you, I will never forsake you or our child.”


Option 1: parent- both of you, as this is also your responsibility
Option 2: place the baby for adoption with a loving couple ready and willing to care for a child.

Abortion is NOT an option and should be taken off the table immediately. Killing a baby will not solve the problem. It will create new problems.

She’s pretty confused here. Encourage her to talk to her pastor. First, you can’t plan ahead for forgiveness for a sin you intend to commit. That is called the sin of presumption. And, to be forgiven, you have to be sorry. Planning to kill your baby and then ask forgiveness shows a real lack of actual contrition.

To answer your questions-- yes, abortion has a penalty of automatic excommunication. There are paths back to the church, but the best path is to forget about committing an abortion in the first place.

Embarrassment, yes. Stress on the family for a while, yes. Both of these things are not the end of the world.

But, the killing of your own child, much worse.

So in working with many women approaching a clinic for an abortion, many went that way because not ONE person in their lives, particularly the father, stepped up and said the simple words “I don’t want you to do this” or “I want this baby”. This made them feel very alone. I did sidewalk counseling with a couple going into Planned Parenthood. The girl went on in but the guy stayed outside and talked to me for a long time. He didn’t want her to have an abortion but didn’t think it was his place to tell her anything. I simply suggested that he tell her how he felt, now or never as it was nearly too late. He went in, told her he didn’t want her to have the abortion-- and she was so RELIEVED. She didn’t want it either, but felt obligated to do it. They walked out with a new plan.

This is your child as well, and you have a responsibility to the child.



Does “forgiveness” relate to her recent mistakes or the one she contemplates? If it’s the latter, I’m sure you understand that to plan to do something wrong with a view of how to go about “being subsequently forgiven” is highly problematic.


Your opinions are rather more important. Is marriage with this girl in consideration, or does the relationship lack commitment? Do you recognise that abortion ought not be considered?

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