What happens if


Someone is raped and bears a child. Now this person is very young and finds out that she could die if she gives birth to the child.

Edit: Child’s age is 12

What would a Catholic say in this case?


What is she four years old or something?


If she finds out she could die and by extension performs an operation that could most probably kill the child (but the goal is not to kill the child, rather the goal is to remove the diseased organ) it is morally right for her to do it. The point is that the goal isn’t killing the baby although that is probable. Rape is a separate case. If she was “just” raped then we don’t think a moral wrong can be made right by another moral wrong. I hope I will never be in that position to be sure. What you describe is rare and terrible.


Murder is simply always wrong. Action can justifiably be taken to save the mother’s life even at the indirect loss of the child’s, but directly killing the child is murder.


I hope it’s rare. I got posed with a question as to whether it would be justifiable to kill an unborn child in the womb if the woman could die from giving birth


Which mother doesn’t say “save my baby” in that situation?


I don’t know. Maybe someone who doesn’t care what happens to her child and only cares about her own life. (This is hypothetical I hope people don’t have this mentality)


In that case, the official position is that not only is it morally right for her to try and save herself but that she must try (as far as I understand). The point is that the purpose of the operation must never ever be to kill the baby. Killing the baby is a result which we hope to avoid but know is very probable. This video explains it quite well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-8vgCpApkw


What is the question? How old is the mother? 12 is not a woman, it’s a child.
If the 12 year old has an abortion it could kill her. So what would be the safer option? Give birth by C-section. as soon as baby is viable. Someone should be in jail.


Anyone who rapes should be in jail. Thanks for your answer about this difficult topic


I’d say, I hope the child makes it to term and the childbirth goes well. I hope she is provided with great care and medical assistance to make it through the process, and if needed, a c-section. And my prayers would go out for her.


As we’ve discussed on other threads, this is the one everybody always throws at you and in real life it almost never happens.

As someone already said, it’s permitted to take action to save the life of the mother even if the secondary effect might be the death of the baby.
It’s not permitted to just kill the baby.
The only place I have seen this scenario of needing to kill the baby to save the mom is in “The Cardinal” which is a very old book and not exactly in step with modern medicine.
Plus, I would imagine the mother would be consulted, and there are numerous cases of mothers who chose to take their chances because they wanted the baby to live even if it meant their own death.


First, you don’t deliberately kill the baby. You have the doctor do his best to save both, the mother and the child. Second, the baby his/herself is never the reason for the mother’s health issue. It’s always something else (directly or indirectly related to pregnancy, but it’s never the baby him/herself.

  • If the mother is 7 months pregnant, then it might be possible to have a c-section to save both mother and child.
  • if the mother is only 3 months pregnant, and the mother’s life is intimate danger because something is wrong with the uterus, then it’s ok to have an operation to repair to uterus. Even if we know the baby will die as a result.

In both cases, the doctor took action to safe the mother and did not take direct action to kill the baby. In the first example, the baby can live. In the 2nd example, the baby dies indirectly due to the doctor’s actions.

One of the biggest myths in today’s abortion culture is the idea of having an abortion to save the mother’s life. There has never been an abortion in the history of medicine that has ever directly saved a mother’s life. No baby has ever been poisonous to his/her mother. The pregnancy issues are always a result of the mother’s body not functioning correctly, not the baby (except for breached babies, which is a different issue).

The life of the mother issue revolves around one of two issues:

  1. the doctor tells the mother that she has an elevated chance for complications, and immorally recommends an abortion to avoid the risk of needing surgery (no active danger - only potential)
  2. the mother is actively having complications and needs surgery to save her life. In this instance, an abortion doesn’t typically happen, a c-section is takes place to remove the baby (if needed) to save the mother.

The difference between a c-section and an abortion is pretty simple: c-section: remove the baby alive with the hope that the baby will live until natural death; abortion: deliberately end the baby’s life.

I pray this helps.


Direct abortion is forbidden no matter the circumstances or age of the mother.


If the pregnancy is a direct result of rape? I can see a woman reacting differently from that.


Joe it seems you want someone to say “have an abortion”.

Catholics may legitimately say many things, because there are many variables and avenues regarding parenting or adopting, discussions to have with the doctor and more. But out of all the many things a Catholic can say, “have an abortion” is the one they cannot.


I would never ever want someone to say “have an abortion.” That’s what I’m trying to avoid. I made this thread to see what a Catholic would say in this case.


As everyone has said direct abortion is NEVER permitted.


What is her diagnosis?

Most 12 year olds who give birth survive.

I’m not pretending that there aren’t special considerations for women who give birth at the extreme ends of the reproductive years, but most persons who give birth can be reasonably assured of survival.


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