The unchanging Catholic Teaching on Abortion
by Fr. John Trigilio, PhD, ThD.
Clear and concise Catholic Moral guidance on the issue of abortion
Q. Is abortion always wrong and gravely sinful?
A. Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of an unviable or viable fetus any time between conception and full birth. This destruction of unborn human life, whether it occur inside or outside the mother’s womb, is always considered an unjust killing of an innocent human person and can never be tolerated or condoned for any reason whatsoever. Abortion is always the sin of murder no matter who does it or how it has been performed.
Human life begins at conception. Once the female egg is fertilized by the male sperm, a distinct and separate human being exists, body and soul. The DNA of the embryo or fetus is similar to the mother’s but is also distinct. It is also human DNA; not animal. It is not a clone of the mother, either. This is why killing the unborn is a grave evil since he or she is their own person, so innocent and so vulnerable and defenseless.
Pharaoh committed the heinous crime of murdering the infant sons of the Hebrews thinking he would prevent the Exodus. Moses was spared and he grew up to save his people. King Herod committed a similar atrocity when he ordered the slaying of the newborn males at Christmas time thinking he could eliminate the Savior and the Messiah. Both rulers were dead wrong. Abortion is no different, in that innocent lives are also unjustly taken.
Evil means can never be justified, so killing an innocent unborn child can never be tolerated, even if it allegedly is to save the life of the mother. In reality, there is never any medical condition which requires the intentional killing of the unborn baby in order to save the mother. The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. Even if a result of rape or incest, two wrongs do not make a right. The unborn child has inalienable rights the moment he or she is created in the womb.
Denying the unborn child's right to life is no different than what the Nazis did to Jews in the death camps. Although abortion may be legal, that does not make it moral or right. Slavery and racial segregation were legal at one time and required people of good faith to speak up and speak out against these social evils. Laws had to be changed. Likewise, Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion is as immoral as the Dred Scott decision supporting the owning of slaves and treating them as non-citizens and even as non-persons. The Nazi Nuremberg Laws of the 1930’s legalized anti-Semitism and authorized the confiscation of Jewish property and the deportation of millions of Jews to concentration and extermination camps. It was very legal but also very immoral and sinful.
In their efforts to justify abortion, pro-choice people tout freedom, but no choice and no freedom are offered to the unborn baby. Calling the unborn a fetus, embryo, or zygote, does not negate his or her humanity or person-hood. These words are simply terms to designate the unborn human life and varying stages of development, just as we use terms to designate human life and the stages after birth such as infant, toddler and child. To state otherwise is nothing more than a play on words.
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Regarding those who have had an abortion and/or who have performed an abortion, God and the Church will always forgive the humble and contrite sinner who recognizes his or her sin and asks for forgiveness through the sacrament of confession. However, God and the Church will never condone the sin!
It is a moral obligation for every Catholic to oppose abortion and to do everything possible, through peaceful means, to stop the killing of unborn children.
To do this, it is vital for Catholics to unite and in ONE voice defend the defenseless and halt the modern massacre of the innocents.
If you have not done so already, please click here to join Operation Storm Heaven, a Rosary Crusade led by Cardinal Raymond Burke to defeat the culture of death and replace it with the Culture of Life. This is a crucial step toward ending abortion in our beloved country.