Catholic Church Teaching on the “Double Effect” Principle.
Abortion is NEVER needed to save the life of the mother. It’s an illusion.
Check with your favorite “pro-life” organization — before you give them your money — to determine whether they make “exceptions” for abortion approval. National Right To Life Council (which is not Catholic) and their state affiliates do make exceptions in their legislative proposals! Example: S. 1670 ‘Unborn Child Protection Act which says the act prohibits any doctor’s attempt to perform a late term abortion . . . except to save the life of the mother, and except in the case of rape. (The bill is identical to H.R. 1697.)
About This Legislation:S. 1670, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), would protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, defined in the bill as beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, except when an acute physical condition endangers the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest if reported to law enforcement prior to the abortion.
We are opposed to abortion under any circumstances except where the life of the mother is in imminent danger.
**In regards to ‘Ectopic Pregnancies’ read about the “DOUBLE EFFECT PRINCIPLE“ OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH on this page, below.
Physicians Declaration signed by hundreds of doctors (American Life League).
“I agree that there is never a situation in the law or in the ethical practice of medicine where a preborn child’s life need be intentionally destroyed by procured abortion for the purpose of saving the life of the mother. A physician must do everything possible to save the lives of both of his patients, mother and child. He must never intend the death of either.”
This statement makes it clear that no law outlawing abortion should contain any exception. It suggests to me that politicians who favor such exceptions are not really pro-life.
There is never a reason in law or in practice to advocate a “life of the mother” exception for abortion. We base this statement on testimony of many pro-life physicians over the years, including John F. Hillabrand, M.D., Herbert Ratner, M.D., and Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D.
Further, we adhere to the following teaching of Pope Pius XII:
Every human being, even the infant in the mother’s womb, has the right to life immediately from God, not from the parent or any human society or authority. Therefore, there is no man, no human authority, no science, no medical, eugenic, social, economic or moral “indication” that can show or give valid juridical title for direct deliberate disposition concerning an innocent human life-which is to say, a disposition that aims at its destruction either as an end in itself or as the means of attaining another end that is perhaps in no way illicit itself. Thus, for example, to save the life of the mother is a most noble end, but the direct killing of the child as a means to this end is not licit.
Allocution to Italian midwives
Pope Pius XII
October 29, 1951
Click here for a list of physicians who endorsed American Life League’s physicians’ Declaration.
Read the American Life League’s “Exceptions” page for more details in support of the “no exceptions” argument.
**The “Double Effect Principle”
Is abortion ever medically necessary?
Abortion is never necessary to save a mother’s life.
It is important to distinguish between direct abortion, which is the intentional and willed destruction of a preborn child, and a legitimate treatment a pregnant mother may choose to save her life. Operations that are performed to save the life of the mother – such as the removal of a cancerous uterus or an ectopic pregnancy that poses the threat of imminent death – are considered indirect abortions.
They are justified under a concept called the “principle of double effect.” Under this principle, the death of the child is an unintended effect of an operation independently justified by the necessity of saving the mother’s life.
Essentially, both mother and child should be treated as patients. A doctor should try to protect both. However, in the course of treating a woman, if her child dies, that is not considered abortion.
Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal disease such as cancer or leukemia, and if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save the life of the mother.—-Alan Guttmacher, former Planned Parenthood president.
Clarifying the “Double Effect” Principle of the Catholic Church by George Weigel, papal biographer and theologian.
The Moral Management of Ectopic Pregnancies by Father Joseph Howard, Jr.
Is Late Term Abortion Ever Necessary? by Mary Davenport, M.D.