Catholic View on Abortion
The Catholic Church view on abortion can be traced in its doctrine where it clearly teaches ‘human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. It consistently condemns purposeful and direct killing of the unborn child. In principal, Christians in the church believe that from conception until natural death, life is sacred and taking of human life whether unborn or born is morally wrong.
It teaches that life is sacred as it involves creative action of God from the start and He is the sole end to it. This respect for life’s sacredness originates from the Jewish roots Christianity. The Jewish world was different from that of Palestine culture where infant sacrifice, abortion and infanticide were not uncommon and in some instances, prevalent.
For Jewish people at that time and orthodox Jews of today, all human life has an author, the one God who through His creative powers produced the baby in the mother’s womb and takes it through different stages to full life.
Catholics oppose procedures that can destroy the fetus or embryo for whatever motive but admits acts like hysterectomy or chemotherapy of a woman with cervical cancer that can directly result to the death of the fetus.
The church holds that ‘the first right of the human person is his life’ and that life starts at fertilization consequently, Canon 1398 provides any person who procures an abortion will be automatically excommunicated from the church and this can only be lifted after that individual seeks absolution or penance.
Since the turn of the first century, the church has continued to affirm every procured abortion is a moral evil. The catechism of the Church declares that the position remains unchanged.
Eastern Catholics are not subjected to automatic excommunication but they can be easily excommunicated by decree once they are found guilty of carrying out such an act and they can be absolved of that sin only by Eparchial bishop. Apart from saying abortion is immoral the Catholic Church also takes action and makes statements to oppose its legality.
Catholics in some countries disagree with the position held by the Church which opposes abortion as well as its legality. Such groups have ranging views from allowing exceptions in a pro-life position to complete acceptance of the legality of abortion and the morality. These views vary among those who attend church more often to those who attend less often. The former are likely to be pro-life while the latter are likely to be pro-choice.
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