WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Direct abortion is never morally permissible, but there are some medical procedures that are legitimate to protect the life of a pregnant mother, even if they might result in the death of her child.
This clarification was made in a statement Wednesday by the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.
The committee statement comes in response to a Nov. 5, 2009, abortion at a Catholic hospital in Arizona, which was later publicly judged as morally wrong by the city’s bishop, Thomas Olmstead.
The case brought national media attention, particularly because a nun working at the hospital supported the decision to perform the abortion. According to reports, the mother of the child was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, and the pregnancy was thus judged dangerous for her life.
Setting it straight
The bishops’ committee noted "confusion among the faithful" regarding the principles to be used to evaluate the case, and thus offered observations on the "distinction between medical procedures that cause direct abortions and those that may indirectly result in the death of an unborn child."
The statement quoted the "Ethical and Religious Directive for Catholic Health Care Services" in No. 45, which condemns abortion, including abortions carried out in the first stage after the child is conceived.
The directive states: "Abortion — that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus — is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo."
Thus, the committee statement affirms, "Direct abortion is never morally permissible. One may never directly kill an innocent human being, no matter what the reason."
The committee added that a contrasting case arises in some situations where it might be permissible to perform a "medical procedure on a pregnant woman that directly treats a serious health problem but that also has a secondary effect that leads to the death of the developing child."
The statement again cites the ERD, No. 47: "Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."
The bishops’ committee went on to offer two contrasting examples: a pregnant woman experiencing problems with one or more of her organs, apparently as a result of the added burden of pregnancy; and a pregnant woman with cancer in her uterus.
In the first case, a doctor might recommend abortion, but this scenario describes an immoral direct abortion.
They explained: "The surgery directly targets the life of the unborn child. It is the surgical instrument in the hands of the doctor that causes the child’s death. The surgery does not directly address the health problem of the woman, for example, by repairing the organ that is malfunctioning. The surgery is likely to improve the functioning of the organ or organs, but only in an indirect way, i.e., by lessening the overall demands placed upon the organ or organs, since the burden posed by the pregnancy will be removed. The abortion is the means by which a reduced strain upon the organ or organs is achieved. As the Church has said many times, direct abortion is never permissible because a good end cannot justify an evil means."
In the second case — that of the cancerous uterus — "an urgently-needed medical procedure indirectly and unintentionally — although foreseeably — results in the death of an unborn child," the committee explained. "In this case the surgery directly addresses the health problem of the woman, i.e., the organ that is malfunctioning — the cancerous uterus. The woman’s health benefits directly from the surgery, because of the removal of the cancerous organ. The surgery does not directly target the life of the unborn child. The child will not be able to live long after the uterus is removed from the woman’s body, but the death of the child is an unintended and unavoidable side effect and not the aim of the surgery."
The committee reiterated: "There is nothing intrinsically wrong with surgery to remove a malfunctioning organ. It is morally justified when the continued presence of the organ causes problems for the rest of the body. Surgery to terminate the life of an innocent person, however, is intrinsically wrong. There are no situations in which it can be justified."
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On the Net:
Unfortunately, many false and illusory images of fighting the Evil One define people’s thinking about exorcism and demonic possession. The only correct view of the power of evil comes from faith, not the culture. Popular movies like The Exorcist (1973) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), while containing some truthful elements, create the picture that even when the Church "wins" an exorcism battle, the Church is somehow damaged and the devil gets his hour of glory. Hollywood would have us believe that Christ’s Church cowers before the power of the devil – nothing could be further from the truth!
I am also concerned about real abuses that happen in spiritual warfare when people are trying to deal with evil without the protection of the Church. They may have a legitimate desire to be free from demonic forces but they can unwittingly get caught up in the very evil they are trying to quell. Some recent reports of "exorcisms" or allegations of possession are listed below but only for the purposes of indicating what happens when exorcisms are attempted without the shield of the spiritual authority that Christ gave to His Church. These have all occurred within the past couple of years and are not exorcisms – they are abuses – but it is easy to see how the devil might use these distortions to further his purpose of leading people away from authentic faith:
If you have not had the chance to purchase my new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant, please do so today! You can find it atwww.exorcismbook.com and make sure to buy its companion edition called Demonic Abortion where I explain the satanic nature of the abortion industry. Hopefully it will build your faith and lead you a greater awareness of the power of Christ operative through His Church!
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
ALL REPORT: Abortion, Dissention, and Excommunication
Sr. Margaret McBride, who was the head of the ethics committee for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, personally authorized the abortion of an 11-week pre-term baby. This act incurred automatic excommunication, but the response from dissident "Catholic" media outlets was to attack the innocent instead of the guilty.
You can watch the video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1_UX1cTCx4
* More than 2,800 lives saved from abortion …
* 38 abortion workers experience conversions and
leave the abortion industry …
* And FIVE abortion centers have gone out of
business following 40 Days for Life campaigns
outside their doors.
Well, we just got breaking news from Raleigh, North Carolina, that the National Women’s Health abortion Center — outside of which 40 Days for Life campaigns
have been conducted — will no longer do abortions after this coming Saturday!
To see a picture of my visit to that 40 Days for Life location — back when we had NO IDEA that abortions would be ending there — go to:http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=952
Cardinal: New Drug Could Cause Unwanted Abortions
Warns Against "Emergency Contraceptive" Ulipristal
WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, is speaking out against the approval of a drug, Ulipristal, that, although it would be called an "emergency contraceptive," could also cause unwanted abortions.
The cardinal, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ conference Committee on Pro-Life Activities, sent a letter Thursday to Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to voice "grave concern."
He spoke out against the administration’s decision to hold an advisory committee hearing Thursday to advance the approval of the drug Ulipristal, or "Ella," for use as an "emergency contraceptive."
This hearing was convened "without broad public input or a full record on the drug’s safety for women or their unborn children," and it "does not demonstrate an understanding of the new medical and moral issues it presents," the prelate asserted.
He noted that concerns have already been raised about drugs proposed as "emergency contraception," such as the "Plan B" regimen, since "they might act not only to prevent ovulation but also to prevent implantation of the developing embryo in his or her mother’s womb."
These drugs, the cardinal continued, "were thought to have no post-implantation effects," unlike the new Ulipristal, "a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486."
In other words, he added, "it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place."
Cardinal DiNardo noted that the drug’s proposed use "is targeted precisely at women who may already have conceived, as it would be administered within five days after ‘unprotected’ sex or contraceptive failure."
In fact, he added, the drug has been praised precisely because "it seems to retain its full efficacy five days after intercourse — that is, after the opportunity to prevent fertilization has passed."
A woman’s choice
"Millions of American women, even those willing to use a contraceptive to prevent fertilization in various circumstances, would personally never choose to have an abortion," the prelate pointed out.
He continued: "They would be ill served by a misleading campaign to present Ulipristal simply as a ‘contraceptive.’
"In fact, [the Food and Drug Administration] approval for that purpose would likely make the drug available for ‘off-label’ use simply as an abortion drug — including its use by unscrupulous men with the intent of causing an early abortion without a woman’s knowledge or consent.
"Such abuses have already occurred in the case of RU-486, despite its warning labels and limited distribution."
The cardinal acknowledged that the current U.S. administration "has voiced support for federal laws to ensure that no one is involved in abortion without his or her knowledge or consent."
"And the administration’s support for broad access to contraception has been defended as serving the goal of reducing abortions," he added.
In this perspective, Cardinal DiNardo pointed out, "plans for approving a known abortion-causing drug as a ‘contraceptive’ for American women is not consistent with the stated policy of the administration on these matters."