The Church's View
- The earlier Christian scholars condemned abortion as a sin, but gave no distinction as to when a fetus was given a soul.
- The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as a grave evil.
- Pope John Paul II declared that the Church’s teaching on abortion "is unchanged and unchangeable. Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors . . . I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church."
- Fortunately, abortion is forgivable, like many other sins.
Key Church Teachings and Documents
- It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application -Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, November 18, 1974, nos. 19-22)
- John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a «grave and clear obligation to oppose» any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them. -Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life 2002), no. 4
- Public officials are privileged in a special way to apply their moral convictions to the policy arena. We hold in high esteem those who, through such positions and authority, promote respect for all human life. Catholic civil leaders who reject or ignore the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life do so at risk to their own spiritual well-being. -Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life (2001), Part III
Conclusion - Abortion is and will continue to play a role in our society. While the Catholic Church has a very clear stance against abortion, it understands the circumstances that cause women to turn to abortion, and agrees to forgive those women for the sin they've committed. As young people, our voice and our attitude about abortion will directly affect the abortion rate in this country, no matter what kind of legislation is passed legalizing or banning abortion procedures.
Possible Solution - Many believe that better sex education in schools, as well as readily available guidance and health care to women, can greatly decrease the abortion rate by decreasing the amount of unwanted pregnancies. The promotion of chastity until marriage amongst young people would also greatly decrease the amount of unwanted pregnancies.