Question 159:

What are your views on abortion?


Answer: The less a person can protect his own life, the more he requires the protection from other people and from society. Arising from the recognition that each human life has dignity and value, the Church supports all weak and helpless human life.

This YES to the sanctity and inviolableness of life vis-à-vis the unborn human life is not as clear in today’s society as it is vis-à-vis the born child. Infanticide is widely seen as a crime, something that is not as widely the case regarding the killing of unborn children. Countless of unborn children are killed daily through the act of abortion, and there are many reasons for the alleged justification. [...] Many believe that the unborn child does not have the same inviolable dignity as the born child; that it therefore does not have the same absolute right to life; that morally and legally it does not come under the same prohibition of infanticide as the born child. […]

The scientific discussion about the unborn takes into account theories which assume certain stages and partial steps in the development of the embryo towards ultimate personal life. The insights of modern genetics and embryology, however, leave no doubt that human life begins at the point of conception. It is, therefore, neither a pre-human something, nor a part of the mother, nor a mere product for implantation, or life becoming. From the moment of conception we are looking at the life of a human being in its first stages of life, which already includes the beginnings of all later stages.

"This human life is a good that from its beginnings has a claim to protection from destruction…. « abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes » (2. Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes [=GS] 51)."


Thus, there is a clear moral focus for the responsible treatment of the unborn. Because it has the same dignity as the born child, it also has to be treated the same. According to Canon Law those who perform an abortion [i.e. the parents having an abortion and also the practitioners inducing it] will be excommunicated (Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1398).

A consequence of the fact that human life begins at conception is: those who use means to prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb destroy human life. Such means cannot morally be considered equal to means which prevent conception. Ethically, the prevention of implantation of the fertilized egg is the intentional killing of an unborn child. This intention is also given if, in individual cases, no fertilization would have occurred, or if the implantation of the egg in the womb was not prevented because of a failure of the medicines which normally have this effect.

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” states this: The knowledge that human life is to be protected from conception onward is reflected in the conviction that the parents participate in the continuation of life together with the love of God the creator, and pass his love on in the world. (see Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes 50). God creates the child, which is a fruit of the love between man and woman, and gives it his eternal love. He says Yes to the life the parents have conceived. This is what we mean when we say that the child is fully the child of his parents and the child of the creator God. (Katholischer Erwachsenen-Katechismus [Catholic Adult-Catechism], vol. 2: Leben aus dem Glauben, pp. 288-290.

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J. Prof. Dr. T. Specker,
Prof. Dr. Christian W. Troll,

Kolleg Sankt Georgen
Offenbacher Landstr. 224
D-60599 Frankfurt
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