Chilean Bishops Speak Out Against Abortion

Attack Notion That Abortion Can Be a ‘Therapeutic Action’

Chilean bishops have blasted a push to promote abortion and have urged authorities to safeguard human life.

In a recent statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Chile, the bishops said, “We urge all authorities to safeguard every human person, in particular the weakest and most vulnerable, to love and respect them as a mother loves her child,” reported Fides.

“We say that abortion in itself can never be a therapeutic action to save the life of a mother,” the bishops declared, “even if the death of the unborn child is a foreseen possibility, neither desired, nor provoked.”

They also exhorted the country’s legislators to promote just laws and never collaborate with laws on abortion. 

It is not an abortion, they clarified, when there is a case of “the undesired death of the unborn child caused by an action to save the mother in danger.” An abortion is an action that specifically intends the death of the baby.

In this regard, they echoed the classic teaching of moral theology that stipulates that there might be times when an action that results in  the foreseen but unintended death of the unborn child might be morally permitted to save the life of the mother.

The Principle of Double Effect in the Church’s moral tradition teaches that one may perform a good action even if it is foreseen that a bad effect will arise only if four conditions are met. 1) The act itself must be good. 2) The only thing that one can intend is the good act not the foreseen but unintended bad effect. 3) The good effect cannot arise from the bad effect; otherwise one would do evil to achieve good. 4) The unintended but foreseen bad effect cannot be disproportionate to the good being performed. 

For women who were raped, the Chilean bishops said,“It is inhuman to leave them to face the trauma alone, just as it is inhuman to take the life of the most defenseless and innocent human person, her child.”

The Chilean bishops underscored that government and society must “be active and present” in supporting mothers and babies. (D.C.L.)

For more information on the principle of double effect and how it applies to pregnancy, and situations where the mother’s life is in danger, see here: https://www.ncbcenter.org/NetCommunity/Document.Doc?id=171 and here: http://www.ncbcenter.org/page.aspx?pid=940

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