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Mother's life endangered?
Question from Heather Lawlor on 12/17/2003:

Is it permissible to terminate a pregnancy if the mother's life is in imminent danger?

I haven't had the courage to ask my doctor, but does this really occur - and if so, how often?

Just curious.

Answer by Judie Brown on 12/18/2003:

Dear Heather

First of all, according to reputable doctors (more than 5oo who signed a statement on our web site/www.all.org) there are no circumstances today where aborting a baby would actually save a mother's life.

The actual Church teaching as articulated by Pope Pius XII is:

“Every human being, even the infant in the mother’s womb, has the right to life immediately from God, not from the parent or any human society or authority. Therefore there is no man, no human authority, no science, no medical, eugenic , social, economic or moral “indication” that can show or give valid juridical title for direct deliberate disposition concerning an innocent human life - which is to say, a disposition that aims at its destruction either as an end in itself or as the means of attaining another end that is perhaps in no way illicit in itself. Thus, for example, to save the life of the mother is a most noble end, but the direct killing of the child as a means to this end is not licit...” (Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Italian Midwives, 10/29/51)

Judie Brown

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