History of Abortion Teaching Is Complex

By McBrien, Richard P. | National Catholic Reporter, August 6, 2010 | Go to article overview

History of Abortion Teaching Is Complex


McBrien, Richard P., National Catholic Reporter


Arizona has been in the news lately because of the passage of an immigration law that many accuse of fostering racial profiling.

However, there is another Arizona case that has gained national attention, especially in Catholic circles. And that is the excommunication of Mercy Sr. Margaret Mary McBride, vice president of mission integration at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

McBride was declared automatically excommunicated by Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted for her part in approving an abortion in 2009. She had served on a hospital ethics committee that had considered the case of a pregnant woman who, without an abortion, would die alongside the fetus.

The bishop cited Directive 45 of the fifth edition of the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," approved by the U.S. Catholic bishops late in 2009. Directive 45 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 a pregnancy before viability is an abortion."

The directive repeats the teaching of Pope John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitae ("The Gospel of Life"): "I declare that direct abortion, that is abortion intended 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 teaching is clear," writes Fr. Charles Curran, the leading Catholic moral theologian in the United States and one of the church's most distinguished moral theologians worldwide.

"A direct abortion is always wrong, whereas an indirect abortion," he adds, "can be permitted for a proportionate reason." Curran's commentary appears, in the June 5 issue of The Tablet, published in London.

In the Phoenix case, both mother and fetus would have died if nothing had been done to save the life of the mother. "According to the hierarchical Catholic teaching," Curran acknowledges, "you can never directly take one life in order to save another. You can never do a moral evil in order to achieve a good end. Catholics are not utilitarians."

And yet indirect abortions are permitted under particular circumstances, for example, in the removal of a pregnant, cancerous uterus. The action is aimed at the removal of the uterus, not the killing of the fetus that happens to be inside the uterus. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

History of Abortion Teaching Is Complex
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.