1. When does human life begin?
2. The development of the unborn child
3. Abortion numbers
4. Abortion law in Austria
5. Abortion methods
a) Up to the third montht
b) Up to the ninth month
The consequences of abortion
a) The physical effects
b) PAS - the psychological effects
6. The alternatives to abortion
a) Philosophical reflections - why is abortion wrong?
b) Are there cases where abortion is
c) Should abortion be punished?
d) Are we overpopulated?
9. a) Sexuality and conception regulation
b) The teaching of the Catholic Church
1. When does human life begin?
At conception the sperm enters the egg and fertilises it. At that precise moment a new human life has come into being.
All criteria that define life hold true in the case of the fertilized egg. These properties are demarcation from the
environment, metabolism, ability to procreate, growth, excitability and response to a stimulus.
The fertilised egg already carries the information for all that is to come, all of the following development. It
contains a complete genetic code: this code not only defines the new life as human, but also its sex, eye colour and a
myriad of other individual characteristics. Thus, from its very beginning, the unborn child is a unique human being that
can never again be repeated.
The development of the child is continuous. Apart from conception, which represents the beginning of human life, there
is no obvious turning point that would justify being called the beginning of life.
A human being does not develop into a human being, it develops as a human being. It does not become a human
being, it is a human being, in each phase of its development, starting with conception. - Prof. Blechschmidt, Dr. of
How can we prove that the unborn child is a human being from its very beginning?
The unborn child is alive. There are only three kinds of substances: inorganic, dead (formerly living), and alive. As
egg and sperm are organic substances, they cannot become inorganic after fusion. If the unborn child were dead, it could
not be born alive. Therefore it has to be alive from conception.
The unborn child is a human being: Each living being belongs to a species from its beginning to its end. The young
rhinoceros does not grow up to be an elephant. An acorn does not grow into an apple tree. Accordingly, a fertilised
human egg will always develop into a human being. The unborn life belongs without doubt to the human race. Its genetic
heritage is without doubt that of a human and no other living being.
Even if it were not possible to prove that the unborn life is human, in order to be correct in the eye of the law, one
would have to apply the maxim "In dubio, sequendum quod tutius est - In doubt, the safer course is to be
hunter who cannot tell if a hare or a human being is hiding in a bush must not fire his gun. Accordingly, unborn life
must not be killed if there is a suspicion that it may be human.
2. How does the unborn child develop?
12 to 24 hours after coitus: fusion of sperm and egg
5th to 12th day: The embryo attaches to the mucosa of the womb (nidation), where it will
be nurtured until birth. A close relationship between mother and child has begun, but the embryo does not sustain its
own circulation until week 3 or 4.
Day 15: The first blood vessels appear. The embryo is 1.5mm long.
Day 18: The brain starts growing.
Day 21: The heart starts beating.
Week 6: The embryo can move hands and arms. Soon it will be able to grip the umbilical cord.
Week 8: The embryo has now become a foetus. It is about 3 cm long and weighs 10 grams.
All organs are present, and even toes, nipples, eyelids and crown of the head. Ultrasound can detect patterns of
movement. Growth is greatly reduced now. If the foetus continued to grow at the same rate as the embryo it would weigh
14 tons at birth.
Week 9: The sense of touch has developed. The nervous system develops with the
experience of touch. Various reflexes develop:
- When its lips are touched, the child reacts with movements all over its body.
- Its hands grip when its palms are touched.
- If its cheek is touched the child turns its head to the stimulus (rooting reflex).
Week 12: The foetus measures 8 centimetres and weighs 30 grams. The development of bodily
functions is complete. It can raise its eyebrows. Private parts and fingernails are visible. It is sensitive to feelings
and experiences of its mother. It has been proven that it reacts to music and is even able to learn. It has a sense of
taste and loves swallowing the sweet amniotic fluid and sucking its thumb.
In most countries, at this point in its development, the unborn child can be aborted without
4th month: The baby can grab, swim and turn. It can pull on its umbilical cord (which might not
be good for it). Its mother can feel its movements for the first time. It develops its own rhythm of sleep, which is
unfortunately not necessarily the same as that of the mother.
6th month: Hair and eyelashes begin to grow. From week 26 the baby could survive outside
the womb (at first in an incubator), as it possesses a special lung surfactant, which enables the small bubbles in the
lung (alveoli) to inflate.
- The child weighs 1.5 to 2.2 kg,
- measures 35 to 40 cm,
- has coordinated and purposeful movements,
- is aware of light,
- reacts to sound,
- and has all its hair.
9th month: After a significant increase in weight, birth is triggered by the
hormones Oxytocin and Prostaglandins.
3. How many abortions are there?
In most Western European countries, as well as in the United States about one third of all children die from abortion.
In Eastern Europe Romania leads with 76%, followed by Russia with 60%.
The womb has thus become the most dangerous place in the world.
The W.H.O. estimates that worldwide 50-60 million abortions take place each year. By comparison, 50 million people died
in the 7 years of the Second World War.
4. What does the law say?
PIn Austria, the Code of Penal Law excepts abortion from punishment when it is done by a doctor within the first three
months and when medical advice has preceded it.
There are three cases in which abortion up to birth is not punished:
What are the problems with the Austrian abortion law?
- when there is serious danger that the child would gravely harm the mother's physical
or psychological health;
- when there is serious danger that the child will be mentally or physically handicapped;
- and when the mother was under 14 when she conceived.
- The life of the unborn has absolutely no legal protection within the first three months. This is an offence
against each person's right to life and makes the vast number of abortions possible.
- The necessary medical advice can be given by any doctor whatsoever, even by the doctor who procures the abortion
and profits from it.
- There are no statistics in Austria, which makes it very difficult to investigate into the motives and offer
- The abortion law changes the mentality of the people. The longer the law is in force and is considered 'normal',
the more the people's consciousness of injustice vanishes.
5. How are abortions done?
a) Abortion up to the third month
Vacuum aspiration and dilatation and curettage
A doctor introduces a suction probe into the womb and sucks out the body of the embryo thereby destroying it. If the
head is too large it has to be crushed with forceps. Thereafter the womb is cleared of all that is left behind by
curettage. Most abortions are done like this, usually around week 12. There are ultrasound pictures of such an abortion
that show the baby desperately trying to evade the suction tube, moving its limbs and opening its mouth as if it was
screaming, while the frequency of its heartbeats increases, thus indicating distress. The first film showing this to
become publicly available is entitled "The Silent Scream" for this reason.
The abortion pill (Mifegyne)
The abortion pill can be used up to week seven. The mother is given three pills in the hospital under medical
supervision. The pills contain a hormone, which antagonises the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to maintain the
pregnancy. Thus the body of the mother is made to believe that it is not pregnant. The uterine mucosa degenerates and
the embryo loses its nutrition. After 48 hours most embryos are dead. The hormone contained in the pills and some
prostaglandin induce the womb to expel the embryo.
This kind of abortion has some additional dangers, such as increased risk of infection and blood loss. The pressure of
time on the mother is enormous, thus giving little time to contemplate alternatives to abortion. The mother has to live
through the two days of knowing that her child is dying, which is often traumatic and won't be forgotten for the rest of
her life. It is easy to put pressure on the mother, as "swallowing three pills" sounds so much more harmless
Lastly, the baby is treated like a disease ? with pills.
b) Abortion up to the ninth month
Abortion by Caesarean
The child is born by caesarean, and then left to die or even killed. All babies move to some degree at this stage, and
some even breath and cry. This method is used in abortions that are too late for other methods to be safe.
Prostaglandin induced abortions
Injecting prostaglandins induces an artificial miscarriage. If the child survives being expelled it is left to die. This
method can be used at any stage of pregnancy. In the words of one doctor:
- "If one, like me, has experienced, how the intact body of the unborn child, measuring 4 to 5 cm, is
brought to daylight and suddenly lies in the dish in front of you, one knows for sure that this act is the killing of a
human life. The embryo, who looks very much like a human being even in the 2nd and 3rd months of pregnancy, desperately
moves its limbs for a few seconds, until the body turns pale, shivers, the heart stops beating and the child lies still
The amniotic cavity is punctured, the water drained and a salt solution introduced in its place. The child is burned and
usually dies. Hormones are used to expel the body. Many children are still alive when they are brought to daylight. The
famous case of Gianna Jessen, who survived her own abortion, is well-known. Having been saved by the nurse, she was
brought up by a foster mother. Now she travels all over the world to witness to the dignity of the unborn child.
This method illustrates the awful reality of abortion particularly well. A doctor grips the baby with forceps and
delivers limbs and trunk. He then introduces scissors into the baby's skull and sucks out the brain. The limbs of the
baby, which might well have been moving before, suddenly become limp. This kind of abortion is not counted as murder for
the sole reason that the head of the baby has not been born yet.
6. What are the consequences of abortion?
An abortion has more than one victim: The child pays with his life, but mothers often incur long and painful suffering.
Fathers, too, and even siblings can be affected by the consequences of abortions.
a) What are the physical effects of abortion?
Abortion causes physical injuries. It is an aggressive intervention into the natural bodily functions, which are trying
to protect and nurture the child. The tools of abortion can injure the womb as well as the child. Infections are an
added danger, particularly if parts of the child are left behind.
- Injury to the uterus
- Loss of blood
- Infections and inflammations
- Deformities in the uterus
- Infertility as a consequence of infections
- Miscarriages and premature births by weakening the muscle at the entrance to the womb
- Tubal pregnancies
b) What are the psychological effects of abortion?
In psychological terms, the trauma that a woman suffers after abortion is called Post-Abortion-Syndrome. In a situation
that is judged dangerous to their existence, human beings react with the fight/flight mechanism. If however the danger
cannot be overcome through fleeing or fighting and one is submerged in it without help, one sustains trauma. Examples
are assault, rape or the death of a loved one.
In the case of trauma the affected person undergoes the dangerous situation without defence, thus the energy that is
meant to overcome the danger lies unused. Human beings experience such an event as "unfinished". The
deep in their memories and resurfaces for a long time again and again.
What are the symptoms of PAS?
The PAS is well described through interviews with numerous suffering women. The most common manifestations are:
Post-traumatic stress syndrome::
Flashbacks [63%], Nightmares
- "Terrible nightmares torture me night after night. But I am not allowed to talk about them. Dead children,
wherever I look."
Depression [88%] including suicide attempts [28%]
- "Doctor and counsellor had told me: There is nothing there yet. I didn't realise that there had been life
there until my child became a shadow on my soul. The trauma of abortion has destroyed my life."- B.G.
Crying fits, changing moods, hysterical fits [51%]
- "With each period I am reminded of my child and the whole thing starts again: migraine, anxiety, pain,
endless crying. I just can't overcome it." - H.R.
Guilt, Regret and self-accusations [85%]
Loss of feelings
- "I feel like a robot who is doing its work mechanically. I can't be happy, laugh or even cry. Nothing
matters." - A.G.S.
Problems with relationships: 70% dof couples separate within a year of abortion.
Various studies prove that most women would not have a second abortion, and the majority would have decided differently
if someone had offered them help.
Why don't all women suffer under the PAS?
- The psychological effects of abortion are connected with the psychological nature and the
emotional maturity of the mother. Sometimes they do not occur at all or not until years later.
- Many women suffer psychological and psychosomatic problems but do not connect them with their abortion.
- PAS is still a taboo not to be talked about. Affected mothers often do not dare to talk about it, as they are
afraid of not being understood ? quite reasonably so.
- Commonly, women who have had abortions are found among the most militant fighters for abortion. This is partly
because abortion produces a state of psychological hardening. Abortion is made to sound harmless and suffering is pushed
away. Thus, they don't have to admit to their guilt.
"I had five abortions. It was like an outer force: pregnancy, abortion? As if I wanted to prove that abortion is
harmless. With my sixth child I just couldn't do it again, even though my situation was no better than before. I had to
have this child. Today I am a ruin of only 33 years." - S.W.
What help is available?
There are various self-help groups for affected women who try to understand and overcome the trauma together. The
women's problems are talked about freely and not made into a taboo. Some women seek reconciliation with their child by
naming it and burying it symbolically. Always, the experience of reconciliation with God in confession helps, too.
Do siblings suffer?
About half of all living children have aborted siblings. Many were themselves exposed to the danger of being aborted.
The knowledge of being a chance survivor is usually not without effects. According to the research of Dr. Philip Ney,
Professor of medicine and psychiatry in Canada, most of the abortion-survivors have some idea of their history.
Sometimes they come to know about it when they hear their parents talk. In many cases, however, the children know
intuitively that something is wrong in their family. They dream of missing siblings and play with them in their
thoughts. Many suffer from the oppressing feeling of the continual presence of a second person. A young woman said that
she was afraid of looking into the mirror, because she thought she would meet somebody there: "I felt that
something was very close to me, almost like a twin.."
7. What are the alternatives to abortion?
Help for mothers in need
The best solution would obviously be for the mother to find a way to raise her child herself. If she wants to do that it
is usually possible with a network of support agencies. There are numerous charities and agencies that can offer help
for financial and legal problems, with unemployment and housing.
Nowadays, there are many more parents waiting to adopt babies than there are mothers who need to give their child away.
For a reason hard to understand society sees adoption as a greater evil than abortion. Women who give their child up for
adoption often experience more adverse reactions than those who have an abortion. However, adoption is a good and
advantageous solution for three reasons::
- The child can live and grow up with loving parents.
- The mother knows that her child is in good hands. It is difficult to give up a child, but it is much more difficult
to have taken its life.
- The adoptive family have had their greatest wish fulfilled.
If the mother cannot decide for an adoption, but cannot raise the child herself at the moment, the child can be fostered
for the time being. This decision is not final, unlike adoption. The mother can stay in contact and can take it back if
her circumstances improve, for example, she has finished her education. She can equally decide for a later adoption.
8. Questions and answers
Why is it wrong to have an abortion?
Each and every human being, whether disabled or healthy, Black or White, born or unborn, is of the same value and has
the same rights. This is true without exception for every human being from the point of conception. For a long time,
Black people were thought to be less worthy and were made slaves. In Hitler's Third Reich Jews and disabled people were
label.ed unworthy and killed. Today, these atrocities are seen as evil, but still unborn life is thought to be unworthy
and can be "removed".
As every life is worth the same, no human being has the right to judge another human beings right to life, whether that
human being is born or still in its mother's womb. Article three of the declaration of human rights states clearly the
right of life for every human being. It is the most fundamental right of all.
b) What is just?
Different aspects and needs of life are attributed different values.
Life is the most basic, followed by basic needs like food and clothing, safety, love and belonging, being valued, and
last of all needs peculiar to a given individual. Every human being has such a "pyramid of needs", thus also
child. It is not just to ask for another human being to give up a basic need (life, food), in order to achieve one's own
wishes for the upper regions of the pyramid. For example, it is not just to ask for one's choices in life (education,
holiday, career) to be put in front of somebody else's most basic right and need, that is life. These thoughts apply to
all reasons for abortion.
c) Can abortion be the 'choice' of the mother?
It is not the freedom of the parents to abort their child, as the freedom of one person stops where the freedom of
another human being starts. Abortion does not just intrude on the child's freedom, it is annihilated. The child is
deprived not only of its freedom but of the basis of freedom, which is life.
d) Does abortion concern us?
Abortion is not a private matter, nor is it only an issue of morals. It is in the very first instance unjust, as
innocent human beings are deprived of their right of life. It is therefore not enough to be against abortion, it has to
be fought against actively. By comparison, if a drunken man hits a child, it is not enough to be against child abuse,
one has the duty to intervene.
e) Does abortion concern men?
Man and woman bear responsibility for the child together. Since it is the mother who carries the child in her womb, the
father often leaves the decision to her alone. To be left alone, however, is what the mother needs least in this
situation. It is the duty of a father, to welcome his child by supporting and encouraging the mother by all possible
f) Are there cases in which abortion is justified?
What if the life of the mother is in danger?
This case does not really exist nowadays with modern medicine. That is to say, a direct abortion is never the only way
to save a mother's life.
There are, however, diseases that can only be treated with therapies that have dangerous side effects for the child, for
example chemotherapy for cancer of the removal of a tube in an ectopic pregnancy. In this case the principle of double
effect states that the child's death was not wanted, it was a sad side-effect of a treatment necessary for the mother's
life. It is the duty of doctors to do their utmost in order to save both lives.
What if the child is disabled?
In Nazi Germany, disabled people were seen as unworthy of life. One would hope that the terrible crimes of the Nazis and
the suffering they caused might have taught us the evil nature of the ideas and principles which inspired them. We
should have learned that disabled people have the same human dignity and right to life as any other person.
BMoreover, disabled children are not just a burden, they often enrich the lives of their parents precisely because of
their disability. The open and happy nature of many children with mental disabilities can be a cause of great joy for
the rest of their family. Parents and siblings learn charity and humility. In fact, it is very difficult to tell if a
baby is disabled before it is born!
What advice would you have given, for example, to the following family: The
father suffers from syphilis; the mother has Tuberculosis. They have four children already, the first is blind, the
second died, the third is deaf and dumb, and the fourth has TB like its mother. The parents are expecting their fifth
child, and they would have an abortion if you advised them to do so? If you say they should, you have just decided to
What if the mother was raped?
- Pregnancies after rape are extremely rare. The female body has protective mechanisms in extremely stressful
situations. Her ovarian tubes will contract and thus almost always prevent conception.
- One evil cannot be made better by committing another evil. It's the criminal that has to be punished, not the
child who carries no responsibility for its fathers crime. For the mother, the abortion often constitutes a second
trauma. An affected woman said: "I could just about live with the rape, but the abortion was too much for me."
- If the mother cannot love the child, which can happen after rape, she can give it up for adoption. This enables
the child to live and spares the mother from much suffering.
g) Should abortion be punished?
"My mother and my then boyfriend literally carried me to the doctor. Now my baby is dead! Who protects us women
from force and violence when we have fallen pregnant?" - an affected woman
- The person who commits the crime, that is the doctor, should be punished, not the woman. Thus abortion will not be
- The aim of the punishment is not revenge, it is protection. Every human being is of the same value, and should be
protected equally in the eyes of the law. Thus, with murder of a born person being a crime, murder of the unborn child
must be a crime, too.
- The punishment protects the mother as well as the child, as she can use the law as an argument against the
Does prohibition imply a return to back street abortions?
The number of women who have come to harm or were even killed by illegal abortions has been greatly overestimated by
pro-choice supporters. Dr. Nathanson who campaigned for freedom of choice in the United States admitted to the
Legalising abortion for reasons of protection is equal to forbidding door locks, so that burglars cannot get hurt when
they break the windows. Such a law will be seen as an invitation in the long term. The feeling for what is right and
wrong dwindles and the number of abortions increases.
"We knew that the overall number of abortions in the States was about 100,000 a year. We propagated numbers of
one million a year, again and again, to the public and in the press. We also knew that the number of women who died each
year from illegal abortions was between 200 and 250, but we told the media that there were 20,000 deaths a
h) Is the world overpopulated?
The Western world has had a reduction in birth rates for many years. In order to keep a population up at the same
numbers each woman has to have at least two children. The average in Austria is 1.2 at present, which will lead to an
inversion of the population pyramid. An ageing population poses increasing social and financial problems.
Concerning the developing world, the following is to be taken into account:
- The fertility rate is decreasing in every country in the world. Increasing education of women and
increasing wealth are the main factors. The UNO expects the world population to stagnate at around 9000 Billion people.
- The increase in food production (2.1%) is higher than the increase in population (1.7%). Food and resources would
be well enough for everybody if they were distributed fairly.
- Famines are mainly caused by wars and corrupt governments.
- The developing world doesn't need abortion and contraception, it needs education and well-constructed help to
fight the poverty. When poverty improves the fertility rate will fall by itself.
i) Sexuality and conception regulation
What does the marital union mean?
Man is a wonderful union of soul and body. Thus the body, too, essentially belongs to manhood. It is the expression of
the soul. A smile, a hug, or a kiss do not only concern the body. Rather, they are gestures that manifest man's soul.
Still less is sexual union of man and woman something merely biological, but it is the expression of the innermost core
of the person. In the depth of his heart everybody knows what sexual union means in the language of the body: Total
If one were to put the language of this union into human words, one would say: "I love you with all that you are, I
decide for you without reservation, I accept you with your past and with your ? our rather our ? future, whatever may
happen, and I gratefully consider your capability to become father/mother as a gift and task for us both."
What are the requirements for true union in love?
The requirements of the body:
Complementarity. Man and woman are fit for each other according to their bodies, but also according to their
characters. In homosexual relations, on the contrary, no true union can take place, since no complementarity is given.
Union. When man and woman become one, they express their mutual self-gift. Sexual "practices", however,
conform to this meaning. In place of loving union, satisfaction becomes the main constituent of the sexual act.
Openness for life. Sexual union is naturally fruitful. The capacity to give life to a new human being is an
essential part of becoming one. But sexual union loses its integrity and completeness if it is manipulated by artificial
The requirements of the soul:
Freedom. Only when both partners freely decide for the union, it can truly be acted out in love. Nothing is more
contradictory to true love than rape. But even the hidden violence of seduction excludes a free and conscious act of the
Assent. Only in the security of an irrevocable assent, the partners can truly become one. Only when both partners
have decided for each other without reservations 'for better and for worse', the union is true and complete. Marriage is
the expression of this decision. "Free cohabitation", on the other hand, does not grant this security. It is
to the mutual gift of self for a certain period and contradicts the inner significance of the act.
The motive of love. Conjugal union demands that the partners pay attention to their mutual love. To come
together in a thoughtless or careless manner does not accord with the dignity of this human act. Even when the couple
intends to beget a child, the guiding motive must always be love. Much less is the intention merely to satisfy one's
bodily needs adequate for the conjugal act. On the contrary, it is an insult to the one who is used in such a way.
Can contraception prevent abortions?
Contraception does not rule out the 'need' for abortions. On the contrary, rising use of contraception seems to go with
rising numbers of abortions.
- In the 60s Western contraception was introduced in conjunction with the sexual revolution. Despite contraception
being widely available abortion was legalised in most Western countries.
- Abortion laws are more liberal in countries that offer contraception.
- Women who use contraception have a higher rate of abortions. Those women who have had an abortion use more
What are the reasons for the connection between contraception and abortion?
- If contraception fails, abortion is the insurance option. 50 % of abortions happen after contraception
- Contraception leads to an attitude against children. The intimate relationship of sex and children is denied. The
child is seen as a danger and an intruder.
- Contraception enables frequent changes of partner. This leads to more unwanted pregnancies and therefore
- In the one-sided contraception advice and relationship advice habitually provided for young people sexuality is
portrayed exclusively as a source of fun and as an outlet for lust. Young people feel they have to keep up with the
others. This again can lead to pregnancies and abortions.
- Some contraceptive methods are actually abortive. The step to abortion thus becomes small. Condom (contraceptive)
->Pill (contraceptive and some abortive features)->Morning after pill (abortive)->abortion
What are the side effects of the contraceptive pill?
- It carries a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks. The combination of smoking and contraceptive pill increases
the risk 22 times.
- The hormones of the pill increase blood clotting. This increases the incidence of thromboses.
- The pill increases the risk of breast and liver cancer.
- Further effects can be weight gain, depression, loss of libido?
Are condoms an adequate protection against AIDS?
Condoms have a Pearl-Index of 10, which means that of 100 couples who have regular intercourse for a year, 10 will get
pregnant. In the absence of contraception this number would be about 70.
Women are only fertile on 4 days of their cycle, and then only about 30 % of the time. Women are therefore fertile for
only about 5% of any given cylce, and yet even with condom use there are 10 pregnancies for 100 couples per year.
HIV can be transmitted every single day of the year. Consequently, the danger of contracting the disease is 20 times
higher than the probability of becoming pregnant.
Is natural family planning safe?
The sympto-thermal method according to Dr. Josef Roetzer, which has been tried on thousands of couples, has a Pearl
Index of less than one. This is as good as that of the contraceptive pill. The correct method necessitates daily
temperature measurement and testing of discharge. It is also based on a relationship of trust between the partners: they
need to communicate well and they need to be able to abstain.
What are the advantages of natural family planning?
- The woman gets to know her body and cycle intimately.
- The partner learns to respect the woman's cycle and cannot regard the woman's body as an object to be used..
- It promotes communication and alternative ways of showing each other affection.
- It is free of charge or side effects.
j) What does the Church say about abortion?
Holy Scripture testifies that man possesses his unique dignity already before birth:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.."
"My frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the
earth." (Ps 139,15)
Why is the Church so determined?
Man possesses a special dignity, since he is the only living being on earth who carries in himself the image of God. At
the moment of conception God creates an immortal soul for every individual man. Each one receives the capacity to know
and to love Him. For each one Christ has died on the Cross. For each one He has a plan.
In this context the fifth commandment "You shall not kill" is clearly intelligible. We do not have the right
over the life of another human being, who is equal to us in dignity. For this reason, man must be respected as sacred in
all stages of his life, as John Paul II points out in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
How does the Church punish abortion?
The Church inflicts the punishment of excommunication upon all who collaborate with abortion. The judgment need not be
pronounced explicitly, for in the case of abortion, the deed automatically procures the judgment.
Excommunication does not mean that a person is excluded from the Church, but only that he is not allowed to receive the
sacraments. However, as soon as he is reconciled with God and the Church through confession, he may receive the