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Old 13th November 2009, 12:17 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default indirect abortion

indirect abortion is not what most people mean when they say 'abortion'. However, this is the term used by moral theologians and in some Church documents.

Murder is the direct and voluntary (deliberate) killing of an innocent human being; it is morally direct because the deliberately chosen act is inherently directed at the death of the human person.

indirect abortion occurs when the death of the prenatal is not intended AND is not a direct result of the chosen act. The death of the prenatal is an unintended bad consequence (in the third font of morality). The chosen act is NOT the killing of the prenatal, but the treatment of a disease afflicting the mother.

For example, a woman is in the first trimester of pregnancy and she learns that she has cancer. If she waits to receive the cancer treatment (until the prenatal is viable outside the womb and is delivered), the cancer will kill both the mother and the child. If she receive the cancer treatment, the prenatal will not survive, but the mother may survive. Taking this treatment is moral, even though the prenatal is killed by the treatment, because the intention is to save the life of the mother (good first font), the chosen act has the moral object of saving the life of the mother by giving her a cancer treatment; this treatment is not inherently directed at the death of the prenatal, but at the health of the mother. In the third font, the good consequences (the possibility of saving the mother's life) outweighs the bad consequence of the death of the prenatal because the prenatal's life cannot be saved no matter what is done.

This is referred to as indirect abortion. Although indirect abortion is not intrinsically evil, it is still only moral if all three fonts of morality are good. So if there is a reasonable chance of saving the prenatal's life, by waiting until the prenatal is viable before beginning the cancer treatments, then they must wait. Indirect abortion would not be moral in every circumstance.
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Old 13th November 2009, 03:35 AM
CB CB is offline
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Does this also include ectopic pregnancies?
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Old 13th November 2009, 01:52 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB View Post
Does this also include ectopic pregnancies?

Yes, ectopic pregnancies, since the prenatal's life cannot be saved, can fall under indirect abortion. But as always, it is never moral to directly kill the prenatal. It is moral to treat the disease directly.

In the case of ectopic pregnancy, it would not be moral, for example, to take an abortive drug that kills the prenatal. This type of 'medication' does not treat an illness, but rather directly kills a human being.

However, in my theological opinion, it would be moral in the case of ectopic pregnancy to remove the prenatal from its location (if indeed it is in a location where it cannot survive). The medical disorder is that the prenatal is in the wrong location, so removing the prenatal is a direct treatment of the disorder, not a direct killing. In the future, it might become medically possible to implant the prenatal in the womb, so removal is not inherently directed at the death of the prenatal, but only a treating the disorder.
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Old 13th November 2009, 10:53 PM
TheGiftOfLife
 
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Ron, there are many cases of ectopic pregnancies that do not get diagnosed and the baby survives. It is rare but it does happen. How do we reconcile this?
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Old 13th November 2009, 11:45 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Ron, there are many cases of ectopic pregnancies that do not get diagnosed and the baby survives. It is rare but it does happen. How do we reconcile this?

The morality of any knowingly chosen act depends on the three fonts. In this case, the third font is the totality of the good consequences for all persons affected by the act weighed against the bad consequences. But the consequences are what is reasonably anticipated, including any degree of likelihood. So there may be a very small possibility that the prenatal could survive, but a much more probable risk to the life of the mother (and her death would result in the prenatal's death also). The morality of the third font is based on a reasonable evaluation of the likelihood of good and bad consequences, not on the actual outcome.

So if you decide to take the kids with you on a drive to the supermarket, and you get into a car accident and one child dies, the morality of the act of taking the kids to the supermarket was only based on the small degree of risk, not on the actual outcome. The chosen act does not become immoral if a very unlikely bad consequence occurs.
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