Everyone knows that the Catholic Church is against abortion. Hardly anyone understands why.
Basically, the Church teaches that no innocent life can ever be taken by anyone, in any circumstances. But the unborn child is an innocent human being. Therefore, its life can never, ever be taken by anyone. Change this principle in any way and you open Pandora’s Box. Once that’s open, you’re not going to be able to close it again.
For most healthy-minded people, this principle seems generally acceptable and reasonable. Only rabid “pro-choicers”, who ignore scientific facts and call the unborn child a blob of cells, will contest it outright.
However, even people who would otherwise call themselves “pro-life” begin to question the Church’s teaching when the pregnancy appears to put the mother’s life in danger. At this point, some will say that the mother’s life is more important than the child’s and so, in this case, the child’s life can be taken in order to save the mother. This is evidently wrong because it openly violates the principle that no innocent life can ever be taken, in any circumstances.
Others will reject this position and agree that the child’s life can never be taken, even if the mother’s life is in danger. However, they will add that if the mother’s life is in danger, birth can be induced if that is the only way of saving the mother’s life. This, they say, is allowable, even if the doctor is certain that the child will not survive outside the womb because it is below the age of viability. This is not an abortion, they say. They call it a termination of pregnancy.
The last argument might seem to be in agreement with the principle that innocent life can never be taken. However, in reality it is not. Prior to viability (at present minimum 23 weeks), to induce birth means certain death for the child. It is pure sophistry to say that taking a human being out of the only possible environment where it can survive at that particular stage in its development is not the same thing as killing it. Induction of an unviable child is an abortion, not so gory, but it is still an abortion. Simple.
After the minimum age for viability, this induction may be carried out if there is a proportionate danger to the life of the mother. This is because there is a chance that the child will survive.