The previous lesson looked at sex, marriage, and sexual sins. This lesson will discuss life in the womb and sins against life.
- At the moment of conception (the moment the sperm fertilizes the ovum), a new human being with unique human DNA is created. At this very moment, the new human enters the first of many developmental stages.
- Like all other human beings, this tiny human needs time and nutrition to grow and, for the first nine months of this human’s life, the womb is the natural place in which this happens.
- During this period, the child resides in his mother’s womb, but later, he will reside outside his mother’s womb and continue to develop.
- Abortion is the intentional killing of an unborn child by another human being.
- Though there are many proposed reasons for abortion, it is intrinsically evil because, no matter the reason, intentionally killing an innocent human being is always murder.
- Murder is the intentional killing of an innocent human being by another human being.
- The term “abortion” is used simply to distinguish murder of a human inside the womb from murder of a human outside the womb.
- Nevertheless, since residence is not a factor in murder, intentionally killing an innocent human being inside or outside the womb is always murder. If residence could make murder a morally just act, then we could create all kinds of exceptions for murder.
- Read CCC paragraphs 2270-2275.
- “Hormonal contraceptives (the pill, the patch, the shot, and the vaginal ring) all contain small amounts of man-made estrogen and progestin hormones. These hormones work to inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy is prevented by a combination of factors. The hormonal contraceptive usually stops the body from ovulating (creating eggs). Hormonal contraceptives also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to go through the cervix and find an egg. Hormonal contraceptives can also prevent pregnancy by changing the lining (endometrium) of the uterus (womb) so it’s unlikely the fertilized egg will be implanted.” https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/birth-control-pills#1
- The last sentence of the above paragraph is critically important to understand. A fertilized egg is a newly conceived child. When this new child moves from its mother’s fallopian tubes to her uterus (about 3-4 days journey), the child implants in the uterus until birth. If the uterine lining (i.e. endometrium) is thinned by contraceptives, the child will be unable to implant and will die. Therefore, contraceptives are not only anti-unity (discussed under “Sexual Sins” above) they are anti-life. A person who intentionally uses contraceptives to avoid pregnancy can be guilty of negligent homicide if her newly created child dies in her womb as a result of contraceptive use.
- Citing the work of Dr. Don Gambrell, Dr. Murphy Goodwin and the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the AAPLOG estimates that between 104,100 to 1,894,620 pill induced abortions occur each year. In other words, purposely taking contraception could result in the unintentional murder of another human being. Even though this murder may be unintentional, it is no less evil. This is because of the intentional steps taken to create an environment in which the human could die. If we did this to a human outside the womb, we would go to prison for involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide.
- Read CCC paragraphs 2370 and 2399.
Euthanasia and Capital Punishment
Euthanasia (CCC 2277 to 2278) “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Thus, an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of ‘over-zealous’ treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.”
Capital Punishment (CCC 2267) “Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”