Declaration: Protecting the Life of the Mother
I agree that there is never a situation in the law or in the ethical practice of medicine where a preborn child’s life need be intentionally destroyed by procured abortion for the purpose of saving the life of the mother. A physician must do everything possible to save the lives of both of his patients, mother and child. He must never intend the death of either.
There is never a reason in law or in practice to advocate a “life of the mother” exception for abortion. We base this statement on testimony of many pro-life physicians over the years, including John F. Hillabrand, M.D., Herbert Ratner, M.D., and Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D.
Further, we adhere to the following teaching of Pope Pius XII:
Every human being, even the infant in the mother’s womb, has the right to life immediately from God, not from the parent or any human society or authority. Therefore, there is no man, no human authority, no science, no medical, eugenic, social, economic or moral “indication” that can show or give valid juridical title for direct deliberate disposition concerning an innocent human life-which is to say, a disposition that aims at its destruction either as an end in itself or as the means of attaining another end that is perhaps in no way illicit itself. Thus, for example, to save the life of the mother is a most noble end, but the direct killing of the child as a means to this end is not licit.
Allocution to Italian midwives
Pope Pius XII
October 29, 1951
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