Means to treat, causing someone to feel happier and more relaxed or to be more healthy.

Abortion is the medical term for the loss of a pregnancy before viability when the unborn child is incapable of surviving outside of the mother’s womb.

INDUCED ABORTION concerns the deliberate interruption of a pregnancy before viability.

MISCARRIAGE is the term used by ay people and is the spontaneous loss of an unborn child due to natural causes. These terms should not be used synonymously when dealing with mothers.

This is defined as when the unborn child reaches such maturity in the womb that it could survive outside of the womb if delivered but this would be a rare occurrence. Generally viability is defined as 20 weeks of gestation or 500 grams. Thus if a pregnancy is lost either naturally or is induced it is classified medically as an abortion. Children born at 24 weeks of just before can or usually survive but this depends on the availability of trained health personnel and life support equipment for resuscitation and support. Viability is used frequently in law as the defining gestation which determines the legality of induced abortion. However, this definition in practice varies according to national legal jurisdictions thus in the UK it is 24 weeks but in Canada, there is no law restricting abortions which may be carried out right up until term.

Is the voluntary interruption of a pregnancy before viability of the unborn child which are carried out at the request of the mother and are unrelated to concerns for the health of the mother or the welfare of the unborn child.

Is the interruption of a pregnancy due to a diagnosis of a medical or obstetrical condition to avoid the risk of substantial harm to the mother or when the unborn child is diagnosed as having a lethal condition. Therapeutic abortion may be legal in some countries where abortion is illegal.

Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” “by the very commission of the offense,” and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.

Dr R. L. Walley
Executive Director.
Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.