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    Question 82: A new poll (March 6, 2006) conducted for the Fox News Channel finds that a majority of Americans are opposed to a new abortion ban in South Dakota because it does not contain exceptions for abortions in the case of rape and incest. What is the Catholic Church's position on abortion in cases or rape and incest? How does the view of other Christian faiths differ (if at all) from that of the Catholic Church?

 

    Answer: Respect for the sacredness of life in the womb originates in Christianity’s Jewish roots. The Roman Catholic Church has always condemned abortion — the direct and purposeful taking of the life of the unborn child. In principle, Catholic Christians believe that all life is sacred from conception until natural death, and the taking of innocent human life, whether born or unborn, is morally wrong. The Church teaches, "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being" ("Donum vitae," 5).

 

This teaching has been part and parcel of Christianity since the time of the Apostles: The "Didache" ("The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles," c. 80 A.D.) asserted, "You shall not procure abortion. 

 

After the legalization of Christianity in 313, the condemnation against abortion remained. For example, St. Basil in a letter to Bishop Amphilochius (374) clearly pronounces the Church’s teaching: "A woman who has deliberately destroyed a fetus must pay the penalty for murder" and "Those also who give drugs causing abortions are murderers themselves, as well as those who receive the poison which kills the fetus."

 

To oppose this instruction contradicts the revelation of Sacred Scripture and Christian tradition. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is the only Christian body, which fully upholds this teaching today.

 

How the child is conceived is not relevant to this issue. A baby conceived through rape or incest  is not responsible for the sin of the biological father, so why should it be punished by death? There are many other options.

 

 

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