The Roman Catholic Church says that purposefully causing an abortion is a moral wrongdoing. It
bases this view on natural law and on the written word of God. The Church says that all human life
begins when the woman's egg is fertilised by the male’s sperm. So according to their perspective,
from that instant, a unique life begins, independent of the life of the mother and father. Most of the
features that distinguish us from our parents are all written in the genetic code that comes into
existence at that moment. So to the Church, each new life that begins at this point is “not a potential
human being but a human being with potential”.
Since the fifteen hundreds, causing or having an abortion led to an automatic excommunication
from the church. This is written in the Code of Canon Law (1983): "A person who actually procures
an abortion incurs automatic excommunication" (Canon 1398). The Church has looked down
abortion from the 2nd century CE. A document called the Didache which was written in the 2nd
century states that: "You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to
perish". The firm stance taken by the Roman Catholic Church has underpinned many of the pro-life
groups that have been formed to oppose the legalisation of abortion. The Church itself has played a
major part in the politics of the abortion debate throughout the world.
For the Church, there is no distinction between defending human life and promoting the dignity of the human person.
Pope Benedict XVI writes in Caritas in Veritate. . . that "The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that 'a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or...