Are Catholic Women who procure Abortion Excommunicated?

If they knew about that penalty when they committed the offense, Yes.

Canon 1398 “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

Pope Saint John Paul II states that the Church has punished those guilty of abortion from Her earliest years. He notes that both the old and the new Canon law excommunication persons who procure abortion:

John Paul II: “The Church’s canonical discipline, from the earliest centuries, has inflicted penal sanctions on those guilty of abortion. This practice, with more or less severe penalties, has been confirmed in various periods of history. The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished abortion with excommunication. The revised canonical legislation continues this tradition when it decrees that “a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication”. The excommunication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached, and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed. By this reiterated sanction, the Church makes clear that abortion is a most serious and dangerous crime, thereby encouraging those who commit it to seek without delay the path of conversion. In the Church the purpose of the penalty of excommunication is to make an individual fully aware of the gravity of a certain sin and then to foster genuine conversion and repentance.” [Evangelium Vitae 62]

And notice how this applies to “all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached” as well as accomplices. Are politicians who legalize or broaden the legalization of abortion accomplices “without whose help the crime would not have been committed”? Yes, they absolutely are. So women who procure abortion and politicians who clear the way for this crime against humanity to be legal under secular laws, are excommunicated — as long as they knew about the penalty at the time of the offense.

In addition, the eternal moral law as well as canon law also excommunicates any Catholics who reject a dogma of the faith, and the condemnation of abortion is dogmatic under Evangelium Vitae as well as the ordinary universal magisterium. So if you think direct abortion is not murder, and is sometimes justifiable, then you are also excommunicated for formal heresy (i.e. if you know you are rejecting Church teaching).

Unfortunately, promoter of various heresies Dr. Ed Peters is now proclaiming the contrary: Be Careful What You Ask For. He says that women who procure abortion are not excommunicated — contrary to the clear statement in Canon law and the teaching of a Pope-Saint in a papal encyclical.

* Here are some articles on the heresies he is promoting.
* And here is Dr. Monica Miller ripping into Peters for his false claim: Abortion, Cardinal Dolan, and excommunication: A response to Dr. Peters

Someday the conservative Catholic subculture is going to get what it is asking for: a Pope who excommunicates and otherwise sharply rebukes teachers of heresy and promoters of schism. And to their dismay, they will be among those excommunicated or rebuked.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
* My books of theology
* My translation of the Bible
* Please support my work

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