What Did the FATHERS of the Church REALLY Say About Abortion?


I have excepted for brevity, the most illuminating passages. You can see longer passages which place these more in context at Catholic Answers.<—Click the link.

Didache “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” 70 AD “you shall not murder a child by abortion.

Letter of Barnabas 100 AD Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion

Plea for the Christians, 176-177 A.D.
women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God.

Clement of Alexandria 190 AD women who, in order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs … abort at the same time their human feelings…Abortion is killing human life that is under God’s care…

Tertullian 200 AD we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb,…To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing…life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception;

Surgical Instruments for abortion

“Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all and keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs [of the child] within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery.

“There is also [another instrument in the shape of] a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: They give it, from its infanticide function, the name of embruosphaktes, [meaning] “the slayer of the infant,” which of course was alive. . . .

“[The doctors who performed abortions] all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and [they] pitied this most luckless infant state, which had first to be put to death, to escape being tortured alive” (The Soul 25 [A.D. 210]).

Synod of Elvira (Spain, 306 A.D.)
“If a woman becomes pregnant by committing adultery, while her husband is absent, and after the act she destroys the child, it is proper to keep her from communion until death, because she has doubled her crime.”

Council of Ancyra 314 AD “Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived… a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill ten years [of penance before re-admittance to communion],”

Basil the Great (329-379 AD) She who has deliberately destroyed a fetus has to pay the penalty of murder. The hairsplitting difference between formed and unformed makes no difference to us….

Jerome (347-420 A.D) Some
, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of child murder”

John Chrysostom 391 AD For even the harlot you do not let continue a mere harlot, but make her a murderess also… and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder..”

Ambrose of Milan (339 to 397 A.D.) “The poor expose their children, the rich kill the fruit of their own bodies in the womb

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3 Responses

  1. Those are good comments, but these are not the Church Doctors, but the Church Fathers.

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