Catechism of the Catholic Church

548 Part Three 2271 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: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. 75 God, the Lord of life, has entrusted tomen the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the ut­ most care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. 76 2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunica­ tion to this crime against human life. “Apersonwho procures a com­ pleted abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae, ” 77 “by the very commission of the offense,” 78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. 79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. 2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human indi­ vidual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation: “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and re­ spected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should men­ tion in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.” 80 “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are under­ mined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be 75 Didache 2, 2: SCh 248, 148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19, 5: PG 2, 777; Ad Diognetum 5, 6: PG 2, 1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL 1, 319-320. 76 GS 51 § 3. 77 CIC, can. 1398. 78 CIC, can. 1314. 79 Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324. 80 CDF, Donum vitae III. 1463 1930