| December 12, 2005
A mother who refused life-saving treatment to protect her unborn baby has died from cancer. “The doctors told her you are going to have to terminate the baby to receive the treatment.”
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These cases are, in real life presented the same. Abort and treat or recieve no treatment.
The catholic church accepts the principal of secondary intention in determining if an act is just.
An abortion with the primary objective of causing an abortion is wrong, regardless of what is intended to occur later.Treatment with chemotherapeutics that can save the mother’s life, but yet might (or even almost certainly) harm the infant is acceptable. The crux here is the primary intention, which is to treat; the secondary effect can be ethically tollerable if the benefit from the primary intention is sufficiently great. (a dead baby following a tummy tuck would not be justifiable).
There is little reason that the treating physicians would have to limit their treatment options to Abort or die. They could have offered to treat with the knowledge that infant harm or death could result.
Sometimes there is a third path, but in the pursuit of black/white choices we forget to look for all the forks in the road.
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