1. Abortion is always gravely immoral.
“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”
2. A prenatal is defined as any human being from conception to birth. Medical procedures, which are absolutely necessary to save the life of a mother and which indirectly result in the death of a prenatal, are morally permissible only when all possible options for saving the life of the prenatal have been exhausted. If both the mother's life and the prenatal's life can be saved, both must be saved. If the prenatal's life can be saved by no other possible option than by risking or allowing the death of the mother, then the prenatal's life must be saved.
3. When voting in a democratic society where abortion is legal, Christians have an obligation to vote in such a way as to make abortion entirely illegal, or, if such a goal is not possible in the short term, to limit abortion as much as possible. This moral obligation applies to ordinary voters, to elected representatives, and to those appointed to office. Any Christian who votes with the intention of making abortion entirely legal, or of reducing limits and restrictions on abortion, commits an objective mortal sin.
4. However, it is not necessarily a sin to vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion. In a number of situations, a Christian voter, with the proper intention, can vote for a pro-abortion candidate without committing a sin.
b.) If the only candidates who have a reasonable chance of being elected are each pro-abortion, a Christian can vote for the least detestable candidate, with the intention of doing at least some good.
c.) If the candidate who is pro-abortion is running for an office that has no legal power related to abortion. For example, the mayor of a town would not have any power related to abortion, but the governor of a state would have such a power (since he could veto legislation and appoint judges). On the other hand, a lesser office is not necessarily unrelated to abortion. For example, some school boards may have some power or influence over the health education curriculum, or over school policy concerning parental notification and consent.
d.) If the pro-abortion candidate can reasonably be considered to accomplish more good with other issues than harm with the abortion issue, compared to the opposing pro-life candidate.
For example, suppose that the pro-life candidate would have little chance of changing government law or policy on abortion, due to entrenched pro-abortion support in government and in the populace. Such has been the case for several recent presidential administrations, which, though pro-life, were not able to end or significantly restrict abortion. Suppose further that the pro-abortion candidate is reasonably deemed able to do more good in other areas compared to the pro-life candidate. If the good that the pro-abortion candidate would do outweighs the good that the pro-life candidate would to, a Christian can vote for the pro-abortion candidate with the intention of doing as much good as possible, and with the intention of ending abortion, or restricting it as much as possible, as soon as possible.
e.) If the voter understands that it is God's will to vote for the pro-abortion candidate, despite their stance on abortion, because the pro-abortion candidate will change her mind about abortion and become pro-life soon after election.
5. Even so, pro-life candidates who show that they understand the difference between right and wrong on the abortion issue, as well as other moral issues, should typically have the vote and support of Christian citizens. A candidate who rejects abortion, on moral grounds and in contradiction to the pressures of secular society, shows qualities that would serve him well in dealing with many other issues and decisions.
6. Any Catholic (whether a public official or not) who publicly supports, promotes, encourages, or votes in favor of legalizing and widening access to abortion is committing an objective mortal sin. Any Catholic (whether a public official or not) who makes it clear through word or deed that he does not believe that abortion is always gravely immoral, is a heretic and is automatically excommunicated under Canon Law. All Catholic government officials, whether elected or appointed, are morally obligated to deny or restrict abortion whenever it is within their capability under the moral law.
6. Any Catholic judge who rules in favor of abortion commits an objective mortal sin. Any Catholic judge who uses his legal power to permit a woman to obtain an abortion, or to permit someone to pay for an abortion, or to permit someone to assist a woman in obtaining an abortion, or to permit someone to perform an abortion, when it is in any way, shape, or form within such judge's power to prevent or restrict abortion, commits an objective mortal sin. Furthermore, any Catholic judge who, in word or deed, expresses his belief that abortion is ever ethical or moral, or that it should be legal, is a heretic and is automatically excommunicated under Canon Law. All Catholic judges are morally obligated to deny or restrict abortion whenever it is within their capability under the moral law.
7. For those Catholic appointed to offices not directly involved in the abortion issue, if they ever have the opportunity to act, within the boundaries of the moral law, to deny or restrict abortion, they are morally obligated to do so.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
See also my article Abortion and Excommunication