Vatican City, Jan 3, 2019 / 17:01 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published Thursday a response clarifying that a hysterectomy is a licit act when a woman’s womb is not suited for procreation and medical experts are certain an eventual pregnancy will bring about a spontaneous abortion before viability.
The CDF's Response to a question on the liceity of a hysterectomy in certain cases was published Jan. 3. It was signed Dec. 10, 2018, by Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., prefect, and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, secretary of the congregation.
The CDF said its response regards “situations in which procreation is no longer possible,” and it completes responses, “which retain all of their validity,” given in 1993 to questions proposed concerning “uterine isolation” and related matters.
The 1993 responses stated that hysterectomy is licit when there is a grave and present danger to the life or health of the mother (because it is chosen for therapeutic reasons; its aim is to curtail a serious present danger such as hemorrhage which cannot be stopped by other means), but that hysterectomy and tubal ligation are illicit when they are intended to make impossible an eventual pregnancy which can pose some risk for the mother (because they are direct sterilization).
In an illustrative note accompanying its response, the CDF said the question at hand is different from the cases of direct sterilization discussed in the 1993 responses because of “the certainty reached by medical experts that in the case of a pregnancy, it would be spontaneously interrupted before the fetus arrives at a state of viability.”