Pope approves hysterectomies when the uterus is not suitable for procreation

Pope approves hysterectomies when the uterus is not suitable for procreation

REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis considers hysterectomies "morally licit" when the body is no longer suitable for procreation.

In an audience granted to the Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Luís Francisco Ferrer, the Pope approved and ordered the publication of a response to a 'doubt' (dubia) regarding the moral implications of a woman getting a hysterectomy in specific cases.

This position is included in a communication from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith regarding a moral doubt about the removal of the uterus, approved by the Pope on December 10, 2018, and released today.

The cases presented to the Vatican refer to situations in which the uterus is no longer suitable for procreation and medical experts have reached the certainty that a pregnancy will bring about a spontaneous abortion.

In these cases, "removing a reproductive organ incapable of bringing a pregnancy to term should not be qualified as direct sterilization, which is and remains intrinsically illicit as an end and as a means," the note says.

The 'response', however, does not say that a hysterectomy is always the best decision - only that it is a morally legitimate choice, which does not exclude other options, such as accepting periods of infertility or total abstinence.

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