According to the RCC is supporting abortion the same sin as having an abortion?

(Not talking about the doctor. But supporters of the act of abortion.)

  • In my opinion, and speaking as a Catholic, since doctors and nurses at abortion clinics are in favor of performing abortions, and they freely choose to perform abortions, they are the more guilty of sinning against God then the women who come in for abortions.
    – user57467
    May 12, 2022 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


To be an accomplice to murder (e.g., selling a gun, abortion instruments, etc.) is not necessarily the same as actually murdering. There's a distinction between material and formal cooperation in sin (cf. this article for more info). Material cooperation supplies the means for committing the sin, and formal cooperation assists in the act directly (e.g., two hit-men shooting one person at the same time would be both formally cooperating in the murder). And there are distinctions within material cooperation: proximate and remote cooperation. For example, a nurse handing an abortionist an instrument during his murdering of a child would be proximate material cooperation (some may argue it's formal cooperation) in murder for the nurse (and certainly formal cooperation for the abortionist). A surgical company making instruments that could be used for other purposes than abortion would be a remote material cooperation in the sin of abortion.

Voting for pro-abortion politicians certainly makes one an accomplice in the murders that politician permits.

Also, in the case of abortion, being an accomplice to it and directly performing it are both excommunicable offenses.

  • selling a gun and abortion instruments,I would say that is not the same,one is an instrument of murder The other is not,but can be.Other then that thank you for your Answer
    – Gerrard
    Oct 31, 2016 at 23:18
  • I would give you an upvote But I don't have enough points or whatever
    – Gerrard
    Oct 31, 2016 at 23:46
  • 3
    As this question is about RCC doctrine, can you supply a reference for the position that states, "Voting for pro-abortion politicians certainly makes one an accomplice in the murders that politician permits"? Nov 1, 2016 at 3:38
  • @DickHarfield Given that about 50% of Catholics in the US voted for President Obama (per exit polls) and he is pro abortion, then we appear to have millions of accomplices running amok in the US. snarky grin Geremia, I suspect that support for your statement may come from Evangelium vitae -- if I can find the passage I'll offer to add the link and article ... unless you feel that, per sedevacantist views, he wasn't really the Pope. Nov 1, 2016 at 19:01
  • 1
    @Geremia Abortion instrument are used for killing and nothing else,but a gun is mostly not.
    – Gerrard
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:45


“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.” — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The loud voices that want all abortions to be illegal rather than a choice is a small minority, including among US Catholics yet the RCC is clear that abortion is wrong. This juxtaposition says shows it is two different things.

Pope Francis' actions around Pres. Biden's access to Communion has implications an example to follow. Pres. Biden openly supports choice and is a "good Catholic" rather than an murderer.

I think the answer lies in avoiding extremism and embracing a leveled approach that includes the principle of agency and loving Children of God. Despite RCC's stance on having an abortion, an individual still has to make a decision on who the vote for, and how they treat others. Would The Savoir throw bricks at clinicians of an abortion clinic? Can God be duped and enable the devil if only Lucifer promises to end abortions? Of course not.

I'm not an RCC expert (just a devote Christian), but a quick web search demonstrated that issue is nuances is not binary as @Geremina claims.

  • "but votes for that candidate for other reasons," the onus is on you to argue that all supporting of abortion is equivalent to what Ratzinger meant as "for other reasons". That said, "The loud voices that want all abortions to be illegal rather than a choice is a small minority" is almost certainly false given the number of surveys that show pro-life positions are supported. "Pres. Biden openly supports choice and is a "good Catholic" says He and his supporters, not the Church or her doctrine
    – eques
    May 10, 2022 at 17:45
  • @eques For me, religious liberty out weights abortion, for some candidates, it is quite easy, others take more work to sort out. Its on us. pewresearch.org/religion/2022/05/06/americas-abortion-quandary pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/10/20/… pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/03/30/… Does Pope Francis not speak for the RCC? catholicnews.com/…
    – Tom
    May 11, 2022 at 3:37
  • But it's not what you think that matters but what the Church teaches. You can't take quotes from Ratzinger et al and use them to justify what they didn't mean. Pope Francis is the head of the Church on earth at present, but to say "he speaks for the Church" doesn't potentially mean what you think it does. Also, "the RCC" as a term is only used by anti-Catholics; please don't use it
    – eques
    May 11, 2022 at 13:21
  • @eques The OP used the acronym RCC. I did not mean any offense, but "The Church" is not accurate either.
    – Tom
    May 11, 2022 at 17:18
  • My point is that the Catholic Church is ambiguous on this issue. If its not binary for the Pope and (62% ? of US Catholics) then it prob should not be binary for this question. Loving they neighbor is 1/2 of the the two great commandments. Treating pro-liberty, pro-privacy, pro-choice, what ever you want to call it as accomplice to murder is in consistent with the Savior's example ... and that of Pope Francis.
    – Tom
    May 11, 2022 at 17:21

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