Was excommunication the right response to the Arizona abortion?

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A moral theologian weighs in on the response to the abortion that took place at a Catholic hospital. 

Guest blog by Patrick McCormick

Bishop Olmsted and the Vatican claim that every "direct" abortion is always wrong. They base their assertion on one traditional reading of the moral principle of "double effect," a reading condemning every physically "direct" attack on innocent human life, but permitting "indirect" abortions (like excising a tumor from a pregnant woman with uterine cancer) when it is the only way to save the life of the mother.