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I had an abortion. Does that mean I’m excommunicated, or can I return to the Church?

No matter what has happened, you can always come back to the Church. God’s mercy and forgiveness knows no bounds. While it is true that the Catechism teaches that the act of procuring an abortion has the penalty of excommunication attached to it, the Church also has extensive teachings and programs designed to help women (and men) heal after abortions.

The Catholic Church is the only denomination in the world that has a special ministry for those who have had abortions. There are specially trained clergy and therapists who can assist anyone seeking help. The Bishops of the U.S. first called for such an outreach right after the legalization of abortion. The Holy Father in the Section 99 of the Gospel of Life, tells women who have had abortions that there is hope and that the Father of Mercies is waiting to pour out forgiveness and healing if they come with a repentant heart. Furthermore, there are strict conditions governing whether one has actually incurred excommunication. The penalty–if it is incurred–can be removed.

Most dioceses in the U.S. have Project Rachel, the post-abortion healing ministry. If you would like to receive a referral to the ministry in your area, contact the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing at 1-800-5WE-CARE or email them at noparh@juno.com. They also have a website that your might find helpful. It is www.marquette.edu/rachel.
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