respect Life

Learn about issues relating to LIFE - Beginning of Life Issues, End of Life Issues and Whole Life Issues

In Part III, Section II, Article 5 (The 5th Commandment-You Shall Not Kill), the Catechism of the Catholic Church includes information regarding the following:

beginning of life
"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."

~ Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2258 Citing Donum vitae, intro. 5.

Beginning of Life Issues include the following: Reproductive Technologies, Infertility, Miscarriage and Infant Loss, Stem Cell Research and Cloning, Abortion, and Contraception.

Reproductive Technologies

Every human being is always to be accepted as a gift and blessing of God. However, from the moral point of view a truly responsible procreation vis-à-vis the unborn child must be the fruit of marriage.
~ Donum vitae

In considering the morality of reproductive technologies, the overarching question the Church seeks to anwer is the following:

Does the intervention replace the marital act or assist the marital act? If the intervention replaces the marital act, it is "contrary to the unity of marriage, to the dignity of the spouses, to the vocation proper to parents, and to the child's right to be conceived and brought into the world in marriage and from marriage." Donum vitae, No. II, A, 2.

  • "The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.” ~ Dignitas Personae
    • Conception: Fertilization of oocyte (egg) by a sperm which results in a new human being with his/her own unique DNA
    • Embryo: General term used to describe the early stages of development; generally refers to the time from implantation to 8 to 12 weeks after conception but can also be used to refer to a newly conceived human being

In vitro Fertilization (IVF)

  • In vitro, meaning "in glass" and also is known as "test-tube babies," refers to a procedure in which male and female gametes (sperm and egg) are withdrawn from donors, fertilized and then cultivated "in glass." These embryos can then be in planted in the womb of a woman. This procedure often results in the destruction or freezing of "spare" embryos.
    • Types of IVF
      • Heterologous IVF: the use of egg and sperm for IVF from at least one donor other than spouses joined in marriage
      • Homologous IVF: the use of egg and sperm for IVF from spouses joined in marriage

Artificial Insemination

  • Artifical insemination: technique which results in human conception through the transfer into a woman of sperm previously collected from her husband (Homologous artificial insemination) or from a donor other than the husband (Heterologous artificial insemination).


  • A surrogate mother refers to a woman who undergoes implantation of an embryo who is unrelated to her. After birth, she surrenders the child to the genetic parents and/or those who made the agreement with her to carry the embryo to term. Surrogate motherhood also refers to a women who carries an embryo which was created from the joining of her egg and the sperm of man who is not her husband. The embryo is implanted and she surrenders the child to those who made the agreement with her to carry the embryo to term.
  • "[Surrogacy] is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families." Donum vitae, No. II, A, 3.

Articles and Documents on Reproductive Technologies


Spouses are called to be open to accepting a child from God. No one can guarantee that each couple will receive this gift. This can be a painful truth for couples who have longed to conceive and raise a child together. Their suffering should call forth the sympathy and support of others and of the whole church. Yet, as Pope John Paul II has said, husband and wife in their love for each other can also learn to redirect their openness to children to become open to life in many other ways that are badly needed today: “to couples who cannot have children of their own I say: you are no less loved by God; your love for each other is complete and fruitful when it is open to others, to the needs of the apostolate, to the needs of the poor, to the needs of orphans, to the needs of the world." (Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology, issued by USCCB, November 17, 2009)

Infertility Resources

Stem Cell Research and Cloning

Church proclaims that from the moment of conception the "human being is to be respected and treated as a person." The use of embryonic stem cells for experimentation or potential therapeutic purposes is not ethically acceptable because these stems cells are obtained through the destruction of human embryos.

Adult stem cells are obtained from human beings after birth and can found throughout the body as well from from umbilical cords, placentas, and amniotic fluid (should be obtained with consent of donor). Adult stem cell research for therapeutic purposes is both ethically acceptable and to be enouraged.

Did you know that there are over 70 adult stem cell used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions? (Click here for full list.)

Resources on Stem Cell Research and Cloning


In Scripture, we read ...

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. Gen. 1:27

You knit me in my mother’s womb . . . nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret. Ps. 139:13, 15

You have been my guide since I was first formed . . . from my mother’s womb you are my God. Ps. 22:10-11

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Jer. 1:5

Because human life is sacred, the deliberate procedure whose purpose is to end the life of an unborn child, either by killing the child while still in the womb, or by inducing the birth before viability - abortion - is gravely contrary to moral law. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2271

Project Rachel, a compassionate and confidential ministry, extends God’s unconditional love and forgiveness to women and men who experience the tragedy of abortion. By offering a safe place for those suffering to be reconciled with God and his Church, Project Rachel helps those suffering after abortion experience mercy, forgiveness, and peace. We are here to help after abortion. Call (317) 452-0054 or email to begin a journey of journey.


  • USCCB Webpage on Abortion includes Church Documents and Teachings, Fact Sheets, Articles and Publications, Columns and Commentary, Testimony and Letters, News Releases and Statements, and Additional Resources
  • Fetal Development
  • Pregnancy Assistance Resources
    • Women's Care Center of Indianpolis: Services include pregnancy testing, pregnancy verification, ultrasounds, resoources to obtain prenatal care, and material assistance.
    • Optionline: (Text "HELPLINE" to 313131): Facing a crisis pregnancy? Call th2 24 hour hotline, text or use the online chat system. You can also search for a local pregnancy care center by zip code.
    • St. Elizabeth Coleman-Pregnancy and Adoption Services: Pregnant and need help? Call or Text: Nadja at 317-416-6394 or Cheryl at 317-709-1377
    • Great Lakes Gabriel Project: an ever-growing, Christian-based network of church volunteers standing together in their commitment to offer assistance to women and families facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies. Call Megan Conway at 317-213-7539 for an appointment, peer counseling, a pregnancy test or an ultrasound.
    • Birthline Ministry: providing material assistance to pregnant women and mothers of infants. Call (317) 635-4808 to make an appointment.

end of life






End of Issues include the following: General Issues, Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide, Capital Punishment/Death Penalty.

GEneral End of Life Issues

Resources from USCCB on End of Life

Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide

Resources from USCCB on Euthansasia and Physician Assisted Suicide

Assisted Suicide Videos - Please Share

Print One-Pagers that address various misperceptionsabout assisted suicide

PAS: Not Just About Autonomy

PAS Does Not Improve End-of-Life Care

PAS: Not Just About Dying Patients

PAS Promotes Suicide

Q&A from the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Committee on Pro-Life Activities regarding The Holy See’s Responses on Nutrition and Hydration for Patients in a “Vegetative State

Capital Punishment/Death Penalty


whole life issues


Whole Life Issues include the following: Human Trafficking, International Human Rights Violation, Violence & War, Pornography, Domestic Violence, Religious Liberty, Immigration, and Gossip.

Human Trafficking

human trafficking








International Human Rights Violations

More coming soon!

Violence & War





RESOURCES Coming Soon!

Domestic Violence


Religious Liberty


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