“Abortion remains a grave and serious wrong.” The ABC’s of Catholic Doctrine By Lianne Tiu

9Abortion is one of the greatest evils in the world. In fact, a Catholic is automatically excommunicated (even without the Church’s intervention) the moment he/she commits abortion. The mother who asks for the abortion, the father who pays for it, and anyone who encourages the woman to do it – besides being guilty of mortal sin – are excommunicated for deliberately and knowingly committing this sin. This includes doctors and nurses who perform the abortion. Their crime is even more heinous because they are the ones who kill the baby.
To be excommunicated does not mean that one is banned from church or he/she is not a Catholic anymore. It means that the excommunicant is still obligated to attend Mass but is deprived of all the sacraments (except the sacrament of confession). He/she cannot receive Holy Communion or be confirmed until he goes to confession and the excommunication is lifted by a competent authority (the local bishop or priests to whom the bishop has delegated this power).
Pope Francis recently declared Dec. 8, 2015 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) to Nov. 20, 2016 (Feast of the Sacred Heart) as the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. During this year, all priests will be allowed to absolve those who have committed abortion and who, with contrite heart, ask for forgiveness. News went viral regarding this, and some even mentioned that the Pope has shown “more understanding” regarding abortion. We have to be clear that the Pope’s gesture does not mean that abortion has become a lesser evil.
The Pontiff wrote that because of the contraceptive mentality of our time, many people are unaware of the extreme harm of what they are doing; such as when they take contraceptive pills which are abortifacient, or when they fail to realize that life begins at the moment of fertilization. He is also aware of those women who felt that they had no other option and were pressured to undergo an abortion. The Holy Father’s compassion toward those who suffer the scar of abortion, however, does not stop him from being firm to the Church’s sacred teachings. Abortion remains a grave and serious wrong.
(The Faith Explained Today by Fr. Joe Babendreier; “Understanding Pope Francis’ gesture rightly ” by Archbishop Socrates Villegas; Pope Francis’s Year of Mercy Letter; “Catholicism: Excommunication and Other Penalties” For Dummies)