By Richard A. McCormick
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Additional info for Ambiguity in Moral Choice
In dealing with abortion of a pregnancy to avoid shame or burden or an unwanted childan abortion I presume he considers immoralhe says: "The ultimate goal (in this case avoidance of shame or burden) enters into the act of terminating the pregnancy. " 43 Granted, the intention does shade meaning. But the question remains: is an action with this meaning morally acceptable? If he considers the act immoral (as he seems to), it can only Page 36 be because there is no proportion between "avoiding shame or burden" and destroying fetal life.
Canceling out" is terribly loose theological language and it is not clear what Van der Marck intends by it. " I do not believe that the evidence justifies the statement that the rule of double effect was denying that one aspect (the evil) of the action had intersubjective significance. To say that it was "canceled out" by indirectness implies this. The rule was rather insisting on just the contrary, and for this reason demanding a truly proportionate reason. If the evil effect had been "canceled out'' by use of the double effect, no proportionate reason would have been demanded.
Here Grisez modifies the textbook understanding of the double effect. He believes that the modern formulation is too restrictive. It insists too much on the behavioral aspect, the physical causality, in determining the meaning of the act. In the textbook tradition, if evil is the sole immediate effect of the physical act, then it is directly produced and hence directly intended. For example, Page 43 one may not "shell out" an ectopic fetus that represents a mortal threat to the mother, though he may excise a pathological tube which contains a fetus.
Ambiguity in Moral Choice by Richard A. McCormick