Q. Do aborted babies, stillborn babies, and those lost in miscarriage go to Heaven?
A. This question takes on deep personal significance for parents who have lost a child in one of these ways. The first point to emphasize is that God is a God of perfect love. His mercy is beyond what we can comprehend. We should be at peace knowing that God is the one who meets these precious children as they depart this life, even prior to having been born.
So what happens to these precious little ones? We do not ultimately know since the answer has never been revealed to us directly through Scripture, and the Church has never definitively spoken on this issue. However, we can offer various options based on the principles of our faith and the wisdom of the teachings of the saints. Here are various considerations:
First, we believe the grace of Baptism is necessary for salvation. These children are not baptized. That should not lead us to conclude they are not in Heaven. Though our Church teaches that Baptism is necessary for salvation, it also teaches that God can offer the grace of Baptism directly and outside the act of physical Baptism. Therefore, God can choose to offer the grace of Baptism to these children in a way that He chooses. God binds Himself to the sacraments, but He is not bound by them. Thus, we should not worry about the fact that these children die without the external act of Baptism. God can easily offer this grace to them directly if He so chooses.
Second, some suggest that God knows who among the aborted babies would have chosen Him or not. Though they never lived their lives in this world, some speculate that God’s perfect knowledge includes knowledge of how these children would have lived had they been given the opportunity. This is only speculation but is certainly a possibility. If this is true, then these children will be judged in accord with God’s moral law and His perfect knowledge of their free will.
Third, some suggest that God offers these babies salvation in a similar way that He offered it to the angels. They are given the opportunity to make a choice when they come into the presence of God, and that one choice becomes their eternal choice. Just as the angels had to choose whether or not they would serve God in love and freedom, so it might be that these children are given the opportunity to choose or reject God at the moment of their death. If they choose to love and serve God, they are saved. If they choose to reject God (as a third of the angels did), they are freely choosing Hell.
Fourth, it’s not correct simply to say that all aborted, miscarried, or stillborn babies automatically go to Heaven. This denies their free choice. We must trust that God will allow them to exercise their free choice, just as He does for all of us.
Finally, we must believe with absolute certainty that God loves these most precious children far more than any of us ever could. God’s mercy and justice are perfect, and these babies will be treated in accord with that mercy and justice.