What did abortion mean in late Renaissance Italy? In what ways did the reforming Church conceive of it and try to regulate its practice? This study explores attitudes toward abortion in Italy in the second half of the sixteenth century through the lens of confessional discourses and practices. In the last three decades of the century, bishops and popes attempted to eradicate the practice of abortion by imposing shaming and increasingly severe punishments for its procurers. However, such initiatives were hindered by the social and practical consequences of bringing procurers of abortion to light. The ecclesiastical establishment had to rely on the secret space of the confessional to reform this aspect of morality. Exploring the negotiations between theological pronouncements and the sociopolitical realities of ecclesiastical administration, this article draws attention to the ambiguities inherent in early modern conceptions of abortion and contends that these led to inconsistent responses among Counter-Reformation ecclesiastical authorities.