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Fact Check Friday- “What about the life of the mother?"

This weeks claim...

"Abortion protects the health and well-being of the mother”


What they Say

We've been looking at some of the hard questions often raised when abortion is discussed. We've heard that our laws and our values about abortion must include room for exceptions in tough situations. We can't expect a woman who was a victim of rape or incest to carry to term, right? And what about the life of the mother?

Totally banning abortion makes some people uncomfortable. And somehow we feel better knowing that the "hard cases" will be met with the "compassionate" remedy of abortion.


Let's Take a Look

The three exceptions often cited to justify legal abortion are rape, incest, and life of the mother; although, according to the Guttmacher Institute and the Center for Disease Control, these exceptions make up less than 1% of all abortions. This does not stop pro-abortion activists from using the 1% to justify the other 99% of all abortions.

Abortion advocates are spreading the dangerous lie that life-saving care is not or may not be permitted in states with abortion bans. These statements are untrue (as we will show) and lead to confusion and poor outcomes for women.

Should laws include an exception for cases where the mother's life is endangered? Do states with abortion bans prevent doctors from giving care to preserve the mothers life?


What About the Life of the Mother?

According to the CDC, the risk of dying from pregnancy and childbirth in the United States is less than 10 in 100,000 live births. They go on to say that only 22% of pregnancy related deaths occur during the pregnancy (the remaining are post partum) and 80% are preventable deaths.


The leading causes of maternal death are untreated ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage complications, and severe nausea that if left untreated, can lead to death. Each of these threats to a mother's life is detectable and complications are preventable with early detection and care.


Medical operations such as the removal of a cancerous uterus or the removal of an ectopic pregnancy are moral (even under Catholic teaching) and are not considered abortions. Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) are not considered "induced abortions." No state permits the prevention of medical care for these conditions. As a matter of fact, the current de-medicalization of abortion ignores the threat of ectopic pregnancy and provides abortion pills to women who may in fact have an undiagnosed condition. Medical pregnancy centers like ours offer early ultrasound at no charge to women and can detect indications of ectopic pregnancies or impending miscarriage in plenty of time to get treatment.


This means that there is almost never a circumstance in which abortion would save a mother's life, and in fact abortion may even contribute to the threat.


Yes, but aren't there still some instances where abortion intervention is needed?


Twenty-five states have one or more strong gestational limits on abortion that are either in effect or are enjoined while in litigation. Each of these states permits abortion in those rare and heartbreaking circumstances when it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. Physicians can make this determination based on their “reasonable medical judgment,” a standard very common in the medical profession and used for any case involving medical malpractice litigation. Physicians are trained to use their best judgment to care for patients; however, it would be prudent for state medical boards, state medical societies, state boards of pharmacy, hospital quality committees, and hospital attorneys to provide more detailed guidance to doctors on how to reach a determination that abortion is necessary. Tragically, this type of guidance appears slow in coming. (From Charlotte Lozier Institute)


The Good and the Best

During a conversation about politics, abortion laws, and expections, one of our Network of Life Board Members responded saying, Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable--the art of the next best.

Sadly even the most pro-life public leaders must sometimes settle for the good in place of the best. In their hearts, they are abolitionists, but the work of passing laws (at least for now) is incremental. Their work is to move the ball down the field toward the goal. We must move our culture toward the perfect while we have the imperfect.


But we who are standing for the unborn and their mothers have the responsibility to be the idealist. We look to the future of what's possible. We must reinforce the inestimable value of human life without exception.


What are the Facts

A couple of facts must be accepted before discussing the life of-the-mother exception:

1) The life of the mother and the life of the child are equal – one life is not more important than the other.

2) Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of a human being in utero.

3) The loss of a child is a tragic event no matter what the circumstance.

4) Agenda driven rhetoric that exploits these heartbreaking circumstances is dishonest and immoral.

5) Life threatening circumstances are very rare. The most common are Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage which can be detected by early ultrasound. Care for those conditions is not considered induced abortion.


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