Many people who believe that Life should be protected from fertilization to natural death also find themselves utterly stumped when someone whips out a “hard case.” Rape, incest, Life of the mother—are there not exceptions that oblige us, as a pro-woman community, to relax our staunch beliefs about abortion? The answer, unequivocally, is no.
Several groups of Pro-Life physicians have worked to untangle the knots created by abortion activists within the medical community, who insist that women in certain situations must undergo abortions or meet their own demise. The idea that abortion is ever necessary to save the Life of a mother is a patent misnomer. Yet, thanks to anti-Life bias – or perhaps unscrupulous laziness on the part of some doctors who opt for abortion as a means of quickly terminating pregnancy – the untruth has been systematically perpetuated throughout the medical community.
In reality, health risks associated with pregnancy can be Life-threatening for the mother, and sometimes necessitate what is accurately called premature parturition—or premature delivery. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), in a publication entitled, Premature Delivery is Not Induced Abortion,explains that this separation of mother and child prior to term is the ethical means of saving a mother without intentionally killing her child—even when the separation will result in the baby’s death:
There are times when separating the mother and her unborn child is necessary to save the life of the mother, even if the unborn child is too premature to live. In those tragic cases, if possible the life of the baby will be attempted to be preserved, and if not possible, the body of the unborn child is treated with respect, recognizing the humanity of the life which is lost in the separation. In contrast, the purpose of an induced abortion is to produce a dead baby.
There are various instances in which women’s lives can be threatened by the continuation of a pregnancy. For example, when a woman experiences an ectopic pregnancy, there can be imminent danger associated with the rupture of her fallopian tube. Removing the preborn child from her body may be the only way to save her Life. In these instances, the medical intervention will indirectly lead to the death of her child. The Association of Pro-Life Physicians delineates the ethical obligation of doctors to preserve the lives of mothers, crucially noting that this obligation is in no way opposed to their tandem obligation to respect human Life at all stages:
When the life of the mother is truly threatened by her pregnancy, if both lives cannot simultaneously be saved, then saving the mother’s life must be the primary aim. If through our careful treatment of the mother’s illness the pre-born patient inadvertently dies or is injured, this is tragic and, if unintentional, is not unethical and is consistent with the pro-life ethic. But the intentional killing of an unborn baby by abortion is never necessary.
There are zero circumstances in which our commitment to innocent Life should be momentarily muted to accommodate an exception. After all, the belief that human Life has intrinsic value is utterly defaced when one inserts the qualifier, “except in cases of [fill in the blank].” Either Life is always dignified, or Life is never dignified; there is no gray area.