DO ABORTION BANS PUT WOMEN’S LIVES IN DANGER?

Surveying the Issue

  1. One of the more common objections to the Dobbs decision and prolifers generally is to claim that “abortion bans put women’s lives in danger.”
  2. This claim reflects a genuine fear for many people. So, it’s an effective “scare tactic” especially when combined with an escalating and empathic/passionate tone.
  3. Don’t assume the objection is entirely wrong however. It carries a kernel of truth, but not without a heavy dose of caricature and misinformation.
  4. This tactic can derail conversations fast, and make pro-lifers look like they have no heart, don’t care about women’s health, or just suffer from “fetus tunnel-vision.”

Partial truths

  1. Pregnancy complications are common, and high risk pregnancies do happen – putting the mother in danger of serious injury or death.
  2. Women might engage in risky behavior – like DIY abortions (ex., Coathangers) because they think that pro-life abortion bans won’t allow medical treatment for high-risk pregnancies.
  3. Doctors who aren’t familiar with their rights or with the laws may give patients bad advice or abstain from giving legal medical care because they think an abortions ban won’t allow it.
  4. Some medical conditions/treatments in high-risk pregnancies are coded as “abortions” (ex., incomplete abortion, spontaneous abortion/miscarriage, missed abortion).

Shared Understanding:

  1. Child-birth carries health risks too
  2. Women should be able to seek life-saving medical care.
  3. Women’s health and well-being is extremely important
  4. Doctors should be allowed to give life-saving medical care.

Rebuttal 1: All prolife abortion bans allow therapeutic abortions to save the mother’s life.

  1. Gestational Age Act (HB1510; Mississippi; 2018) – “ it is the intent of the Legislature, through this act and any regulations and policies promulgated hereunder, to restrict the practice of nontherapeutic or elective abortion to the period up to the fifteenth week of gestation. . . .
  2. “. . . Abortion limited to fifteen (15) weeks’ gestation except in medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. “
  3. “”Medical emergency” means a condition in which, on the basis of the physician’s good faith clinical judgment, an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition arising from the pregnancy itself, or when the continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Rebuttal 2: Because the term “abortion” is ambiguous, you need to define your terms

  1. Medical coding uses the term ‘abortion’ in a wider sense than in popular culture, ethics, and politics. It includes any untimely termination of pregnancy, not including childbirth.
  2. But the wider debate about abortion isn’t about miscarriage, or stillbirth, but about deliberate killing of fetal humans. This is also known as “elective abortion.”
  3. Elective abortion is morally and legally different from “therapeutic abortion” where there’s an explicit and serious health risk to the mother and doctor induce early delivery (pre-viability).

Rebuttal 3: Abortion is never necessary to save the woman’s life

  1. “DUBLIN DECLARATION ON MATERNAL HEALTHCARE: “As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child. We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.” (signed by 1012 OBGYN professionals)
  2. Prochoicers exploit ambiguous terms saying, “the normal treatment for many risky pregnancies is abortion. You’re endangering women’s lives by trying to ban abortion.”
  3. But they fail to recognize that therapeutic abortion was legal before, during, and after RvW, in every state in America. Therapeutic abortion doesn’t involve deliberately and directly killing the child-in-utero. Therapeutic abortion is not what people normally mean by ‘abortion.’
  4. There are a host of medical treatments available for women with ectopic pregnancies, placenta previa, preeclampsia, etc., and none require intentionally directly killing the child-in-utero.
  5. Typically, doctors can either (1) induce early delivery and then give neo-natal or palliative care as necessary – thus honoring the child’s life, or (2) if c-section.

Rebuttal 4: Abortion gets riskier the later-term it is

  1. It’s well known in the OBGyn industry that abortion, like any surgical procedures, carries risks. And the longer the pregnancy, the larger that fetal human grows, and the riskier abortion becomes.
  2. Inducing delivery is the safer option especially as you approach full-term pregnancies.

Rebuttal 5: there’s a real threat of malpractice among doctors who either (1) don’t know their rights, or worse, (2) they put pro-choice politics above the health of their patients.

  1. While some doctors may be acting in ignorance, others have a vested personal and financial interest within the abortion industry. So, they may help prop-up the myth that (elective) abortion is needed to save women’s lives.
  2. They can effectively protest an abortion-ban by abstaining from life-giving care.
  3. Their actions depend in part on the ignorance of the masses – who don’t know the difference between elective abortion vs. therapeutic abortion; or who think that high risk pregnancies require the deliberate and direct killing of the child-in-utero.
  4. While it’s impossible to verify when a doctor is doing this out of ignorance (or just feigning ignorance), this scenario can’t be ruled out.

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