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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Abortion is never necessary to save the mother's life

Posted by Dan Blackman on 1 August 2012
Mother & baby

Recently in the House of Lords this question was raised:

"How many abortions have been performed under the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended by Section 37 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) to the latest date available; and how many of those abortions were to save the life of the pregnant woman?"

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health Earl Howe replied:

"Between 1968 and 2011 (the latest year for which figures are available) there have been 6.4 million abortions performed on residents of England and Wales. Of these, 143 (0.006%) were performed under Section 1(4), ie where the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman. A further 23,778 (0.37%) abortions were performed under Section 1(1)(c), ie that the continuance of pregnancy would involve the risk to the life of the woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated."

Clearly 143 unborn children killed is 143 too many. But it is also striking that the total number of abortions carried out on this ground accounts for 0.006% of all abortions, yet it is the argument that is heard almost 100% of the time when people want to justify abortion.

People arguing for abortion will usually say we need abortion in cases where the woman might die; the evidence suggests that this argument is without real support. Maternal medicine has come a long way in managing the complications of pregnancy. In 1992, A group of Ireland’s top gynaecologists (John Bonner, Eamon O’Dwyer, David Jenkins, Kieran O’Driscoll, Julia Vaughan) published a letter in The Irish Times, stating:

"We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child."

When Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital (where 10% of all births in Ireland occurred) investigated the 21 deaths of pregnant women there between 1970-1979, they found that not a single one of those deaths could have been avoided by abortion Incidentally, Ireland, a country where the unborn child is constitutionally protected, has the lowest maternal death rate in the world.

As reported in May 1980's Moody Monthly, former Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. C. Everett Koop said: In my thirty-six years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be be aborted to save the mother's life."

Even Planned Parenthood's Dr. Alan Guttmacher acknowledged in The Case for Legalized Abortion Now (Berkeley, Calif: Diablo Press, 1967):

"Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life."

As SPUC's Anthony Ozimic recently told the press:

"Abortion never saves a mother’s life or prevents harm to her health. In 1992, Ireland’s foremost obstetricians stated: "As obstetricians and gynaecologists, we affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child." Abortion is not healthcare. It doesn’t treat any condition or cure any illness.

"The unborn child can never be considered an aggressor against his or her mother, and that abortion for any reason is an violation of the right to life. People’s consciences have become coarsened by abortion, resulting in indifference, compromise and acceptance of abortion.

"Many mothers are being misled into accepting their doctor’s opinion that abortion is medically indicated in their circumstances. Also, mothers are often pressured into abortion. SPUC is working hard to get the truth about abortion and health to mothers and doctors. We also need to reverse the misanthropy prevalent in modern society which all too often gives up on human beings in the midst of difficulties.

"The abortion industry is part of the banality of evil, which is modern society’s way of coarsening consciences and of bureaucratizing killing into insignificance."

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