"Abortion can be medically necessary in the case of the life or health of the mother." Have you heard this argument before? It seems rational and compassionate, but the truth is that abortion is never medically necessary, even in cases to save the mother’s life. Neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb walks us through the different scenarios where abortion might be considered, but would never be an actual necessity.Read Transcript More Resources Next Video
It is often said that abortion is sometimes medically necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. This is simply not true.
As a Neonatologist, I am regularly consulted to advise mothers with high-risk pregnancies, and I routinely care for their babies. I have also personally gone through two very difficult pregnancies each requiring hospitalization. So I have great empathy and respect for all women who are pregnant, especially those with difficult or high-risk pregnancies.
What women deserve to know, however, is that even in the most high-risk pregnancies, there is no medical reason why the life of the child must be directly and intentionally ended with an abortion procedure.
In situations where the mother’s life is truly in jeopardy, her pregnancy must end, and the baby must be delivered. These situations occur in cases of mothers who develop dangerously high blood pressure, have decompensating heart disease, life threatening diabetes, cancer, or a number of other very serious medical conditions. Some babies do need to be delivered before they are able to survive outside of the womb, which occurs around 22 to 24 weeks of life. Those situations are considered a preterm delivery, not an abortion.
These babies deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, and parents should be given the opportunity to honor their child's life. The fact that every year, thousands of abortion procedures are done on babies that are the same gestational age as many of the babies I routinely care for, is something that very deeply and profoundly disturbs me as a physician. These babies move, breathe, can hear, cry and feel pain. The second trimester Dilation and Evacuation procedure, or D and E, involves dismembering the baby by tearing off his or her arms and legs, and crushing their bodies and skulls even while they are still alive. The 3rd Trimester induction procedure involves a lethal injection with a large needle into the baby's heart or head.
There are also serious safety concerns related to late-term abortions. If a women’s life is imminently in danger, a preterm delivery is a much safer option. An emergency C-section can be completed in less than an hour, while an abortion after 24 weeks, when the most common life-threatening complications occur, takes 2-3 days to complete due to the necessary dilation process, in essence delaying treatment and significantly increasing the risk of death and serious disability to the mother.
In addition to early delivery as a means of protecting the mother, there are also times when it may be necessary to give a pregnant mother medical treatments which may tragically result in the loss of the baby. It is important to understand that these treatments are NOT abortions. For example, if a pregnant mother has cancer and chooses to undergo chemotherapy, that treatment may result in a miscarriage. However, the treatment given is very different than abortion, as the purpose of the chemotherapy is not to kill the child.
Some will also confuse the necessary treatment for an ectopic pregnancy with an abortion. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the preborn child implants in the mother’s fallopian tubes or somewhere outside of the uterus. When a preborn child implants outside the uterus, it is a hostile environment for the baby in which it cannot survive. Sadly, removing the baby from the fallopian tube or abdominal cavity is necessary, as an ectopic pregnancy will inevitably end in a miscarriage and may threaten the mother’s life. These situations are devastating, however, they are not considered abortions.
Abortion unnecessarily ends the lives of children and may also result in serious medical and psychological risks to women. A mother’s life is always of paramount importance, but abortion is never medically necessary to protect her life or health.