Abortion does not treat pregnancy complications

Dr. Christina Francis and Catherine Glenn Foster write in Newsweek that physicians can save pregnant women’s lives without abortion. I think this is an important piece, because it helps to clarify what abortion is.

Abortion is a specific intervention whose direct and intentional purpose is to end the life of a preborn child. This is why abortion laws hinge in intent.

If a medical intervention is not done with the primary intention of ending a child’s life—even if the foreseen but unintentional result of that intervention is the demise of the child—then it is not an abortion:

We are now living in a post-Roe v. Wade America, and women are already being bombarded by heavy-handed pro-abortion messages suggesting that abortion bans will block access to authentic medical care and treatments. Women in states that enact legislation protecting life, fear-mongering pro-abortion voices shout, won’t be able to receive treatment for pregnancy complications that thousands face every year—from ectopic pregnancy to miscarriage. …

The main problem for the pro-abortion narrative is that abortion is, in fact, not necessary to treat pregnancy complications. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an induced abortion is a procedure intended to terminate a pregnancy so that it does not result in a live birth. In other words, the specific purpose of an induced abortion is to end the life of a preborn child. From a medical standpoint, this is never necessary. This fact is clear in the case of miscarriage management, which in no way involves ending a life, only the removal of an embryo or fetus who is already deceased.

Other difficult pregnancy conditions may require doctors to separate a mother from her preborn child to save her life—but this is not the same as an abortion. For example, even Planned Parenthood acknowledges that managing an ectopic pregnancy—in which the embryo implants outside of the uterus, often causing life-threatening hemorrhage—is not an abortion. Other pregnancy complications, such as chorioamnionitis—an infection of the fetal membranes potentially leading to sepsis—must be treated by separating the mother and preborn child via premature delivery. These treatments are done with the explicit intent of saving the woman’s life. They allow doctors to attempt to preserve the child’s life—or, if that’s not possible, to treat them with the dignity they deserve. Abortion offers preborn children no such respect.

There is a crucial disconnect between how abortionists define abortion, and how physicians and lawmakers define abortion, and this piece speaks in to that to connect some of the dots for folks who wrongly believe, for instance, that miscarriage management involves abortion.