Abortion,  Bioethics,  Culture of Death,  politics,  sin,  social media,  Suffering

Abortion {still} isn’t healthcare

It’s not. And in an ironic convergence of worldviews, I can see why SCOTUS would overturn a Texas law requiring certain minimum medical standards be met by abortion clinics.

Because abortion isn’t healthcare.

Which is why, I suppose, the Supreme Court refuses to hold abortion clinics to the same standards as other ambulatory surgery centers or, as it turns out, Botox clinics.

Makes sense, if what goes on behind closed (filthy, substandard, unhygienic) clinic doors isn’t under the purvey of actual healthcare, anyway.

Because abortion isn’t healthcare.

And since abortion isn’t healthcare, and women’s lives are less valuable than, say, the political capital to be gained in such a move by SCOTUS, overriding common sense and biological reality in the name of so-called reproductive freedom, then the ruling makes perfect sense.

Because abortion isn’t healthcare.

And it is more essential that we remove any barriers – even those pertaining to minimum standards for a surgical facility –  so that women may avail themselves of the opportunity to have their fetuses forcibly evacuated from their wombs, than that we pause in any manner of regard for the woman’s health.

Let’s put aside the immorality of abortion for a moment. Abortion, which isn’t healthcare.

And let’s speak of the procedure in a vacuum, as it were, leaving aside the obvious, ludicrously-demonstrable humanity of the baby, and focus solely on the invasive surgical procedure of a second trimester abortion.

And let us examine why it is that today, a friend I know will check into a major hospital for a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure to evacuate her womb of the remains of her precious unborn baby, now deceased several weeks, in order that her body will  heal properly following a tragic miscarriage.

She will be attended by a trained, competent surgeon who passed her medical boards and is in good standing at an actual hospital. Her cervix will be dilated by unexpired medicine. A camera will guide her surgeon’s hands as the contents of her uterus are removed, carefully and methodically. Her vitals will be monitored by licensed nurses assistants, and an RN or perhaps a LPN will see to her post op aftercare. She will be accompanied every step of the way by licensed, trained medical professionals who, to the best of their ability, will keep her comfortable, will honor the dignity of her body and the body of her deceased child, and who will maintain the highest standard of medical care.

Because in her case, the surgery to remove her dead baby’s body from her uterus is healthcare.

But abortion isn’t healthcare.

Does SCOTUS recognize this on some unconscious level? That a D&C abortion procedure, unlike the medically-necessary D&C I describe above, is something harmful. Abhorrent. Relegated to a realm of hidden horror which sees neither the obvious humanity of the unborn child victim nor that of the mother herself. 

How else could such a ruling be justified?

How else could a 21st century judicial body – the highest in the land – rationalize the decision to strike down legislation requiring that an abortionist be an attending doctor at an actual hospital, should the procedure incur complications and the need to transport the patient arise. How else could the justification be made that an abortion clinic needn’t meet the same hygienic standards as an outpatient vein clinic, or perhaps a freestanding plastic surgery practice?

Because abortion isn’t healthcare.

And, in a twisted obeisance to reality, the Supreme Court of the United States of America acknowledged that today, by failing to require minimum standards of medical competence – laughably low as they were – that would have at least ensured a higher level of physical protection for women who engage in a practice which is both emotionally and physically catastrophic.

Because abortion isn’t healthcare.

scotus

75 Comments

  • Emily

    Thank you for writing eloquently as always. I tried to write something about abortion to some political candidates the other day, and I was surprised how hard it actually was. But the main thing I wanted to try to say, you have touched on here: That the only difference between a couple grieving the loss of their baby from miscarriage, at ANY stage of development, and a woman being relieved to have an early miscarriage or even seeking abortion — the ONLY difference is whether the baby was wanted or not. But our wanting or not wanting the baby does not change anything about the baby! The life of a new person, separate from the mother and father, begins at fertilization.

  • Salha

    Abortion is health care. You don’t have to like it.

    Have you heard of the woman who, although actively miscarrying, was denied an abortion? Because the doctors waited until the fetal heartbeat to stop she developed blood poisoning and died. That is unacceptable. That’s what happens in countries where abortion is illegal: women die.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/world/europe/jury-cites-poor-medical-care-in-death-of-indian-woman-in-ireland.html?_r=0

    Please read the entire article, and explain to me why a woman was forced to continue a non-viable pregnancy that ultimately ended HER life.

    • Carol

      If, as you say, abortion IS health care, you must be really really happy with the SCOTUS decision that women who have abortions can’t expect basic medical safety procedures and regulations. Oops! That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

      • Salha

        Hi Carol,

        I think what doesn’t make sense is requiring women who are in the first trimester, and taking medication to end the pregnancy, to do so in a building with hallways a specific width. That’s what the TX laws were all about. First trimester abortions (the majority of abortions) are very, very low risk to the woman.

        ACOG, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has really wonderful science-based resources on this. http://www.acog.org/Womens-Health/Abortion

        • Jordan

          Hi Salha,

          In your comment you point out that first trimester abortions are “very, very low risk to the woman.” From a logical standpoint, I don’t see why you would be concerned with the risk to the woman but not to the child. Abortive procedures carry a near-100% risk of death to the child. I fail to see any principled reason why it should acceptable to kill one but not the other.

          I can tell from your comments that your position on this issue is well thought out and not entirely emotionally based, so I look forward to reading your response.

          • salha

            Hi Jordan,

            Well, from a logical standpoint the fetus is not yet a child. The fetus depends on the woman’s body to live, so it is up to the woman. The implication of your position is that giving birth is always the responsible choice. And first of all, that might not be true. And second of all, it suggests that a woman’s purpose is to have babies regardless of whether she wants, or is able to do so.

            I am a woman, and I never want to have an abortion. But I understand that for others, it may be the right choice. I understand exactly what happens during the abortion. And I support access to safe and legal abortion.

          • Jordan

            Hello again Salha,

            Thanks for your response. It’s obvious from your responses that you are a person of good will, and I certainly respect that. We could use more people like you in the pro-life camp. 😉

            The first point I would like to respond to is your position that the “fetus depends on the woman’s body to live, so it is up to the woman.” This position seems to logically lead to any caretaker being able to take the life of the person s/he is caring for. For example, a newly-born child is still entirely dependent on others (usually the mother) to survive, yet it is still illegal for a caretaker to kill an infant. Should a mother or father that regrets having the child immediately after the birth be able to take the life of the infant? If not, why should they be able to take the same life just a few months earlier? What about someone who has a medical condition such as cerebral palsy that makes them entirely dependent on others?

            The second point you made in response to my comment was that “the fetus is not yet a child.” I assume you mean that the fetus is not yet human, but please correct me if I have misunderstood your position. However, my understanding of biology does not allow me to accept that position. All of us were at one point in the stage of development we have called a “fetus,” and we were and still are human. What criteria would you use to distinguish a “human” from a “fetus”?

    • Andrew

      Health care would have been trying to save this woman’s life. The article you posted has a broken link in it to another article related to the topic. I don’t have time to do you research for you, and in the one you posted, it is not clear what came first–the blood poisoning or the miscarriage. It is therefore impossible to say whether or not an abortion would have saved this woman’s life.

      That’s the thing. A woman and a child in the womb are EQUAL in dignity and importance. That said, to properly care for a woman, sometimes the baby might die. A prime example is an ectopic pregnancy. A procedure that addresses a medical concern for the mother yet indirectly takes the life of the mother is not an abortion. That would be medical care. Plus, even according to the Guttmacher Institute (the Planned Parenthood research arm), an extraordinarily small number of women, roughly 2% get an abortion for medical reason. 54% percent get an abortion because their birth control failed.

      Furthermore, and I say this as a father to three miscarried babies (15 weeks, 16 weeks, 5 weeks) a doctor may say that a pregnancy is not viable, but you never know what kind of life, however short, that person will live. And you don’t know, however short that person’s life is, how that person will have an impact on someone else.

      • Salha

        Hi Andrew,

        Thank you for taking the time to read the article that I posted. Abortion is very emotional for a lot of people and I respect that people don’t believe in it based on their personal beliefs.

        The woman, Savita Halappanavar, was 17 weeks pregnant and went to the hospital with her husband because she was afraid she was miscarrying. The doctors confirmed that she was losing the baby. However, there was still a heartbeat. So the doctors could not perform a D&C. In the interim, an infection developed, causing her death.

        If she had had an abortion immediately, she would have lived. Here is a BBC article that outlines that: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741

        This is an example of a medically needed abortion that did not happen because of the law. Restrictive abortion laws hurt women.

        You are correct, most abortions are not this dramatic. But protecting abortion access for all women is very important.

    • Bwangi Kilonzo

      That sounds to be like bad health care, during a miscarriage crisis, but then again, its not like the new York times is an unbiased source for abortion related reporting. They have an Angenda

      • Salha

        Hi Bwangi, Jenny’s posted NYT articles before, so I don’t think that they are biased to the point of misinformation.

        Here is a BBC article. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741

        Yes, this was a case where withholding an abortion was bad healthcare. Because of the strict laws the doctors were not well informed about when they should act. These strict laws hurt women.

      • Lauren

        I don’t mean to be an internet troll, or cause a fight…but how, please tell me HOW you think the “fetus'” life, who you yourself confirmed had a living, beating, heartbeat, did not also deserve the dignity and fighting chance of living? Why isn’t this little heartbeat’s life worthy also?

        It seems so very unfair.

        • Salha

          Hi Lauren,

          You can look at it as unfair. I don’t disagree that it reads as unfair. But I also think it is unfair to force a woman to carry a pregnancy that she doesn’t want to, or to continue a pregnancy that puts her life at risk. I trust that any woman who chooses abortion is making the best decision for her circumstances.

    • Jean

      The woman’s husband stated his wife asked for the early pregnancy to be terminated through induction. Not that she requested they do everything in their power to save both herself and her child. Had the attending physician complied he would have been guilty in aborting a live fetus.

      • salha

        Hi Jean,

        She was actively losing the pregnancy. The baby was not going to make it. There was never a choice between save the baby or save the mother.

        • Jean

          Sometimes labour can be medically arrested, and even with ruptured membranes amniotic fluid may be replaced. According to the report the mother was not properly monitored or cared for so no, there was little to no hope for either of them.

          • Salha

            Hi Jean,
            You’re not actually an ob-gyn. There was nothing that they could do to save this particular baby. And in the climate of fear and ignorance the doctors did not perform an abortion that would have simply sped up the miscarriage in a timely manner and infection set in.
            My position is that when abortion is illegal, or incredibly restrictive, it hurts women, men, families. Leave the law as it stands and trust women and doctors to navigate that road.

    • John S.

      You are conflating two different things, due to the dual fallacies of equivocation and materialism. Understandable, and easily remedied:

      When Ms. Uebbing uses the word “abortion” in her article, she is referring to the murder of an innocent human being. When you use the word “abortion” you are referring only to the generic term for a medical procedure (in this case, one properly called a dilation and curettage)/

      A medical procedure can be moral, immoral, or amoral, as a procedure, all by itself, is meaningless. To understand this fallacy, consider the exact same person (a surgeon) cutting into your body in order to achieve an end designed to save your life, versus that same surgeon doing the exact same thing in order to kill you.

      Just as firing a gun can be moral (to stop a man from murdering his wife), amoral (target practice) or immoral (to kill the husband of the woman you are committing adultery with), the medical procedure is just a tool. It is the end to which that tool is being applied that determines whether or not the act is healthcare, or murder.

      So, yes, there are times when a medical abortion is healthcare, and times when an abortion is simply murder. See also: “double effect.”

      • salha

        Hi John,

        Thanks for the vocab boost 🙂

        The problem is that for abortion (medical service) to be available, then abortion (for all reasons) needs to be protected. In situations where only “medically necessary” abortions are protected, doctors may be slow to act, and the health of the woman suffers.

        Additionally, I support the right of a woman to choose abortion even in situation that you consider “muder.”

      • Jean

        Good morning, Salha,
        You’re correct, I’m not an ob-gyn but I don’t believe you are, either. You continue to vigorously assert that Savita died as a result of a lack of medical abortion which is not what the expert’s investigation found. The report indicated many points of missed opportunity for intervention. I think it’s wrong to make Savita the poster woman for abortion on demand.

        • Salha

          what would have been so wrong with speeding up the natural miscarriage? That would have eliminated all those downstream interventions. Answer that.

          • Emily

            Hello again, dear Salha: My answer to that is, similar to what someone posted here earlier about his own wife’s miscarriages, doctors may say the pregnancy is not viable but only God knows if or how long the baby will live and what his plans are for the mother and the baby. This is beautifully demonstrated by the miracle that lead to Gianna being recognized as a saint. Saint Gianna was cannonized after Elizabeth Comparini Arcolino gave birth to a healthy baby in 2000, despite the fact that within the first month of that pregnancy, she had a serious hemorrhage. You can imagine that with all the blood loss she must have appeared to be having a miscarriage. But, as with the Irish case, the baby still had a heartbeat. Not only that, as the pregnancy continued, at 16 weeks of gestation Elizabeth was found to have no amniotic fluid. Abortion was recommened. Through prayers for Saint Gianna to intercede with God on behalf of Elizabeth’s case, both mother and baby lived. Saint Gianna is credited with many other miracles, as well, but Elizabeth’s case was the reason she was canonized.

          • Emily

            I also want to say, Salha, that I am praying for you to change your mind about abortion. I am praying for the women who have abortions scheduled for today. If you disagree with me, you pray too. I say that with all sincerity. As you said yourself in an earlier comment that “I never want to have an abortion,” what would be YOUR prayer for women who have abortions scheduled today? You have expressed real concern for working families and for struggling parents. What would be YOUR prayer for teenage girls and boys who are thinking, today, about becoming sexually active? Answer that.

          • Jordan

            Hi Salha,

            If I may throw my hat into the ring: Imagine a murderer on trial. As his defense, he says, “Your honor, everyone is going to die. I was just speeding up the victim’s natural progression towards death.” Even though death is certain for everyone, obviously it is still wrong to take the life of another. The problem is that we almost never know when someone will die, and even when we can be reasonably certain, it still isn’t our place decide when to end a life.

            Also, I hope you didn’t forget about my comment above. 😉 I was hoping to get your thoughts on that one too.

          • Salha

            Hi Emily and Jordan!

            I didn’t see a reply button by your comments, so please forgive (among my many other sins, haha (too soon?)) this ham-fisted response.

            1. Emily: Ok, but she was literally having a miscarriage, so God, and the Doctors seemed to be on the same page.

            And I do not think that it was remotely acceptable that she died. It is not acceptable to hold up St. Gianna and a *miracle* as functional guidelines for practicing medicine. It those of the faith want to exercise the miracle option, go for it. But for to force others to follow in a saint’s footsteps seems….unrealistic at best, and functionally cruel.

            What astounds me is that no one on here was said that it was a bad thing that Savita died. The 17 week, non-viable fetus is what everyone fights for. Who is fighting for Savita? There’s a recklessness among some of you here. That combined with the idea that it is desireable for a woman to die in pursuit of motherhood.

            Jordan,

            For goodness sake, of course a newborn is helpless. The difference is that it doesn’t need my blood to give it oxygen, it doesn’t need my blood to feed it. A different person can step in and hold it. You can abandon a new born at a fire station, no problem. Use your brain.

            And I AM a person of good-will, and the pro-life movement should probably stop murdering ob-gyns who perform legal medical procedures and take up gardening.

          • Jordan

            Hi Salha,

            It’s interesting that you note that a parent can abandon a child at a fire station. The laws that allow a parent to do that without fear of prosecution were instituted precisely so that no caretaker felt pressure to kill a child. It also doesn’t really make sense why it would be acceptable to kill a child in the womb while it is dependent exclusively on its mother, but not acceptable once it is outside the womb and dependent on others. I don’t see why the number or identity of a caretaker(s) would make any difference in the morality of taking the life of a dependent.

            Finally, your suggestion that pro-lifers stop killing abortionist is akin to saying that Muslims should stop committing acts of terrorism. Both are gross overstatements and offensive.

          • Emily

            Thank you for thinking about it and taking time to respond again, Salha (I also am not sure if this is the right reply button LOL). Yes it is very very sad that Savita died!! I didn’t read your article – sorry – but someone mentioned that the final report said she was not monitored, etc…so that IS tragic.

            Is it desirable for a woman to die in pursuit of motherhood? Of course no one would WANT that. But I do actually think it is desirable for a woman to refuse abortion even if doctors are saying she is going to die otherwise. In other words, it is desirable for a person to give their life for another person. Think about this parallel. Firefighters are (deservedly!!) praised for risking their lives, dying to save others. These heros say they’re just doing their job. Should they NOT rush into a nursing home and try to save someone who’s really really old and infirm? They would not be doing their job then, right?

            I know you are probably going to say the firefighters CHOSE their job, and that you can’t force someone to chose a saintly action. But for those of us who believe that a fetus is a living person, it’s not so much a matter of forcing saintliness, it’s more a matter of trying to prevent a murder. (I, for one, do not think it is okay to murder abortion doctors. I’m sure there are people in the pro-choice camp who do things you would not agree with, too.)

            Being dependent on the mother’s blood for oxygen doesn’t mean the fetus is not a person! NICU saves babies earlier and earlier. Babies who never could have survived a few decades ago, do now. It becomes tricky to draw the line when the line keeps getting pushed back, doesn’t it?

            Thanks for reading 🙂

    • Martha

      Salha,
      I’ve read your responses below to other commenters. I’m familiar with the Irish story and with seemingly similar accusations against Catholic hospitals in the US by the ACLU (which the ACLU has lost, based on the “dubious” and “speculative” nature of the claims), saying how dangerous the delays in performing D&C are when a Catholic hospital waits until the baby has actually died in the womb. Perhaps you should read the clarifications from the USCCB and attendant news articles (not written by pro-abortion feminist blogs) about these cases. There is a lot they can do to help women in these cases, including offer simple antibiotics to prevent or treat infections that might occur in some scenarios where a miscarriage is occurring but, for example, water has been broken and the likelihood of infection increases, or actual infection occurs.

      In addition, I recommend you read about St. Gianna Molla, who was a physician and mother of four in Italy and lost her life giving birth to her fourth child. I presume you’re aware this is a Catholic blog, so I would hope you’d be interested in widening your perspective in why Catholics are pro-life.

      Myself a lifelong Catholic woman who was, for a time, deluded into supporting the pro-abortion POV, it doesn’t surprise me that so many women are pulled into this by stories like that of the Indian woman in the Irish hospital–which by the way, are told with an agenda. (And if you don’t think media has an agenda…well then we need to back this conversation way up…)

      Women are told time and again through our secular media and secular educational system that women have always been treated as subservient beings, and are “more than” their ability to grow and deliver new life into this world. Because money, career, status, and also anything that allows us to be the “same” as men (because sameness and equality are falsely conflated, when men and women are complementary and have unique special things to offer). Now, as a mother, nothing saddens me more than the breathtaking ignorance of bright young women (and old women) trashing the great gift that God has given us as women, one of our paramount and unique abilities, in order to try to create more sameness with men, in the supposed name of equality. Why should we be “stuck” with this “burden”? It is not a burden but a gift! And why should we women not be allowed to do what we want sexually without bearing such a “consequence”? As my Catholic husband will tell you, there is no good that has come to men through the relaxation of their roles as fathers and husbands and the proliferation of pornography and loosening of sexual mores/approval of sexual deviancy. One of the great losses of our society is man and his role; and we women are now chasing these men quickly down this dark hole of meaningless individual indulgence and selfishness.

      Who will be left to stand for a deeper and higher truth? And who if not women will be left to help turn those men who are lost around, and protect our children, including the unborn? Are we to be crusaders like Joan of Arc, or selfish and weak? It’s funny how being sacrificial is what the feminists–a wing of the Marxisf, socialist line of thinking that turns abortion into a good–consider weak, when really it is the selfish and individualistic positions of the Marxist line of thinking that have destroyed societies across the world and will continue to do so unless women offer their many uniquely feminine God given gifts and stand up to stop the destruction of family, the fruits of which include birth control, abortions and no fault divorce.

      • Salha

        Martha,

        I wasn’t aware the BBC was a pro-abortion blog. Please, there is bias in the media, but there still remain neutral sources that at least relay the simple facts of a case.

        Regarding the rest…..well I’d like to get equal pay for equal work and I’d like there to be parental leave so that men and women can take care of their families. You know right now women can take 12 weeks on UNPAID maternity leave. Is that enough? Is that fair to working families?

        What if we did, as you suggest, respect women. And in that respect offered paid maternity leave? Paid paternity leave? Really supported families through the sleep deprivation of parenting a newborn?

        Why doesn’t Jenny write about that?

        • Emily

          Dear Salha, You must be talking about US maternity leave law, since this is a US blog? It is different all around the world of course. I live in Mexico and there is no maternity leave. Having an abortion does not equalize that, or anything else that women want to be equal. But why the distracting tangent??

          Choice is important and God gave us free will. But that’s not the end of the story; it’s the very beginning!!! With choice is a HUGE responsibility to make the RIGHT choices. Killing an unborn child is never the right choice. I do NOT trust other women to make that choice! I would not trust a neighbor to seriously harm her child — I could CHOOSE to close the window and ignore it, but that would be the wrong choice. The right choice would be to knock on the door, call the police, whatever is require to protect the child. We must protect those who are too small, too old, too weak to protect themselves. Those kinds of choices are the right choices.

          I was pro-choice before becoming a mother. I am praying for you, Salha. Through Jesus anything is possible. Soften your heart. Choice is not the end, it’s the beginning. Choose love.

        • Martha

          Salha,
          First, I’m sorry you haven’t recognized the absolute pro-abortion bias in much of the media. That being said, when you google any of these cases, such as the woman in Ireland or the recent ACLU lawsuit in Michigan, most of what comes up is written in a way that shows pretty clear favoritism of one side of the argument. But that’s not really the point of this discussion, is it?

          I also find it interesting how you didn’t really address my arguments but got off on a discussion about paid leave. I actually know quite a lot about it, both as a labor and employment attorney and as a mom who is currently on her second maternity leave here in the U.S. And, as a pretty frequent reader of this blog, I’m fairly certain Jenny has discussed these issues. I’m actually sort of chuckling both because I know Jenny cares about these things, and because you sound ready to lecture me on these issues when I likely have studied them in far greater detail–including at one of America’s most liberal law schools–than you have. And yet, I’m failing to grasp what that has to do with abortion being “allowed” to be blogged about; are you suggesting Jenny, Catholics, or the Church leadership do not support women being treated and paid equally? I think you’ll be hard pressed to find support for that argument. The support you do find likely will be from a totally secular point of view, which fails to grasp the sanctity of marriage, life, the priesthood, and complementarity of gender roles as oriented by God in each of us.

          As usual, when the chips are down, the pro choice position is to shift the argument away from the point. Because you cannot argue truly that equality means sameness; nor can you argue that you’re giving equal opportunity to all of the baby girls who are aborted each year. Modern, secular feminism is a sham, a wing of the Marxist, socialist, me-first agenda that absolutely has its claws in the media and is a result of the King of this Earth and our earthly attachments (achievement, status, career, wealth, equality as sameness) being the devil. When man relies only on himself and his own laws and made up rules, there is nothing keeping relativism from taking over and destroying us all.

          Since you’re an interested reader of this post, perhaps check out Jenny’s previous blog post (just before this one) that provides excellent background on relativism and the unmooring of our society from God’s law and natural law.

          • Salha

            I’m going to worry about the girls and women who HAVE been born.

            Gender roles are made by society not God. It used to be masculine to mow the lawn, or drive a truck, or wear pants, or major in chemistry.

            And baking and changing diapers used to be just for women. And men were “less” if they felt like whipping up a baked ziti or a pie or helping care for their children.

            Would you really argue that we are better off when we stick to cartoonish 1950’s gender roles?

          • Emily

            Access to abortion doesn’t equalize anything at all. If women want to show they are equal with men by not raising children, they can certainly choose to not raise children. If they want to wait until they have acceptable pay or acceptable maternity leave, fine. They can accomplish this by choosing not to have sex, or they can give their baby up for adoption. Killing the fetus is not a morally acceptable option. You don’t have to want traditional gender roles or have a traditional lifestyle or a certain religion to be against killing people. So it just comes down, again, to realizing that the fetus is a human being.

  • Jean

    The vast majority of abortions are performed as a result of failed or lack of contraception. The case of the Indian woman in Ireland is a many layered story quite apart from the subject of this blog post. I have heard repeatedly the argument in favour of abortion in order to save a woman psychological anguish, claims that her life would be endangered by a back street abortionist but never remorse or any recognition of the 100% truth that abortions kill babies. Until the pro-choice camp comes to the realization that all humanity has a right to life, including that of a helpless human fetus, until the right-to-die camp bring themselves to admit they are promoting murder the discussion will go round in meaningless circles.

    My mother was offered a therapeutic abortion at the age of 41 due to “bad nerves”. True, she had her share of problems but my Catholic father would not sign the consent form. She was therefore forced to carry and birth me and told me many times over the course of my childhood that she hadn’t wanted me and that I was a great imposition upon her personal rights and freedoms. Though I felt guilty as a little kid, as a grownup I put aside her attitudes and have lived with gratitude for my father’s interference, THANKFUL EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR MY LIFE. Abortion is not health care, it’s murder no matter how you sugar coat it. While those who say a woman has a right to do with her body and her unborn baby as she pleases never have I met anyone with the courage to say to me, face to face, that I don’t have a right to be alive, because truth be told I have as much right to be alive as anyone.

    • Salha

      I think that Savita Halappanavar had a right to live. And she didn’t get to live because a set of archaic, unhelpful laws put the life of her dying fetus above hers.

      Her story IS connected to this blog post because she was a woman who died because of the abortion restrictions in Ireland. She couldn’t access healthcare (abortion) because of those sets of laws.

      Every abortion story is different. Specific to a woman’s set of circumstances.

      • Jean

        Yes, Salha, every abortion story is different yet the same in that if it is an intended abortion the baby is killed by the mother’s choice. Yes, the mother had a right to life, just as her baby. Sadly, not all septicemia cases respond to treatment and this was one where it was politically expedient to use the outcome to justify abortion under any circumstances. Laws that support right to life are neither archaic nor unhelpful, whether discussing a fetus or disabled or elderly human being.

  • Lisa

    SO good, Jenny.
    During the last couple of state elections commercials have aired here claiming conservative candidates were for “invasive procedures for women” (this in regards to vaginal US before abortion), and other ignorant dialogue that made me want to pull my hair out because if an abortion isn’t horribly invasive than what is? It’s crazy how much people seem to look the other way when it comes to voting about abortion. Also, that argument about prolifers forcing back-alley abortions upon women (if it became illegal) comes to mind here…if there aren’t any medical restrictions or standards, then what’s stopping it from becoming back-alley?

      • Jean

        Salha, do you “trust” the people who have the power to turn off YOUR life support in order to harvest your organs because your life, in their view, isn’t worth saving because of your socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof)? I had to make this decision and fought to save my father, who’d saved me as a fetus, when the ER doc stated transfusions were being wasted on someone who would likely not survive surgery and in whose opinion his quality of life was worthless. But he did survive and lived many more happy years. Have you ever given a moment’s thought to those many lives snuffed out in utero who might have joined our society and become productive, valued, loved members even though their mothers thought them a waste of time and effort?

        • salha

          Hi Jean,

          It is wonderful that you were able to be such a strong advocate for your father, and it is wonderful that he lived several more years. But that isn’t connected to Texas placing undue burdens on women seeking lawful abortions.

          No, I don’t think about the aborted. I think about the women who were able to make the choice they judged best.

          • Jean

            Salha, it is connected to the respect for life. You clearly value free choice above the life of the unborn. Do you similarly so undervalue all life in general? I would do everything in my power to preserve your life if the occasion arose. As for Savita, the final review of her case stated she did not die from a lack of availability of abortion but from medical misadventure, noting 13 key points where she was not monitored, where the onset of sepsis was not observed and treated as a result.

    • Martha

      I’ll take it a step further and say that with the pushing of abortion into something to be cheered and encouraged–abortion at all costs attitude, truly–these clinics and abortionists are the equivalent of back alley. I was just saying to my husband tonight that I don’t see how it’s any different. The only logical conclusion is that there is no way to make abortions safer (they’re inherently pretty dangerous for women, and we know they’re murder of the children, so…). So then we realize the push for the clinics isn’t about safety but about hiding the shame of what we know is an inherently sinful and shameful act, hoping somehow that’ll ease the pain. It’s incredibly sad all around.

      • Salha

        Hi Martha,

        I respect that you are against abortion. But abortion, statistically, is lower risk than carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22270271

        Meaning that women who do choose to give birth should be celebrated! And supported by our society! And have the option to take PAID maternity leave!

        • Martha

          I agree! Who was against paid leave? Is that your solution to the abortion crisis? Do you really think that’s why women are having abortions? I’m certain it’s not. Most of Europe offers tons of paid leave and yet they, like the entire West, is facing a demographic winter crisis. The only boost to the US has been through immigration; and even our immigrant population is now having fewer and fewer children.

          It’s funny, really anything has a risk in life, doesn’t it? If you’re going to leave the value of a child’s life in how risky it is to deliver the child versus abort it, then I think that shows the overall sad state we are in. And interesting, too, that being pro abortion you want to celebrate those who’ve taken these risks but find your own excuses not to take the risk of putting your own child’s life before your own. I can tell you, that is what parenting is all about–in both a literal and figurative sense. But then, we’re in a fallen world, in a selfish society, aren’t we, where everything is calculated; every life is a simple statistic, to be done away with when it is inconvenient for us. I am certain that the statistics you shared also vary wildly based on many individual factors; just as the alleged risk of having children to a mom over 35 does. A lot of it, frankly, is used to scare people, as it apparently has for you, when it is highly dependent on many factors. And yes, some are out of our control! But then that requires faith, even when the unthinkable happens and suffering occurs. The seculars think nothing valuable comes from suffering, that it’s just something to be sad and angry about or try to fix only in a human way–never that God is bestowing a greater lesson on us, one which perhaps we will never fully understand in this life.

          I hope you’re never among a similarly situated statistic yourself, Salha. All life is valuable, at whatever stage and regardless of its “utility.”

          • Salha

            Hi Martha,

            I brought up the risk of birth versus the risk of a 1st trimester abortion because you, like many other “pro-life” people, used bad facts. Bad as in not true. Stop lying. Be pro-life, just don’t mis-quote the facts of the situation!

            Well I brought up the concept of paid leave because very few pro-life people vote for politicians who would campaign for policies that actually respect the family. And, most abortions have a strong economic component. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the sacrifices and struggles of raising a family.

            So if we as a country really want to stand behind our women, then let’s pay them the same as men, let’s give men and women paid parental leave, and let’s make sure that pregnancies are wanted by educating our young people about how their bodies work.

  • Ashley brady

    I recently had a miscarriage (12 weeks baby with no heartbeat) and it was such a surreal experience. My dr wanted me to take pills (aka a medical abortion) instead of a D&C. My dr is not prolife but discouraged a D&C as “it is really invasive and can damage your cervix and if you want more children I don’t recommend D&C” I just kept thinking how is this different that an abortion, my dr is worried about invasive procedure for me because I wanted my baby vs not wanting this child. Many prayers for women who choose abortion.

  • Emily

    Pro-choice people may think “if the mother’s life is in danger” is a conversation stopper. Saint Gianna, mother and physician, made it a conversation starter. By that I mean that the examples she gave us in her life and death (allowing her baby to live) gives us a lot to think about.

      • Jean

        Catholics believe it is wrong to commit murder. Murderers believe it’s their choice to kill. The laws of the land expect the latter group to follow the higher path.

      • Emily

        Let’s say even if it was wrong to legally make others follow in the footsteps of Saint Gianna, there is something admirable about what she did, isn’t there? Maybe pray/meditate about why there is that sense that what she did is admirable.

        • Salha

          “even if it was wrong to legally make others follow in the footsteps of Saint Gianna”

          It IS wrong to force a woman to carry a pregnancy that would kill her.

          Her choice was selfless AND freely made. You cannot make people choose that.

          • Emily

            You call her choice “selfless”… I think we can agree that’s a good trait. But why is it good and why is it exhibited in her choice?

      • Justin

        What the pro-abortion folks often do is avoid the actual questions asked and deflect to a different idea, one that turns killing an innocent human into an action of false compassion. What Salha won’t do is address any of the concerns raised by the pro-life commentators. Salha, is it wrong to write laws against killing an innocent human being? Laws exist to protect all people. That’s why murder is illegal. The only reason someone could say abortion is ok and murder is not is if they believe the unborn is not a human being. Science proves clearly that an unborn baby is a human being. Would you claim that an unborn baby is not a person? The only times human beings have not been called persons is in cases of genocide. Think of slavery in America or the Jews in Nazi Germany. Personhood is denied only to those you wish to destroy. Watch how Salha will not address the questions I have asked.

        • salha

          Hi Justin,

          I’ll come right out the gate and say that I understand what abortion is: terminating a pregnancy, ending the life. I think that a fetus is a potential person, and that is what makes abortion such an emotionally fraught choice. And I still support it. A fetus is not an autonomous person, it is dependent on the woman’s body. Because of this I don’t believe the potential life of a fetus trumps the woman’s right to control her body. An unborn baby should not trump the woman’s autonomy.

          Justin, I’m not clear on the parallels that your trying to draw between abortion and issues such as slavery or genocide because slavery and the Holocaust were atrocities forced upon people who were born.

          • John S.

            You state that a baby in the womb is a “potential person.”

            The right to life, however, is not a right of persons, but a human right.

            A baby in the womb is a human being, thus has the right to life. The right to life trumps all other rights, including your rather radical view of “autonomy.” The right of self determination (autonomy) does not extend to murder.

            Moreover, you make an error in defining a baby as a “potential person.” A baby is a person, always, from conception to death. The error seems to lie in your misunderstanding of the word “person”, and its relationship to what it means to be a human being. “Person”, properly understood, is an inherent and inseparable part of being a human being: a human being is always a person. A person, however, is not always a human being.

            Consider the case of a corporation. A corporation is legally a person, but is clearly not a human being. Also, God is a person, but clearly not a human being. Thus, corporations do not have the right to life, as the right to life inheres in the human being, not the personhood of the corporation.

            The risk in separating “person” from “human being” is that it, as Justin rightly points out, provides a means for arbitrarily separating human beings into two groups: those you can kill with impunity, and those you cannot. The true horror here is in consideration of the possibility of repeating past historical errors; of defining groups of human beings as non-persons, then replicating the error you have already made: of redefining rights as being attached to persons, not to human beings.

            Consider, if you will, the possibility of defining “person” as one who possesses a properly defined and refined moral sense, and that it would be legal to arbitrarily kill persons (such as you), who lack this attribute. I am sure you can agree that this would be a moral outrage of the highest order, yet that is the risk that comes with the combined errors that you express.

            I would argue that you possess the right to life, even if it violates someone else’s autonomy, and even if you lack some arbitrary attribute or state as defined by some other person, and that your right to life is equal to all other human beings.

          • Martha

            Salha,
            Not sure if you’ve had children ever, but any woman who has will tell you that a baby is dependent on its mother well past delivery. It cannot simply survive on its own. Suggesting that this is only about the mother and the “my body my choice” argument is flawed. For example, what if I just got tired of nursing but had no formula available? Is it then my body, my choice? When exactly does the baby stop being dependent? And then why is it not okay for women to smoke, drink, do drugs, and so on while pregnant?

            Finally, I’ll ask the question that none of the pro-choice women want to answer: in cases where it’s applicable (I understand the Indian woman was married and intended her pregnancy), why is screwing around and doing what I want ok, but then when I get pregnant which is scientifically the natural law result of my action, do I suddenly get to behave selfishly? Because men can, so I should be able to, also? So if my neighbor wants to drink and drive, I should be able to also, because equality?

            I’m sorry you think life only really starts or matters once you’re born. Justin’s parallels and those of other commenters make total sense. What they’re saying is that at any moment, a society not moored in God’s law and natural law, can make up its own rules about what lives are worthy–as we see in some real life examples from the past and now the present with abortion, euthanasia, etc. Trust me, when we continue to be top heavy across the globe with old folks since everyone’s too busy with Marxist self glorification to have children (because that would be weak and not allow me to do what I want to do!), you wait and see how quickly we decide which of these old people–whose care is costing fortunes–we decide societally we can just euthanize. I hope it’s not you or one of your loved ones. Life is not based on our utility for it at the moment; nor is it our place as humans to say that God did not intend each unique person (I think we can agree we’re all unique no?) for a specific purpose, which you are violating when you take the life of an unborn child which in most cases is due entirely to selfish and sinful behavior on the part of the persons who now don’t want to be “stuck” with the pregnancy or the resulting child.

          • Nora

            Sasha, you assert that the mother’s “right to control her body” trumps the “potential life of a fetus” because of her autonomy.

            Nonsense.

            Perhaps I have an infant and I want to “control my body” right out the door on a vacation and leave him in his crib for a week to die. Or perhaps I want to “control my body” at 80mph on my motorcycle with my little guy strapped to my chest. You say the argument centers around control of a woman’s body, but that’s not being honest. If it were, you would just as strongly oppose the income tax and every regulation limiting seat belts, weed and public nudity.

            As you alluded to in your linked article, the needle on your moral compass is guided by the physical threat that an unborn child poses to her mother. Because the mother has “skin in the game”, she must be permitted (morally and legally) to revoke her support of that dependent. This isn’t about control of the body – it’s about the threat of the baby.

            So I ask: please explain how an abortion is morally different than murdering a born child who presents a physical (or financial, emotional, etc.) threat to the mother. You and all who are “pro-choice” are expecting us to draw a moral line between these two scenarios. Because one is legal and one is illegal. And the illegal one is only illegal because of the perceived immorality of it. A born child is no more useful (or autonomous, as you say) than an unborn one. They are a heck of a lot louder and more difficult to live with. They present a tremendous threat to the health of the parents, due to stress, fatigue, etc. So why is it illegal to murder them? Why is it immoral? Why do you not fight for a mother’s right to choose to murder her one year old?

            After all, it’s her body, her house, her life. And she’s autonomous, so that should trump a one year old, right?

      • William

        But it is the duty of every Catholic to work against abortion and vote against politicians because abortion is an intrinsic evil. Tens of millions of unborn babies are killed every year often painfully by dismemberment and chemical burning simply because contraception failed. Salha, if only you were as passionate about those victims as you are one rare case. My wife had 4 miscarriages with D&C done in a sterile environment within life saving facilities. If only you

      • Martha

        If you’re commenting to instruct us to read about Salvita, and expecting us to do so and perhaps even be swayed by her story, then presumably we should expect you to show the same courtesy to St. Gianna? We Catholics are also free to start pushing back loud and clear against a society that has driven itself deeper and faster into great moral turpitude.

        • Salha

          Hi Martha,

          Her name was Savita, not Salvita. And I read, with great interest, the story of St. Gianna.

          The difference is that Saint Gianna had a choice. And she chose her baby’s life above her own. Savita’s baby was going to die, and she didn’t get preventative care that would have saved her life. Instead the miscarrying fetus trumped a 31-year-old woman’s right to life.

          You know, it’s sad enough that she was having a miscarriage. Why did she have to die as well? How is that pro-life?

          • Martha

            Pardon my misspelling, I’m typing on a phone.

            If you’re concerned about the case, perhaps you should review whether it was an issue of her life or whether it was an issue of medical malpractice. I don’t have all the details before me, but if it is comparable to the recent ACLU case in Michigan, then it’s more likely that malpractice and not an issue with the Catholic administration of pro life policy that was the problem.

            St. Gianna did ask that they save the child if there was ever a question. Do we know Savita asked for the opposite? Or is that the presumed extrapolation of this story?

            It’s also worth pointing out that the absolute vast majority of women (and girls sadly!) seeking abortions aren’t under Savita or St. Gianna’s circumstances. I don’t see them as cases for keeping abortion legal, when management of miscarriage is arguably a completely separate issue. But I’m not a doctor; perhaps one who understands the issue and the pro life position will be on here to comment.

          • Michelle

            I want Salha to read this so I’m just replying to her but I encourage everyone on this thread to read the book “Beyond the Abortion Wars” by Charles C. Camosy. Someone already commented that until pro-lifers and pro-choicers can find common ground on one element of this hot button issue, nothing will EVER get done. And one thing that BOTH sides agree is that we care about the MOTHER’S life AND the BABY. Most pro-choicers DO care about the baby inside the Mother, at least those that acknowledge that it’s a human being (What else would it be? A cat?) 🙂

            So with that in mind, the author has put together very good, well-thought out arguments presenting BOTH sides. I’m not even a quarter way through and I think it will change the conversation if we can have an intelligent debate about it and this author is definitely trying. I’m recommending it to all my pro-life friends and I have attempted to suggest it to my pro-choice friends but none seems willing to even read it, which makes me frustrated. So Salha, if you would be willing, please please read it. Even just a few chapter! And read the reviews on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Abortion-Wars-Forward-Generation/dp/0802871283

            I used to be pro-choice too and I completely understand where you’re coming from in most of what you have commented on here, I really really do. But if you’re going to be pro-choice, it’s time for you to educate yourself completely on the history of it, how it all started (for THAT specific issue I would recommend the book Subverted by Sue Ellen Browder. Fascinating and FACTUAL.) I’m sure many pro-abort feminists would be surprised to find out how MEN had played a major, if not THE major role in promoting abortion as a good, with MANY feminists at the time completely against it. But if you want to get to the HEART of the debate, dig in deep and don’t be afraid. Read the book and seriously, let us know what your thoughts are on it. God Bless you and you are in my prayers.

  • Justin

    Hi, Jenny. Thanks for the article. Your perspective on this “special right” to abortion, not enumerated in the Constitution, and which is given preference over enumerated rights, is spot on. A quick editing note, your last paragraph is a sentence fragment. It may be the complexity of it distracted from its completion.

  • Debbie

    While we are soberly and seriously discussing this issue, we should all pause at how abortion is being treated in the culture. Read Chelsey Handler’s piece via CNN she wrote in Playboy. Note the “joke” on the Daily Show. THIS is what women have won in the “revolution?” Seriously? We could debate all day the issue of abortion, but when the culture starts being flippant about it, well, we are in some weeds.

  • Ari

    This is some of your best writing. I fail to see how this ruling helped women. (Not to mention the girls (aka future women) who are killed in abortion, but I digress). There are more regulations for a manicure/pedicure spa than an abortion clinic. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of this world. It’s ruled by the prince of the power of the air, full stop.

  • Jean

    I’ve been very interested in reading the comments of our one pro-abortion contributor to this discussion. Salva’s ultimate perplexing complaint was that none of us cared about Savita’s death because no one had mentioned it. I, for one, and I believe most if not all who come to this site, would correct her in that we continue to feel sorrow for Savita’s death, and for her husband, family and friends while at the same time sorrowing over the loss of her unborn baby.

    When we say we respect all human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death it should have been implicit that we were saddened by her passing. The lack of written statement to that effect doesn’t imply or prove lack of existence of such. We don’t categorize worth according to stage of development, denigrating a human fetus as a non-person, nor do we refer to a newborn babe left for safety at a fire station by his/her mother as an “it”. We’ve been accused of being reckless, of suggesting we believe a woman’s purpose is in having babies whether she wants them or not, accused of lying. Then the complaints branch out to labour law and maternity leave benefits. Lastly the suggestion that pro-lifers take up gardening. As for the mention of those who have killed or committed acts of violence against abortionists, let me state that is intolerable. No one has the right to take another person’s life. Not before birth, not after, not if we hold different beliefs.

    At the conclusion of rereading the comments, I have to say I feel very sorry for Salva and all who walk through life in the shadow of negativity and destruction, who believe that killing their own children is the only solution to the problems they face. There are always options to be explored and perhaps as Salva’s life continues to unfold she will come to appreciate her own life and that of others as being the precious unique gift it truly is. I wish her health, happiness and enlightenment.

    • Emily

      Jean, I echo your wishes for Salha’s health, happiness and enlightenment. I was pro-choice until I had my first child and later I was baptized Catholic. The life of a new person, separate from the mother and father, begins at fertilization. Anyone who is excited to find out she’s pregnant knows this, but when we’re not so excited about it, we delude ourselves with various rationalizations. Even pro-choice people, when they want to become parents, don’t wait to start loving their babies until after the baby is born. And they don’t kill their children if they lose their jobs, find themselves single, decide to go back to school, or any other situation that makes them suddenly “not ready” to raise a child. Anyway, thank you for summarizing this very interesting discussion, and, yes, best wishes and many continued prayers for Salha, and for the unborn babies and mommas facing abortion.

  • Michelle

    Absolutely enthralled by this intelligent debate between the lone pro-choicer Salha and everyone else. I wish all comment threads could be this good! 🙂 With that said, I don’t know if Salha will be changing her mind anytime soon but I replied directly to her so she would see the comment but would like to copy and paste it here because I think it’s good for all of us to read this particular book…

    I encourage everyone on this thread to read the book “Beyond the Abortion Wars” by Charles C. Camosy. Someone already commented that until pro-lifers and pro-choicers can find common ground on one element of this hot button issue, nothing will EVER get done. And one thing that BOTH sides agree is that we care about the MOTHER’S life AND the BABY. Most pro-choicers DO care about the baby inside the Mother, at least those that acknowledge that it’s a human being (What else would it be? A cat?) 🙂

    So with that in mind, the author has put together very good, well-thought out arguments presenting BOTH sides. I’m not even a quarter way through and I think it will change the conversation if we can have an intelligent debate about it and this author is definitely trying. I’m recommending it to all my pro-life friends and I have attempted to suggest it to my pro-choice friends but none seems willing to even read it which is super frustrating. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Abortion-Wars-Forward-Generation/dp/0802871283

    If anyone on here ends up reading it or has read it, feel free to reply with your thoughts on it. 🙂 Prayers for all of us!

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