But What if the Mother’s Life is Threatened?

But what if the mothers life is threatenedOften when this argument is used, those arguing in favor of abortion are jumping to very extreme (and sometimes not even possible) situations. There are pregnancy situations that can be dangerous and sometimes life threatening. However, none of these require abortion to save the life of the mother. In fact, sometimes an abortion could cause even more harm. Let’s look at some common scenarios given:

1) Preeclampsia
-Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs in third trimester of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is marked by high blood pressure, swelling, and protein in urine as well as other potential symptoms. It can lead to very severe risks such as premature birth, birth defects, and disabilities in the baby and severe complications for the woman such as stroke, seizures, heart failure, and potentially maternal death.
If preeclampsia is not severe, doctors will often prescribe bed rest and medicine to lower blood pressure. If preeclampsia is severe, the mother will be monitored in the hospital and, if necessary, the baby will be delivered. Vaginal birth it’s possible but often an emergency c-section will be performed as this will put less stress on the mother and baby’s body.
Abortion is not a necessary or practical solution. It can actually be more dangerous as a late term abortion can take 24-72 hours. In a life threatening situation, this is simply not practical or safe.

2) Ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy is pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, usually in the Fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy cannot continue normally. Left untreated, the Fallopian tubes would rupture, causing internal bleeding and maternal death. The short answer to this is that ectopic pregnancy is not considered abortion by the medical community. This is is a dangerous and abnormal pregnancy situation. If not treated, the mother would die. However, there have been cases of both mother and babies surviving ectopic pregnancy.

3) Molar pregnancy
Molar pregnancy results from abnormal fertilization. A molar pregnancy can seem like a normal pregnancy for a time because it produces the same hormone signals as a normal healthy pregnancy. However, molar pregnancy consists of massive abnormal placental overgrowth. In a molar pregnancy, there is no possibility of having a baby. An embryo never forms or, if it does, dies shortly after. This is not a valid argument for abortion because 1) an embryo never formed in the first place, or 2) An embryo formed and then miscarried.

4) Cancer
In a situation where a pregnant mother is found to have cancer, there are several options available to the mother. Cancer itself rarely affects the baby directly, it is the treatment of cancer that can be dangerous for the baby. Often times, the mother has chosen to wait on treatment until her baby is born. Many mothers have had healthy babies and made full recoveries from cancer after waiting on treatment. In other situations, there are localized treatments available that do not harm the growing baby. After the first trimester, chemotherapy is less likely to harm the baby because the placenta acts as a barrier. All of the baby’s organs are also formed by this point.
However, in a situation where none of these options are available or possible, there is nothing ethically objectional to a woman receiving treatment even at potential risk to the unborn baby. The difference between this and abortion is significant. In the former, the death of the baby is a tragic secondary effect of treating the mother. In the latter, you are intentionally killing the child. It is the difference between a man dying because he had cancer and taking a gun and shooting that man.

5) Other
In situations where getting pregnant would directly cause death to the mother (situations which are incredibly rare), no doctor would leave the woman at risk of being able to potentially get pregnant. He would perform a hysterectomy, tie her tubes, or perform some other means of permanent sterilization.

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