Life for Life?

There’s something I’ve been wondering about.  Does anyone have an example of a time when a late-term abortion saved a mother’s life?  I’m just curious.  That particular justification for abortion is tossed around all the time, and since I’ve never heard of an actual case where this happened, I’m just wondering if my readers have. 

I’m wondering because, at the 28th week of pregnancy, for instance, the baby is around 15 inches long, and I’m just thinking that to induce labor at that point is really not going to be that easy on your body.  So if a mother has some life-threatening condition, would it really be much better for her to have an induced labor (which is usually much less gradual and more taxing on the body than a naturally progressing labor) than to simply wait until the body is ready and deliver the baby normally?

I guess I’ve just been trying to figure out when there would be a situation where it was truly better for the mother.  Have there been a lot of cases like this?  Or is this just a straw_man  that is set up to demonstrate how uncaring the right-to-life folks are? 

And of course, it always begs the question:  Do we really have the right to choose one life at the expense of another?  Just because we happen to know the mother and do not yet know the child, does that make it a given that her life is more valuable than his?  Might we be playing God by choosing to save the mother’s life and sacrifice the child, when in the natural course of things, the mother might have died so that the child would live?  Could there ever possibly be a child who was worth sacrificing my life for?  

(There.  I’ve said it.  I have never heard anyone say it before.  It’s not easy to think about, but it really can’t be ignored.)

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About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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17 Responses to Life for Life?

  1. Patenaude says:

    At 28 weeks most babies would be able to survive, so if it was a choice, the baby could be born and survive. My husband and I were talking about this the other night and if it was a tubel pregnancy and the mother’s life was at risk, then I could see doing something to save the mothers life. I hope to never be in this situation.

  2. josaju says:

    I was sincerely concerned about this matter so I asked someone I trusted, who is a Christian and a retired OB/GYN.  She was a practicing Ob/Gyn in Cleveland for over 30 years and delivered 100’s of babies during her career including the babies of some famous Clevelanders(members of the Cleveland Orchestra etc.)  I knew she would be honest in her answer.Her answer was that there are alternative ways to try to save both the life of the mother and the baby…She inferred that the method of pulling the baby out and killing it was definitely  NOT a necessity.  I got the idea from her that killing a baby late term was a lazy way out by a doctor who lacked competence. Obama’s lack of wanting the  protection of a baby who survived a botched abortion is WAY OVER THE TOP.  Is there any doubt that would be murder?  Any doubt at all.?You have posed a question that probably does concern a lot of people.

  3. “The life of the mother” is loose terminology to give the mother an out right up to the end of pregnancy.  This means it can be emotional, physcological, or physical.  Basically all she has to say is she can’t handle having a child at this time.  To my knowledge she does not have to have an medical evaluation. I do not personally know or have I read about a circumstance where the life of the mother was threatened and she aborted.  I have had a close family friend (she was a bridesmaid in our wedding) who learned she had cancer while being pregnant.  She delayed treatment for herself in order to give her child the best opportunity of life she possibly could.  She carried this child until seven months of pregnancy, putting her own life in great peril.  She died of cancer at the age 32, her son was 15 months old at the time of her death.  As you can imagine the months she was permitted with her son were plagued with treatment.  Many days she was not even able to take care of him herself.  He has no natural memories of his mother but knows what great sacrifice she made in order for him to have life.Thanks for stopping by my site.

  4. Oops, I sure mispelled that one….psychological.

  5. Only tubal pregancy I can think of as an example of an abortion that is most understandable.  I have yet hear of such a case where baby survives this tubal pregancy…  On other hand, I aways hear mother trying to save baby’s life when it comes to herself being sick.  Maybe just a few that mama start strong treatments when just a few weeks along?  On other hand, whenever I hear about pregant mama being sick- it is almost always the fact that mama favors baby’s life.

  6. hmmm … good ponderings.  I like the way you’ve put this out in a very non-judgmental way.  Of course, this is all assuming the doctors know more than God in their determination of what is a threat to life – don’t we always hear stories of people ‘defeating the odds’, proving the doctors wrong, miracles with no explanation?  Really, the medical system takes away all of God’s sovereignty with their “educated” proclamations of disaster. Personally, I would NEVER BELIEVE a doctor who issues a death sentence (for me OR my unborn child). Open our eyes, yes.  Get as much info as we can, including natural alternatives.  Take control where we can, and give the rest to God.Late pregnancy life-threatening issues like toxemia can often be dealt with by an early delivery, and as Patenaude said, most babies can survive at an amazingly early stage!  God IS in control.  We tend to forget that when we go to the doctor.   🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always heard that a breech delivery is dangerous for the mother, so it baffles me how anyone could say that partial-birth abortion, requires breech delivery, is required to “save” a mother’s life.  What a lie!I’d also heard of a case where a mother learned she had cancer while pregnant and put off treatment until her baby was born.  She died when her daughter was two.  On the other hand, I’ve heard of a case where a woman who had tuberculosis found out that she was pregnant and refused to abort.  The pregnancy pushed the woman’s lungs up, closing the holes that were caused by the tuberculosis, and she was healed.  An instance where a pregnancy saved the mother’s life.  Plus, there have been women who were saved from self-destructive tendencies when they learned they were pregnant, and their maternal instincts kicked in and they began living healthy lives for their babies’ sakes.Thanks for bringing up this topic!

  8. I’ve heard a physician talk about this very thing.  He said that a caeserean would be performed.  It makes good sense. : )I don’t know how the prodeath camp has been able to get away with using this excuse for so very long.Great entry!   Blessings!

  9. Col317 says:

    Lovely music!  I used to have a copy of Pachebel’s Canon that was looped and so didn’t end for over an hour.  My daugher fell asleep to that CD every night!I have never thought of it before but I am thinking it probably is easier to snuff out a life that never began than end one that is already in progress and that is what makes abortion acceptable to some.  I don’t know. 

  10. mamaglop says:

    I think they mean “life” in broad terms, to include emotional or social life… kind of like “speech” can now mean actions such as burning the flag or taking dirty pictures.  I can ‘t think of a case unless they believe the baby has a defect and that would affect the “life” of the mother if the baby happened to survive… Yuck.  I hate the whole thing.  I used to answer phones for a prolife group, and I remember a case where a dad called to see if he could stop his wife’s abortion.  That would be a real relationship “killer” for me. another time a woman who had been raped was offered only abortion, no counseling.  Twelve years afterward she was still traumatized.  the prolife group offered counseling for that.

  11. mamaglop says:

    I’ve wondered the same things about how do you decide which life is worth more…tubal pregnancies are generally discovered by 12 weeks, and the situation is fatal for the baby anyway (although I did hear of one ruptured tubal pregnancy where the baby survived and the placenta attached to the mothers internal organs.  She didn’t even know it was outside the uterus until late in pregnancy when a c-section was performed,- and it was life threatening to the mother because of concerns over blood loss and infection, but they both made it).  I would not call the interruption of a tubal pregnancy to save the life of the mother an abortion, but I would regard it as medically necessary, especially if she already has children.

  12. the_grat says:

    Very difficult subject.  One of the cases I have heard most commonly touted (and one of the only specific ones) was Tammy Watts in 1995, and yet the specifics regarding her scenario was that the pregeancy was planned, and the baby had a genetic issue which was causing it to die inside of her, putting her life at that point in peril (poinsoning, etc).  At that point, the baby was already facing a very dismal outlook.  Tubal pregnancies are fated, and it is understandable that a woman would have to accept that she really does not have a plethera of good options, and is personally doomed if she cannot move past the cold facts of this most painful situation.  I know 2 women who faced that, and it was difficult for both of them.  .Cancer is another very difficult scenario, and one where I could undertand a woman struggling with that choice.  And largely, it depends upon the cancer.  Best case plays out as the woman being able to carry the baby to the earliest safe c-section, and commencing with rigorous treatments after that.  However, all types of cancer are different, and while this would work with some of them, other aggressive strains of cancer (or advanced before it was identified) leave you very limited with the days and months you have to work with, and choosing this option would be a bona fide death sentence for the mother, and possibly the baby too.  My family knew a woman whose choice to refrain from an abortion (and therefore being unable to commence early treatment) cost her her life less than 6 months later, leaving behind 4 very sad little girls. .I cannot state which road would be better, or higher, or more ethical.  It is a brutal and painful decision that must be carefully (albiet probably tearfully) made, and either decision made MUST be supported by the friends, family, and church of the woman/family in this situation.  .If you have ever known anyone who faced this, you should know that the agony is high in these situations, and incredible depression often follows, whichever route is taken by the woman, there are undoubtedly going to be fears and questions and twinges of frightened, sad, regret..It is good to discuss it, but please judge it only in the schools of thought and objective discourse, and not at all on the playing field. .ps.  good to see you still using your mind, ronda. =)

  13. the_grat says:

    i also want to comment directly on your question: “Do we really have the right to choose one life at the expense of another?  Just because we happen to know the mother and do not yet know the child, does that make it a given that her life is more valuable than his?  Might we be playing God by choosing to save the mother’s life and sacrifice the child, when in the natural course of things, the mother might have died so that the child would live?”\.because i hear people in your circles using that phrase often ‘playing god’ by making decisions about life and death.  i personally feel we have that responsibility to make those decisions.  we make decisions every day that affect lives immensley, however known or unknown the impact is to us.\a hypothesis i would like to present to you in regards to your questions is if a man has two sons, and they are all off playing at the ocean, and a riptide pulls the boys out, and he can intervene, but only to save one of them.  how does he choose which one to save ?  and yet he is forced to, because no decision would cost both of the children their lives.  an ‘act of god’ (ie. riptide) has pulled them both into danger, and he must choose to only save one. is he playing god ?\.or is he making the most difficult decision, to attempt to emulate love by rescuing whomever he chooses to reach his hand towards ?\what is it were his wife, and his son ?  would that make his decision (whatever it be) any more right ?  \can his decision be criticized ?  or should it simply be accepted, and his ensuing grief over the situation be acknowleged and ministered to ?\

  14. great topic!  i’m prolife of unborn babies… at all costs to mom. yes, that includes my life – if i were in this situation.now the reason i came here… thank you for your kind words.  i am feeling MUCH better!blessings to you my dear,mary

  15. homefire says:

    @the_grat – Such a very painful scenario you describe!  I actually have known of a situation like that.  And I really don’t think it’s quite the same, though it does have some similarities. For one thing, a decision like that must be made on the spur of the moment, and there really isn’t time for evaluation of which is more valuable; it’s generally a matter of opportunity and expedience.  You’re right that it would be horrible and heart-rending, as would the abortion choice you describe.  On neither of those would I consider condemning the person who made the decision (which of course wouldn’t be my place in any case–I don’t blame women who get an abortion anyway, I blame the propagandists who’ve sold her on it)  Tuabl pregnancies–aren’t they usually discovered pretty early on?  Or am I wrong about that?Anyway, back to specifically late-term abortion,  I guess the thing that bothers me in those cases is the fact that the baby would often survive if an effort were made to nurture it.  In many, the baby is delivered alive–isn’t letting it die “playing God?”  And Grat, it is so good to see you again!  I was thinking about you a lot this week, but haven’t had computer access–I guess you got my vibes, though! 

  16. the_grat says:

    @homefire - i understand.  and to be clear, i do agree with the theory that many would live, if would given the effort to nurture it.  however, some denominations would cliam that the tubes, wires, machines, and and incubators necessary would also be ‘playing god’.  help us all, but we know it’s true. =)  that illusive ‘line’, eh ?  just to sharpen your mind and fire tho – are instantaneous decisions truly more excusable ?  would not that instantaneous decision be born out of the heart, of worse, out of fear ?not harrassing you, just calling some questions, which i know you can take, and if you aren’t stressed out, would probably enjoy the fodder.  i do, when the roles are reversed.  – do you mind my thoughts and questions littering your pages ??ps.  what we really need is a good conversation over coffee.  

  17. homefire says:

    @the_grat – Conversation over coffee?  YES!  I’d love it!    And I NEVER mind your thoughts on my page.I spent quite awhile replying to this yesterday, then proceeded to lose the whole thing.  Grr.  So now if I can only remember what I said…Re: your first paragraph, I see your point, but according to some stuff I read (admittedly, anything filtered through the media is suspect, but anyway…) some could be saved just by keeping them warm and giving a bit of oxygen–surely no one would think that was playing God, would they?  Those were the cases I was talking about.I read up on Tammy Watts and I am NOT convinced that her life in danger at all.  Her baby had Trisomy 13, a chromosomal abnormality which would make it impossible to live a normal life.  Most of those babies survive less than a year, but many are delivered normally.  We had friends who had a Trisomy 18 baby (similar) and she lived just a few months, but there was never any question of the mother’s life being in danger while carrying her.  As for the idea of the baby dying in utero and poisoning the mother, that’s not nearly as life-threatening as they portrayed it.  Obviously they were monitoring the situation, and would know if the baby died.  There is plenty of time to induce labor at that point.  I had a very dear friend whose baby died at about 20 weeks gestation, and the doctors waited almost two weeks before inducing, hoping that she would start labor naturally.  Obviously, there’s a pretty large window in there before the baby begins to decompose and harm the mother.  I think Tammy’s case was not really about saving the mother’s life, but about saving her from a very difficult life experience.Not that I can blame her for not wanting to go through it, of course.  As @Col317 –  said, Losing the child before you even know it sounds easier than to have it die in your arms after holding and caring for him or her.  Both of the friends I mentioned above had a lot of emotional upheaval, but I think their healing was quick, whereas Tammy W. was still grieving nine years later.  That makes me wonder if easier is not necessarily better for the mom.About the instantaneous decision…actually, I tend to think that, for a Christian, anyway, during an emergency when your brain is frozen and not functioning, the Holy Spirit kicks in and yes, I do trust those decisions more than the ones I agonize about.  I have no idea whether that’s sound theology or not–it’s just my gut feeling about it.@josaju – Thanks for the input from an OB/ GYN.  @wolfpacwife14 – @mjh905 – @macadamianutz – @mamaglop – @waiting_for_the_final_trumpet – I heard an amazing story about a tubal pregnancy last weekend that parallels the one Waiting mentioned.  The mom took an abortifacient, but instead of aborting completely, the baby moved on down into the uterus and reattached.  The mom refused to “finish the job” as the doctors advised, and she had a lovely baby girl.  I saw this girl, now about 12 years old, performing on stage this summer, and now I am marveling to find out the circumstances of her birth.  Miracles do happen!

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