What Percentage of Abortions Are Medically Necessary?

Why We Don't Need Abortion

...even for the 'hard cases' of rape, incest, life of the mother, and fetal defects.

ebook on why we don't need abortion

The short answer to this question is “zero.”

Human Life International’s free e-book Why We Don’t Need Abortion walks through each of the most commonly cited situations where abortion is supposedly “medically necessary.” You can download it now for free to learn what alternatives there are to abortion in each of these situations.

 

How Common Are Life-Threatening Pregnancies?

Medical science has progressed to the point where an abortion is never necessary to preserve the life or the health of the mother. This has been true for more than half a century.

Abortions performed to preserve the life or the health of the mother are so rare that they do not register statistically, according to Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood, who did more to promote and spread abortion on demand throughout the world than any other individual. In 1967 he commented, “Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal disease such as cancer or leukemia, and if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save the life.”1

Alan Guttmacher quote on the medical necessity of abortions

In any case where both the mother and child are ill, both should be treated, and every effort should be made to save both mother and child. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) states that the term “abortion to save the life of the mother” is deliberately misleading terminology, and that no abortion saves the life of the mother; rather, doctors should treat both patients. For instance, prematurely delivering the baby may be an option if the mother is gravely ill, though AAPLOG acknowledges that in some cases, the baby may be too premature to survive.

Naturally, the percentage of abortions allegedly performed to save the life or health of the mother will vary somewhat based on country, but we can see from the testimony of doctors and researchers that these cases are exceedingly rare. Even abortionists testify that if there is a medical emergency, the course of action is to deliver the baby prematurely, because to go through the stages required by a surgical abortion (laminaria, stretching the cervix, etc.) would cause more, not less danger to the mother.

As far back as 1981, former Surgeon General of the United States Dr. C. Everett Koop said “The fact of the matter is that abortion as a necessity to save the life of the mother is so rare as to be nonexistent.”2 He was backed up by reformed abortionist Bernard Nathanson, who said not long after, “The situation where the mother’s life is at stake were she to continue a pregnancy is no longer a clinical reality. Given the state of modern medicine, we can now manage any pregnant woman with any medical affliction successfully, to the natural conclusion of the pregnancy: The birth of a healthy child.”3

baby laughing

In 1974, the “Father of Fetology,” Hymie Gordon, M.D., Director of Medical Genetics at the Mayo Clinic, stated, “In more than 25 years now of medical practice, I have come to learn that if a woman is healthy enough to become pregnant, she is healthy enough to complete the term ― in spite of heart disease, liver disease, almost any disease. As far as I’m concerned, there are no medical indications for terminating a pregnancy.”4

In 1981, Dr. Jasper Williams, Jr., of the Bernard Hospital in Chicago, Past President of the National Medical Association, said, “Since 1953, I have never seen a patient die because she needed an abortion and it could not be performed. Doctors now have the tools and the knowledge with which to work so that they can handle almost any disease a patient may have, whether that patient is pregnant or not, and without interrupting the pregnancy.”5

Data from six reporting states over the period of 24 years found that only 1.14% of abortions were performed for the mother’s life or physical health. Even the tiny percentage of 1.14% of abortions performed ostensibly for the women’s health are unnecessary, as there are alternative ways to save the mother without committing an abortion. This makes abortion obsolete, even in the most extreme circumstances.

There are several conditions that pose a threat to the mother’s physical and mental health which may arise during pregnancy. These are often presented as “necessitating” an abortion when they do not. As former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino has affirmed: “During my time at Albany Medical Center I managed hundreds of such cases by ‘terminating’ pregnancies to save mother’s lives. In all those cases, the number of unborn children that I had to deliberately kill was zero.”  Dr. Levatino in these cases “terminated” the pregnancies he managed by delivering the babies early.

 

How to Handle Truly Life-Threatening Pregnancies

Again, abortion to save the mother should never happen. Therefore, in the increasingly rare cases where continuing the pregnancy causes real and immediate danger to the mother, the baby ought to be removed in such a way that every effort is made to preserve its life outside of the womb. In such a case, both mother and baby are treated because their lives are of equal value. If the baby should die after a premature delivery, the physicians have done all they could to save his or her life. They have not deliberately killed the baby.

“Preemie” survival rates are improving constantly. Even if a delivery occurred at a time when the baby was likely not viable, the fundamental difference is still the intent behind the act. It is never morally permissible to intend an evil outcome, and the death of an unborn child is most certainly an evil outcome (more explanation of these moral principles here). In the case of ectopic pregnancies, the mother may undergo an operation whose purpose is to save her life, even if the preborn child may die as an indirect result of the procedure.

What About Mental Health?

There is substantial evidence from several sources, including the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and BMC Medicine, that abortions do not solve mental issues, and usually aggravate them–even when compared to the mental health issues that sometimes develop from miscarriages. The research presented by the British Journal of Psychiatry concludes that long-term mental health problems in the wake of induced abortions increase, and the probability of depression, anxiety, guilt, and other mental sufferings goes up by 81% compared to mothers who carry their baby until birth. It is clear that abortion worsens mental health rather than relieving symptoms.

A handful of recent studies that allege that abortion is beneficial to the mental health of women invariably suffer from an extreme conflict of interest, since they are usually done by organizations that perform abortions themselves or aggressively advocate for them.6

The term “medically necessary” is nothing more than a ruse used by the abortion industry to justify abortions of convenience.

As we explained above, AAPLOG has said that the term “medically necessary” is deliberately misleading. In fact, pro-abortion legislators use this vague term to enact laws that allow abortion on demand. Studies by the Guttmacher Institute (AGI), the world’s leading pro-abortion research organization, show that only from one percent to three percent of all abortions are performed for medical reasons, but well over 90% are performed for economic and social (“convenience”) reasons.7 One point that this study by the AGI demonstrates is that “medical necessity” is not even considered by the vast majority of mothers who intend to abort.

Although not the primary goal of the study, the data clearly shows that more developed countries have far fewer claims that abortion is medically necessary (20% claiming medical necessity as the main reason in Kenya, and in Finland only o.6%). In fact, in the United States, abortions are performed most often for reasons of convenience, such as finances or relationship status.

We frequently see examples of this abuse of terminology in the rationalizations offered by those arguing in favor of abortion. As the Catholic News Agency reports, Professor Lucia A. Silecchia of the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law has pointed out that “there is no requirement for a doctor to even consider whether or not there exists an alternative to abortion that could solve the medical crisis.” The language of the legal statutes clearly has been twisted to make abortion freely available for any reason.

Using “medical necessity” as legislative terminology allows lawmakers to craft bills that have large loopholes defining what medical risk means. By tugging at our heartstrings with a purely emotional appeal, pro-abortionists argue that we cannot possibly refuse to “help” mothers. All over the world, pro-abortion organizations vastly inflate the numbers of abortions, create statistics on maternal mortality out of thin air, and use their invented numbers as a means towards abortion on demand.8 Dr. Bernard Nathanson, abortionist turned pro-lifer and co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, has described this tactic in detail.

pregnant woman at clinic

We should expect that this percentage of life-threatening pregnancies will only decrease as modern medicine continues to make progress in saving mothers from these tragic complications. We should, therefore, be progressing towards policies that treat both mother and child, as has always been the ideal. Namely, we must provide all ordinary means of keeping both the mother and the child alive, and the scope of these ordinary means expands as medicine progresses. The key to handling these situations is simply to acknowledge the humanity of both the mother and of the child.

Many public opinion polls show that a large majority of people do not want to pay for abortions, so pro-abortionists grossly overestimate the alleged “dangers” of pregnancy and childbirth in order to frighten people into supporting public abortion funding. Perpetuating the lie, they define a threat to the life of the mother in the same terms as a threat to her health. This way, abortion when the mother’s life is in danger leads to abortion for any reason at all:

  • Abortionist Michael Burnhill of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) said that a “life of the mother” exception would allow him to perform all abortions he considered “medically necessary,” all those that would preserve a “condition in which one can actively participate in one’s total life.”9
  • According to another author, “A Colorado abortion clinic director claimed that his extensive research showed that carrying a pregnancy to term is about 100 times more life threatening than having an abortion. He, therefore, considered any pregnancy life-threatening and used that as justification, certifying that the mother’s life was endangered.”10
  • Abortionist Jane Hodgson testified under oath: “In my medical judgment, every pregnancy that is not wanted by the patient, I feel there is a medical indication to abort a pregnancy where it is not wanted. In good faith, I would recommend on a medical basis, you understand, that, and it would be 100.… I think they are all medically necessary.… I am considering the woman’s physical, mental, emotional and social and welfare and family and environment and all that.… I am concerned with the quality of life, not physical existence.”11

Hodgson also summarized the general pro-abortion attitude when she said, “A medically necessary abortion is any abortion a woman asks for.”12

In short, pro-abortion advocates can stretch exceptions allowing abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, making this exception cover abortion for any reason.

Conclusion

The percentage of abortions that are performed out of “medical necessity” is a dynamic statistic, but in the United States, cases of true medical necessity are exceedingly rare or nonexistent. They are in no way a justification for abortion.

The rare cases when the mother and child cannot both be saved should not be called medically necessary abortions, because effort is made to preserve both the lives of child and mother. In these instances, the only way to save the mother is by delivering, not killing, the baby.

This article was originally published in October 2021 and was most recently updated in February 2024.

+ Endnotes

[1] Alan Guttmacher. “Abortion Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” The Case for Legalized Abortion Now (Berkeley, California: Diablo Books), 1967, page 3.

[2] Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General. “How Often is Abortion Necessary to ‘Save the Life of the Mother’?” October 19, 2012, at https://www.nrlc.org/archive/abortion/pba/HowOften AbortionNecessarySaveMother.pdf.

[3] Bernard Nathanson, M.D. Written statement to the Idaho House of Representatives’ State Affairs Committee, 16 February 1990. Also quoted in “Exceptions: Abandoning ‘The Least of These My Brethren.'” American Life League booklet, 1991, page 22.

[4] Hymie Gordon, M.D., Director of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, October 15, 1974. Emphasis added.

[5] Jasper Williams, Jr., M.D., Bernard Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, Past President of the National Medical Association, address of October 19, 1981. Emphasis added.

[6] There are many examples of this kind of gross conflict of interest:

The Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health has a webpage entitled “Abortions Do Not Harm Long-Term Mental Health.” The Bixby Center operates the Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Contraceptives, which is by far the largest training center for abortionists in North America.

Ibis Reproductive Health claims that even late abortions cause no mental health problems whatsoever and, in fact, Ibis claims that post-abortion syndrome (PAS) does not exist and is mere fiction cooked up by “anti-choicers” to make women feel guilty. Ibis lobbies for the legalization of abortion in pro-life nations all around the world.

Finally, one of the worst pro-abortion organizations in the world, Marie Stopes International, which has actually boasted about performing illegal abortions all over the world, flatly denies any connection between the death of a child by the deliberate choice of the mother and her subsequent depression or other mental health problems.

[7] Sophia Chae, Sheila Desai, Marjorie Crowell, Gilda Sedgh. “Reasons Why Women Have Induced Abortions: A Synthesis of Findings from 14 Countries.” Contraception 96 (2017), pages 233 to 241. This study presented essentially the same results as a study performed by the Guttmacher Institute 20 years previously [Akinrinola Bankole, Susheela Singh, and Taylor Haas. “Reasons Why Women Have Induced Abortions: Evidence from 27 Countries.” International Family Planning Perspectives. Guttmacher Institute. Volume 24, Number 3 (September 1998), pages 117 to 127 and 152].

[8] As one typical example, during my 2004 HLI mission trip to Trinidad and Tobago, the head of Planned Parenthood in that country stated at a public meeting that 350 women in T&T were killed by illegal abortions every year. I asked him after the presentation where this number came from. He replied that some months ago, there was a documented case of a woman dying of a botched abortion in Port of Spain. There are seven hospitals in T&T, he said. Therefore, seven hospitals times 52 weeks in a year was about 350 deaths due to illegal abortions every year.

[9] Abortionist Michael Burnhill of the National Abortion Federation on the April 22, 1980 “MacNeil/Lehrer Report.” Quoted in “Exceptions: Abandoning ‘The Least of These My Brethren.’” American Life League booklet, 1991, page 24.

[10] “Are Exception Clauses Pro-Life?” ALL about Issues, July-August 1987, pages 25 and 26.

[11] Abortionist Jane Hodgson, transcript, August 3, 1977, at 99-101, McRae v. Califano, 491 F.Supp. 630 (E.D.N.Y. 1980), rev’d sub nom. Harris v. McRae. 100 S. Ct. 2671 (1980).

[12] Human Life International’s Special Report Number 83, August 1991, pages 6 and 7.

Why We Don't Need Abortion

...even for the 'hard cases' of rape, incest, life of the mother, and fetal defects.

HLI staff writers bring you stories from the mission field and the latest information on life and family issues. All HLI articles are true to Catholic teaching.

51 Comments

  1. Todd on January 3, 2024 at 4:19 PM

    I like the article. I am just asking what about the lady in Texas and what about a Ectopic pregnancy. Thanks

    • HLI Staff on January 4, 2024 at 4:58 PM

      Dear Todd,
      Thank you for contacting Human Life International, and thank you for asking this clarifying question. Actually, the procedure to treat the mother in the case of an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion. I have included a link to our article on the topic below.
      God Bless You,
      HLI Staff
      https://www.hli.org/resources/ectopic-pregnancy-and-abortion/

  2. Shawna Carpenter on July 18, 2023 at 8:35 PM
  3. Brad on March 25, 2023 at 6:27 PM

    This has always been my defense of abortion:

    When I was in Catholic high school, I took a class my Junior year called morality and ethics, which was basically morality according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a very long text that interprets and extrapolates from the ten commandments. In a unit on murder, we learned about when it is a moral imperative to save another’s life, and when it isn’t. If you can save another’s life through “ordinary means,” you are morally obligated to do so. These are actions like giving someone a drink of water or letting a homeless person in out of the freezing cold. Ordinary means boils down to all actions that do not require a high level of burden on you to save another. On the other hand, if you must expend “extraordinary means” to save a person’s life, it is not a moral obligation to do so. These are actions like donating a kidney, venturing into an active war zone, giving someone your very last dollar, etc. You can save someone’s life through extraordinary means, but it is not a moral failing if you choose not to. It becomes a choice. It doesn’t matter if the person at risk is blood kin or complete stranger—it may affect which choice you ultimately make, but the moral obligation or lack thereof remains the same.

    I agree with this assessment. It gets a little complicated if something blurs the lines between ordinary and extraordinary means—where that boundary is is not exactly set in stone. But I think it’s more of a “you know it when you see it” kind of thing. It’s how we define people as heroes: people who, at great risk to themselves, save others through extraordinary means. But my question is this. When a woman is pregnant, doesn’t tolerating the hardships of pregnancy, suffering the pains and repercussions of childbirth, raising a child for 18 years, feeding and clothing them, sacrificing financial stability and employment prospects… doesn’t that constitute extraordinary means? Does that not qualify as a high level of burden? Does it not, therefore, become the choice of the women whether or not to continue the pregnancy up until the point of fetal viability? This moral framing of ordinary vs. extraordinary means makes a lot of sense to me. But why would it not apply to prospective mothers?

    • HLI Staff on March 30, 2023 at 11:53 AM

      Thank you for your comment.

      In the case of abortion, there is no extraordinary means to justify it because it is deliberately killing the innocent life of an unborn child. It is murder.

      Your morality and ethics class was right about there being a line between ordinary and extraordinary means of saving someone’s life. However, arguing that carrying a pregnancy to term somehow constitutes “extraordinary means” is as immoral as arguing that food and water for a disabled person can be considered “extraordinary means” of preserving life. Pregnancy is a natural result of having intimate relations, so while pregnancy can be long and exhausting and caring for a child can be equally so, it is in no way the same as saving someone’s life by donating a kidney or venturing into an active war zone. Donating a kidney or volunteering in an active war zone are vastly different from the direct killing of an innocent life. While the mother may not be able to take care of the child on her own, and doing so would present several financial, emotional, and physical challenges to her, this does not morally obligate her to have her child’s life taken so that she is “unburdened.”

      In this case, the pregnancy will continue on naturally, resulting in a birth if no action is taken. An abortion is an outside action taken to end that life, so saying that not committing murder is somehow “extraordinary” is a false equivalence to, for instance donating a kidney. In the case of the person with failing kidneys, taking no action will result in the person’s death and a beautiful and generous response would be to donate one of your one, but you are not required to. In the first case, the intervention is negative, you are killing a child that would otherwise live, in the second your action is neutral (if you do nothing) or positive (if you donate a kidney). A better comparison to abortion would be someone deciding that their life would be easier if the person on dialysis was dead and therefore poisoning them. Not poisoning an elderly relative is no more extraordinary than not poisoning a young child with an abortion pill. Furthermore, it is unethical to deem someone’s life a “burden” due to their age, stage of physical/mental development, health, etc. We cannot state that some people are worthy of life and others are not because they are “burdens” to others, without agreeing with utilitarian and eugenical mindsets; both of which should always be avoided and viewed as immoral. I hope this helps clarify the matter for you.

      HLI STAFF

  4. Kyle on July 17, 2022 at 9:12 PM

    I find it interesting that all these comments from people people supporting abortion citing they know someone or they themselves had a “condition ” requiring an abortion to save them, never cited what that “condition ” is……perhaps that is because they know that there is almost never any medical scenario that would require an abortion and they know it….I also find it convenient when people comment its nobody’s business. That’s laughable. It becomes our business when you publicly comment and post without giving actual facts to back up your comment . If you don’t like others challenging your comments, then make sure you cite and utilize complete and factual information supporting your position instead of only giving partial information.

    • David Michaelson on November 9, 2023 at 10:58 AM

      I will be another to comment about knowing someone who needed an abortion to save her life. My sister. She had an infection in the uterus and the antibiotics did not work and she developed other complications that required an abortion to save her life. She chose, because she had a choice, not to get an abortion. I still miss her so much. The baby didn’t survive either. No do-overs

      • Donna on November 18, 2023 at 10:41 PM

        Sorry for your loss

  5. Dwight on June 29, 2022 at 1:13 AM

    A very close friend of mine who is now deceased was a District Judge. One of his statements he recited in the courtroom on more than one occasion was “No matter how flat a pancake is, it still has two sides”. He would then state it was his job to discern the truth by separating facts from opinions and fallacies. Congratulations on a superb article that exposes both sides of the tragedy of an abortion. God Bless You and all the Women that choose life for their child. For the women that choose death (self -love), thank goodness we have a forgiving God (Agape Love).

    • Sarah M on July 16, 2022 at 7:17 PM

      I think that choosing death is not self-love, it’s self(ishness) that will lead to great grief later. There’s a big difference in self-love and selfishness. Selfishness does not always equate the most loving choice for one’s self or others.

  6. Anya on June 25, 2022 at 6:23 PM

    It is so, so SAD… to see such LIES in text! On a website! Written by whom, Mother Angelica circa 1992? Not EVERY pregnancy is viable, ESPECIALLY ECTOPIC. When a mom to be has a medical emergency, the course of action isn’t ALWAYS to deliver prematurely. Every pregnancy has 3 terms, and depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy dictates the appropriate & necessary medical procedures to follow. ALL DOCTORS, NURSES, take an oath! You are to provide the best/recommended treatment plan or care to your patient despite personal/religious/political beliefs. No religion nor government WILL EVER tell any human being what they can or cannot do with their body.

    • HLI Staff on June 29, 2022 at 3:02 PM

      Anya, thanks for the opportunity to explain. The article didn’t claim that every pregnancy is viable. In those extremely rare cases when the mother’s life truly is threatened by pregnancy (such as with cancer of the uterus or ectopic pregnancy), she may undergo an operation whose purpose is to save her life, even if the preborn child may die as an indirect result of the procedure. This principle is known as the “double effect” and is sometimes misunderstood, even among Catholics. A fuller explanation of the principle can be found here: https://www.hli.org/resources/principle-double-effect/. The direct killing of a preborn child (abortion) is never permissible because the intent is to end his or her life; however, when a medical procedure necessary to save the life of the mother causes the unintentional death of the child, the action which causes both good and bad effects is morally permissible when all conditions of the principle of double effect are met.

  7. Cass on October 15, 2021 at 2:10 PM

    Let women do what they want with their own bodies

    • Jeri Janice Lipis on March 26, 2022 at 12:06 AM

      If we are so advanced medically, why is mother mortality so high here in the United States. Diabetes, renal disease, cardiac disease can limit a woman’s ability to maintain a pregnancy. The truth is obvious to anyone that has an interest in the subject, just as pro choice fanatics have an agenda this author has one as well. The truth won’t ever be found if left to the fanatics on either side of the question. Historically, abortion didn’t get a lot of air time until male doctors wanted midwives run out of the birthing business & women started speaking up for their rights. The 1980’s brought the right’s political push to make abortion the major issue. The electorate has been manipulated to view abortion as a Christian litmus test forgeting all about the very things Jesus actually taught. Feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, caring for the sick. We would be well advised to rethink this obsession with abortion & think more about the people in need right now. You can care about both, but abortion isn’t the only issue that denotes a true Christian. If Jesus, Paul St. Augustine didn’t focus on abortion ……

      • HLI Staff on March 28, 2022 at 12:08 PM

        Jeri Janice Lipis, According to the United States CDC website it’s unclear whether pregnancy-related mortality rates have been rising or are relatively stable: “Since the Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System was implemented, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the United States steadily increased from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 17.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017. The graph above shows trends in pregnancy-related mortality ratios between 1987 and 2017 (the latest available year of data). The reasons for the overall increase in pregnancy-related mortality are unclear. Identification of pregnancy-related deaths has improved over time due to the use of computerized data linkages between death records and birth and fetal death records by states, changes in the way causes of death are coded, and the addition of a pregnancy checkbox to death records. However, errors in reported pregnancy status on death records have been described, potentially leading to overestimation of the number of pregnancy-related deaths.1 Whether the actual risk of a woman dying from pregnancy-related causes has increased is unclear, and in recent years, the pregnancy-related mortality ratios have been relatively stable.” (https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternal-mortality/pregnancy-mortality-surveillance-system.htm)

        Even using CDC’s 17.3 deaths per 100,000 women, that’s less than one tenth of one percent of woman. Of course, one death is too many, but 0.0173% cannot be reasonably be characterized as “high” mortality of women.

        By contrast, in 2019 CDC abortion surveillance reports an abortion rate of 1140 abortions per 100,000 women aged 15-44 and the abortion ratio was 19500 abortions per 100,000 live births. (https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm)
        The ratio of abortions per live births is 19.5% according to the CDC data, about 1 in 5. That’s a high mortality rate.

        Jesus and early Church Fathers all condemned abortion.

        We are in agreement that there are many legitimate areas of concern for the Christian (the hungry, homeless, etc.), but given the dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of God (and rate at which children are being aborted in their mother’s womb today!), the primary importance needs to be protecting life itself.

        • Bob on May 4, 2022 at 4:23 PM

          This says it all. The idea of “medical necessity” is a smoke screen to justify any and all abortions.

          17 out 100,000 mothers die to childbirth
          19,500 out of 100,000 babies are killed due to abortion or 1/5

          Yes, the 17 women who died in childbirth is tragic. What is the 19,500 babies being killed then? We’ve become a culture of majoring on the minors while neglecting the larger moral issues.

          • HLI Staff on May 6, 2022 at 2:32 PM

            Excellent points, Bob



    • April on May 28, 2022 at 10:29 PM

      For those who say the baby is just “part of the woman’s body” and she can do whatever she wants with it, then why does the blastocyst (fertilized egg) have to emit chemicals to weaken the mother’s immune system in order to implant itself within the uterus? Because if it didn’t do that first the mother’s body would treat it as a foreign invader and reject it. Doesn’t that tell you that it’s IN the mother’s body but NOT the mother’s body?

    • Esther on June 25, 2022 at 12:32 PM

      That statement ignores morality and ethics. With great power comes great responsibility. Together, men and women have the power of creation, that power requires a great deal of responsibility to preserve that creation until it is able to preserve itself. Even so, the love that results from a lifetime of care and devotion is a power of its own. Babies are not garbage, and abortion is not birth control. Life is not an affliction. We all must navigate it as best we can. Choices are our compass. A mother has the obligation of making the same choices for her baby as she would make to preserve her own life and health.

    • John on June 27, 2022 at 1:10 PM

      Yes, but not with the body of an unborn baby. That’s not the woman’s body; that is the child’s body.

  8. VN on October 8, 2021 at 10:13 AM

    In many late term pregnancies it is more dangerous to perform an abortion than deliver the baby by emergency c-section.

  9. Dawn on November 14, 2020 at 5:48 PM

    This happened in my family. My sister had a choice, in order for her survival she needed to be treated immediately, treating her immediately meant that her unborn baby would not survive and would die a slow and painful death. If she chose to wait until her baby was born to have her treatment, she would most likely die or have severe brain damage to where she’d be a vegetable, or she could induce labor and hope against all odds the baby survives it to live a quality life. She had 2 other children to consider in all this as well. HLI staff, what would have been your choice? Saying these decisions don’t ever happen is a lie.

    • HLI Staff on November 17, 2020 at 9:46 AM

      Dawn, Thank you for the question and the opportunity to explain. The article does not claim “hard cases” are non-existent. In those extremely rare cases when the mother’s life truly is threatened by pregnancy (such as with cancer of the uterus or ectopic pregnancy, etc.), she may undergo an operation whose purpose is to save her life, even though the preborn child dies as an indirect result of the procedure. This principle is known as the “double effect” and is sometimes misunderstood, even among Catholics. A fuller explanation of the principle can be found here: https://www.hli.org/resources/principle-double-effect/. The direct killing of a preborn child (abortion) is never permissible because the intent is to end his or her life; however, when a medical procedure necessary to save the life of the mother causes the unintentional death of the child, the action which causes both good and bad effects is morally permissible when all conditions of the principle of double effect are met.

    • Trina on June 25, 2022 at 12:41 PM

      What was her condition called? Or is this a completely fictional condition?

      • Michelle on July 13, 2022 at 11:36 AM

        Maybe it’s none of your business!
        I had an incomplete miscarriage, like so many pregnant people do. One of four pregnancies end in a miscarriage. I was bleeding at home alone, passing out continuously. Luckily I was finally able to make a phone call and my parents got me to a hospital. I got a D/C which saved my life. In my records, it states “abortion,” even though I most likely had already passed the embryo at home.

  10. Your organization is pure evil on October 12, 2020 at 4:51 PM

    As someone whose life was saved by terminating a planned pregnancy that my husband and I desperately wanted and cherished, I find your lies and propaganda horrific and criminal. I was lucky to have the best in medical care, many doctors across several medical specialities consult on my case, and the support of my church. Most women do not have that. Your “sources” are flimsy and the science twisted. I don’t know why I’m even commenting since organizations such as your only serve to control and scare women. There is a special place in hell reserved for anyone associated with this organization, be sure of that.

    • HLI Staff on October 16, 2020 at 1:10 PM

      Intentionally aborting the baby is never necessary to preserve the health of the mother. Should the mother or child be sick, they should be treated, and every effort should be made to save both people, mother and child. When a woman receives life-saving medical care which results in the sad and unintended death of her child in the womb, this is not abortion.

    • Trina on June 25, 2022 at 12:48 PM

      Why wouldn’t you say what your condition was that caused the “decision” to terminate “a planned pregnancy that my husband and I desperately wanted and cherished“?? And then you accuse and insult the writer? Please, for our enlightenment, what was the condition you had?

    • Michael on June 27, 2022 at 2:22 PM

      I think the special place in hell is reserved for those who murder the unborn out of convenience and cover their sin with lies about medical necessity and rape.

    • Mark on October 6, 2022 at 12:04 AM

      And there is certainly a horrible place in hell for anyone who advocates for the taking of the life of a child ” for such are the Kingdom of Heaven”.

  11. Toni on September 1, 2019 at 11:32 PM

    With a granddaughter who argues an abortion is performed ONLY if the baby has no chance for survival without a devastating disability or chronic illness. I agree 100% with your article. Thank you SO very much for revealing the real truth. With a young, liberal, opinionated woman, an argument isn’t beneficial, but I’m very thankful to read the truth!

  12. Cicely Kimball on July 21, 2019 at 11:46 PM

    This is not a proper medical assessment. This is a one-sided statement. If this article was true in any form the American Medical Association would not be suing the states that have banned abortion sighting the archaic law keeps doctors from properly giving women proper Medical Care and infringes on personal privacy between a doctor and their patient. This is an opinion piece.

    • HLI Staff on July 23, 2019 at 9:14 AM

      We are not a news organization, but one should also not assume the AMA is neutral. This author’s father was a physician who left the AMA after the AMA endorsed abortion. We would recommend a good YouTube interview by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, debating another abortionist. (Dr. Nathanson ceased doing abortion after thousands, when he saw a child aborted while watching the ultrasound. Ultrasound was new at that time.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxTsLwbSz2Y&t=2s

    • Michael on June 27, 2022 at 2:19 PM

      If true they would not sue? No one, including the AMA, sues unless they have truth on their side? DO you know how the tort system works?

  13. Cassy on July 8, 2019 at 12:02 AM

    Love the article!!!

    • HLI Staff on July 8, 2019 at 10:05 AM

      Thank you, Cassy!

    • Madison on July 30, 2020 at 5:25 AM

      To say that women have worse mental health (anxiety, depression, etc) when they get an abortion is not necessarily true. Sure it may happen for some, but causation does not equal correlation. This article cherry picks and is completely one sided about abortion. Nice try though

      • Norma on June 25, 2022 at 12:12 PM

        Only those who completely lack empathy would be unaffected by aborting a perfectly healthy child. These things have emotional consequences. We are not machines.

  14. Annoyed by Pro-Life on June 28, 2019 at 4:41 PM

    So, gonna ignore ectopic pregnancy?

    • HLI Staff on July 25, 2019 at 9:22 AM

      Not at all. Ectopic pregnancy is a specific scenario by which if the baby developed, both mother and baby would die. In these cases, action must obviously be taken. One course of action that is probably the best is a so-called Salpingectomy (cutting the tube on both sides around the embryo). The key is that the human life cannot be destroyed; if the baby dies when treating the mother it is not the intention or primary course of action. The Catholic Church has not stated explicitly which procedure is the one best used in such cases.

      • Marcy on August 11, 2020 at 8:56 PM

        What “church” are you talking about and what do they know about reproductive health? Wouldn’t it be better to preserve the tube to save the woman’s fertility? ectopic pregnancy is not the only reason an abortion is medically necessary by a long shot, you need to do your research.

        • Sheila D. on May 11, 2022 at 8:44 PM

          What church is my question as well. I found this article deliberately biased and misleading.

          • HLI Staff on May 13, 2022 at 2:25 PM

            Thanks for the question, Sheila. Church in the comment above refers to the Catholic Church. I’ve amended the comment to clarify.



        • HLI Staff on May 12, 2022 at 12:19 PM

          Marcy, “Church” refers to the Catholic Church (I have updated the comment above for clarity). The Church hasn’t specified the best medical procedure for ectopic pregnancy or any other life-saving medical procedure, but the principle is still the same: when deciding on the best course of action to follow when the life of the mother or preborn child is at stake, we must always want to save them both.

        • Michael on June 27, 2022 at 2:17 PM

          Marcy, how difficult would it have been to name one other reason? The fact that you did not name even one other reason seems to suggest that it was you who failed to do research. What is one other reason they missed that would require an abortion?

    • Okay on April 19, 2022 at 1:24 PM

      Is ectopic pregnancy just suddenly not a thing in your little fantasy world?

    • April on May 28, 2022 at 10:45 PM

      Ectopic pregnancies only occur in about 2% of all pregnancies. That is a very low number to use as an excuse for the untold millions of aborted babies. And just in case you want to use rape as well; only 5% of rapes result in a pregnancy (1996 study: no new data). And only 1% of abortions is due to rape. Again, that still leaves A LOT of abortions to account for. Using the minority of a statistic, in this case, ectopic and rape, is NO EXCUSE to kill all those other babies.

      This article and tables in it show what reasons are given for an abortion:
      https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pubs/psrh/full/3711005.pdf

      This table shows what reason abortions were done in Florida:

      In both, rape and medical reasons were a lot less than for the reason of convenience. What it comes down to is sexual responsibility.

      • Stacy on June 25, 2022 at 12:05 PM

        Thank you for putting this information out in such a professional and thorough way. You are doing good work for humanity! ❤️ In reading, I am confident I am passing on the correct information to my daughters that is unbiased and based in medical fact. Great job!

  15. Elisabeth on June 5, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    This is really good! I was always wondering if it was ok to prematurely deliver the baby and such, this really cleared up a lot of questions I had. Thank you!!!

  16. John Fehsenfeld on May 30, 2019 at 1:44 PM

    Good article!

    • HLI Staff on May 30, 2019 at 4:11 PM

      Thanks for your feedback!

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