Monday, January 24, 2022

Ignoring Women's Health? A Pro-Life Response

The other day, I posted a short piece by Patrick Kelly from the Knights of Columbus that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The piece was timed to coincide with weekend Roe v. Wade commemorations, and it celebrated the magnificent contributions pregnancy resource centers have made toward promoting life and supporting pregnant women over the years – a compassionate, charitable work that predates the 1973 Supreme Court decision. 

In my public post, I included the following pull-quote from Kelly's article regarding the centers: 

The Guttmacher Institute...complains they are “typically staffed by volunteers and employees who lack medical training and licensure.” It’s a strange criticism from those for whom a “successful” medical procedure always ends in the death of a human being.

In response, a friend of mine made this (public) comment:

Of course, WSJ ignores the health of the women with that crack. I guess for them being pro life really does stop at birth - at which point they are pro chaos.

Here's what I wrote in reply.

Hey, friend. Normally I wouldn't respond to comments I find offensive, but this one, really, is beyond the pale. 

To begin with, the article is by Patrick Kelly from the Knights of Columbus, not the WSJ editorial board. That's important because the K of C are directly and extensively involved in supporting and underwriting the good efforts of crisis pregnancy centers across the country (and around the world, I think). I'm a proud member of the Knights and happy to be associated with their charitable efforts.  

Second, and more importantly, if you actually spoke with anyone who was thoroughly pro-life or familiarized yourself with their work, you'd know that it's frankly silly to accuse them of ignoring women's health. "The people who work at these centers serve the whole person—medically, financially, emotionally and spiritually," Kelly writes in his piece. "That’s something no abortion clinic can do, and it helps explain why their numbers are dwindling while the number of pregnancy resource centers grows." By working tirelessly to provide pregnant moms with what they need to continue their pregnancies and care for their babies after delivery, crisis pregnancy centers are most definitely committed to maternal health as well as defending preborn life. 

Still, I'm willing to grant you the benefit of the doubt, and I'm guessing your comment is related to the myth that abortion is sometimes required to preserve a woman's health. That's a false notion that's rooted in a shortsighted ethical perspective. Consider this statement from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
When extreme medical emergencies that threaten the life of the mother arise..., AAPLOG believes in "treatment to save the mother’s life," including premature delivery if that is indicated — obviously with the patient’s informed consent. This is NOT "abortion to save the mother’s life." We are treating two patients, the mother and the baby, and every reasonable attempt to save the baby’s life would also be a part of our medical intervention. We acknowledge that, in some such instances, the baby would be too premature to survive.
Anyway, maybe that sounds like so much sophistry and ethical mumbo-jumbo, but you can hardly accuse those who embrace that stance of "ignoring" women's health. Pro-life people are just that: Pro-life. The baby's life. The mom's life. The life of the elderly, the infirm, the brain-injured. The poor, the marginalized, the incarcerated, the immigrant. "I have set before you life and death," God tells the Israelites, "therefore choose life" (Deut. 30.19). It's a command that pro-life folks (like me) try to embody and promote every day. Sometimes we do it well; sometimes not. Even so, we're always striving to foster a world in which killing is never required to solve problems. Never. 

So, please talk to some pro-life people. Hell, talk to me. I'll be happy to tell you how I see all this stuff. But, please, friend, don't accuse me and those who think like me of ignoring women's health just because we are opposed to killing babies in the womb. That's just foolishness.

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