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Abortion to Save the Mother?
From the Forum: You ask, I answer.
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"I was recently chatting with a PL Christian who told me that NO abortions were okay, not even to save the mother's life. His justification for this was that apparently in the Bible, it says that giving one's life for another is the most wonderful gift in the world."
Spikey Girl
 
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Dateline: December 22, 2000

From a Christian perspective, is abortion okay to save the mother's life? So asks a poster in the Pro Life Forum.

Here's where we get to the difference between simple social justice and imposing one's religion on others.

The law can require us to refrain from killing, but it can not deprive us of life without due process, which requiring a woman to continue a life-threatening pregnancy would do. Although one's own religious faith might require one to sacrifce one's life for another, the law can not force this.

The best way to handle it legally is to attempt to protect both mother and fetus from being deprived of life without due process. Because of the emergency nature of most life-threatening pregnancies, the doctor would have to make a call that ending the pregnancy (and therefore, if the fetus is too young to survive, the life of the fetus), just as a policeman often must make the decion that a suspect has to be shot dead to protect the public.

The way to handle these emergencies isn't to grant broad judgment to doctors (or cops) to just kill people at their descretion; rather, it is to allow for the prosecutor to not pursue the case if it appears that the doctor (or cop) proceeded on good faith, believing that such a drastic measure as killing was necessary to protect the innocent life of the mother (or public).

A Christian mother would reflect on Biblical principles:

A Christian mother would demonstrate love for God and trust in God by doing everything in her power to save her child. She would not use abortion to reduce her own risk. Likewise, she would not shed innocent blood -- have the child directly killed. If ending the pregnancy became the only way to prevent both mother and child from dying, she might then consent to have the unborn child removed from her body. But she would not sign the unborn baby's death warrant. But these are the requirements Christian faith puts upon a woman. These are not principles that can be forced on unbelievers, or people of other faiths, who can not be expected to put faith and trust in Christ.

To require that the woman risk her life for the unborn child is no more just than to require that a man risk his life to save his child from a burning building. We would hope that parents would love their children that much, but we can not legally require anybody to die for somebody else.

This means that we can not prosecute the mother or doctor if abortion is resorted to as a desperate measure to save the mother's life. But it also means that we can't write a "life of the mother" exception into abortion law, because then we would be legally requiring the fetus to die to save the mother -- again, depriving someone of life without due process.

The brave mother who puts her life on the line for her child should be supported and admired, as we admire those who rush into a burning building to rescue trapped children. But we can't legally require it.

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