In April 2007 a woman died apparently because her ectopic pregnancy wasn’t treated due to abortion being illegal in Nicaragua. President Ortega has publicly stated that life-saving procedures are not prohibited by Nicaraguan law, however according to groups that want legal abortion, women are dying because doctors are refusing to treat them out of fear.
The death of Olga Reyes is an indictment on a health care system that refused to treat her. The whole object of pro-life law is to promote life and to ensure that no one is left to die or be actively killed. No matter where you stand on the spectrum of ethics around abortion Olga’s death was a tragedy and an outrage. An ectopic pregnancy is a terrible condition where there is no hope for the baby and the mother’s life is placed in danger.
Abortion is always wrong, that is it is always wrong to target another human being for death, but there are times when as a result of a medical procedure to save a mother’s life, her baby will die. It’s been said that pregnancy isn’t an illness, and that is true except in certain medical cases, such as ectopic pregnancy where the growth of the baby will cause the mother’s death. A pro-life position must be what it says, pro-life. The mother and the baby are both worthy of life, dignity and respect. I believe that women need options to make carrying a baby to term possible. That means ongoing support for vulnerable women and their children. How many abortions occur because women feel trapped by circumstance? Poverty, difficulty accessing education, healthcare and housing all contribute to a sense of dread where a baby seems to hard to cope with.
In my conversations with pro-life people I have found that they care deeply about women, yet a common trope is that pro-lifers only care about the foetus. I know for a fact that this isn’t true in New Zealand. I’ve seen the ongoing care that women with crisis pregnancies receive after their baby is born. Yet clearly the pro-life movement needs to do more to tell people what they are doing. When a woman dies and people can point to anti-abortion law as the cause of it it hurts women as well as babies. It’s a blight on the pro-life movement. Countries with pro-life law have to make sure that maternal healthcare is done right.
Those that want abortion available for women should also look to their side and reflect on shortcomings they find. Abortion is a medical procedure, and all medical procedures have side effects, however Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia, USA was a death trap for women. What this tells us is that irrelevant of your position on abortion, poor medical care has terrible consequences.
We can never do evil to achieve good and abortion is always wrong, but women must have access to medical care that will save their lives, just as those babies in the womb need care to keep them healthy and safe too.