In July of 1987, a mother nearly lost her life for her preborn child.
She was 30 weeks pregnant with her son and began to severely hemorrhage. She went quickly to the hospital and discovered that because of a rare condition called placenta percreta, a condition in which her placenta was aggressively growing through her uterus and into her bladder, her life was in grave danger.
Many will claim that late-term abortion should be allowed in cases like these, where the life or health of the mother is in jeopardy. But as many physicians have correctly pointed out, in the later stages of pregnancy, doctors do not order an abortion to save a mother’s life.
First of all, late-term abortion procedures take too long to perform, often multiple days, and if there is an immediate emergency, both child and mother would likely die before the abortion is even performed. Secondly, it’s unnecessary.
483 physicians have signed a declaration stating that abortion, the intentional ending of a child’s life in the womb, is never medically necessary to save the life of the mother. The statement reads:
I agree that there is never a situation in the law or in the ethical practice of medicine where a preborn child’s life need be intentionally destroyed by procured abortion for the purpose of saving the life of the mother. A physician must do everything possible to save the lives of both of his patients, mother and child. He must never intend the death of either.
Dr. Anthony Levantino, who has performed over 1,200 abortions in his career, explains that while there are tragic cases in which a baby in the womb loses his or her life as a result of treatment administered to a mother, there is no reason to intentionally end that child’s life.
In the rare instance when a mother’s life is in danger, a doctor should work to treat the mother and save the baby. Save the one or ones who can be saved, but do not intentionally end a baby’s life.
As Dr. Everett C. Koop, the former U.S. Surgeon General explains,
“When a woman is pregnant, her obstetrician takes on the care of two patients—the mother-to-be and the unborn baby. If, toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, he will take the child by inducing labor or performing a Caesarian section. His intention is still to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby will be premature. The baby is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”
And what Dr. Koop describes is precisely what doctors did in the case of that mother, whose life was threatened by her pregnancy. Her physicians recognized that her life was in immediate danger and made the best decision to save both her life and the life of her child.
This is precisely what doctors do in cases where the life of the mother is in danger.
In her case, the doctors rushed to perform an emergency C-section, they delivered her baby boy, and took him to the NICU where they began administering life-saving care. They administered life-saving care to the mother as well and worked desperately to save her life.
While in surgery, she flat-lined on the table because she had lost so much blood. But, the doctors were able to revive her and save her life.
They also saved the life of the baby boy who was born that day. Although premature, he was able to survive because of modern technology and because of the medical staff who cared for him.
Today, I consider that story and I am ever grateful because that mother was my mother.
And that baby boy was my younger brother.
Her story is the story of a strong and brave and sacrificial mother; a mother who fought to live despite being on the verge of death.
But it’s also a story about the value of life and how at all times we should go to great lengths to save every life, because life is valuable.
That child in her womb, who I had the privilege of growing up with and fight with and learning with, his life is valuable. And my mom, the one who gave so much of herself to bring her son into the world, who raised him and me, and who continues to be an incredible example of a Godly woman to me and others, her life is valuable.
On this Mother’s Day, mom, I want you to know that I see you as brave and strong and sacrificial and I’m grateful for your life. I am certain that your story was orchestrated by God and I pray that He continues to use it and your life to encourage other mothers to be strong and brave and sacrificial.
“Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay your life down for another person; for parents this means first and foremost our children.” –Sally Clarkson
Thank you mom for being a living example of this.