How Roe warped doctors’ views of health care

Pro-abortion activists firebombed and vandalized a pregnancy center in Gresham, Oregon, in June 2022. (Twitter / Lila Rose)

Pro-abortion activists firebombed and vandalized a pregnancy center in Gresham, Oregon, in June 2022. (Twitter / Lila Rose)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

By Nancy Flanders
Live Action News

The era of Roe v. Wade lasted nearly 50 years, and during each one of those years, thousands of people became doctors in the United States, each of them trained while abortion was treated as an unassailable “right.” Now that Roe has fallen and pro-life laws have gone into effect in numerous states, some doctors have begun falsely claiming that pregnant women’s lives are on the line without easy access to abortion.

But is this true? And what impact has legalized abortion had on the idea of true health care in the United States?

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The lie that abortion is health care

Dr. Whitney Driver, an OB/GYN with the pro-abortion Lakeside Doctors Gynecology & Obstetrics practice in Ohio, told Fox 25 that pro-life laws, even those that allow abortion to save the life of the mother, are dangerous. Lakeside advocates for abortion-friendly laws on its social media platforms.

“To the lay person, they say to save the mother’s life, that seems very clear. But it is not at all clear to a doctor. When someone is actively dying really isn’t until they’re getting CPR,” Driver claimed. “I don’t think any of us want to be in the position that we’re that near death before your doctor feels like they can safety act.” (emphasis added)

Ending a pregnancy, however, is not the equivalent of committing an induced abortion. A pregnancy comes to a natural end with the delivery of a child. In an emergency or critical situation, doctors can perform procedures to deliver that baby alive and attempt to save both lives. In such a case, the pregnancy was ended but the child was not intentionally killed. No doctor is expected to wait until a patient is seconds from death before working to save her — and delivering her child prematurely while attempting to save both lives is not an abortion.

The only procedures prohibited by pro-life laws are the ones that involve intentionally killing the child before delivery.

Doctors are neglecting patients

According to HealthGrades, Driver has 15 years of medical experience. She received her training under the reign of Roe. Still, she has likely witnessed or performed emergency c-sections or preterm deliveries. But Driver is just one example of a pro-abortion doctor who treats abortion as a tool of health care and seems unable (or unwilling) to practice proper, ethical medical care that treats both patients — mother and child.

When a medical issue arises in pregnancy, the (false) solution that such doctors propose is to purposefully kill the preborn child. After 50 years of pro-abortion propaganda, it’s unsurprising but still dangerous, cruel, and unethical.

People Magazine reported on the story of Amanda Zurawski, who said she “was dilating prematurely due to an incompetent cervix” and was told that “miscarriage was inevitable.” Her doctors erroneously claimed there was nothing they could do and they waited until she was suffering a dangerous sepsis infection before performing a “premature delivery” — a completely legal medical procedure, not an induced abortion. This was medical negligence and showed a complete lack of compassion or concern for her life and the life of her preborn daughter.

Dr. Christina Francis, board member and CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, explained to Live Action News:

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As an OB/GYN, I have taken care of many women with cervical insufficiency. It can be a heartbreaking situation and my heart goes out to this couple. While many details about this particular patient’s clinical situation are missing, elective abortion is not a treatment for cervical insufficiency.

Many times, if infection is ruled out, women can be treated with a stitch, called a cerclage, which is placed in her cervix to hold the unborn baby in until he or she can survive outside the mother. An attentive physician should be able to detect signs of infection early and, if present, provide the appropriate treatment – which would be induction of labor. This treatment is not prevented by any abortion restriction in the country.

In Tennessee, an OB/GYN and abortionist claimed she sent a woman on a six-hour ambulance ride to North Carolina for an abortion to save her life because of Tennessee’s pro-life law. Leilah Zahedi-Spung, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and abortionist, said the patient was pregnant with a baby who had abnormalities, and that the woman might have pre-eclampsia. But Tennessee actually allows abortion to save a mother’s life — though the intent of an induced abortion is to end a life and is not medically necessary; a pre-term delivery without intent to kill would be legal in such a situation — but despite this allowance in the law, Zahedi-Spung sent the woman six hours away. By the time the woman arrived, she had dangerously high blood pressure and failing kidneys.

“She kept asking if she was going to die,” Zahedi-Spung said. “I kept saying, ‘I’m trying, I’m trying, we’re going to make it happen. We just need to get you to the right place where you can be taken care of.’”

If this story is true, Zahedi-Spung has failed to understand the difference between life-saving emergency care and intentionally causing the death of a child through induced abortion. Zahedi-Spung should have known better — so why didn’t she? Did her medical training fail her? Was she taught to accept abortion as the standard go-to in such a situation instead of providing actual, life-saving care?

Christina Zielke was suffering a miscarriage — bleeding profusely and passing large blood clots — when a hospital in Ohio sent her home, blaming a pro-life law that was actually on hold at the time. “They said they needed to prove there was no fetal development,” she told NPR. “I was told that I could come back in two days for a repeat hormone test to confirm I was miscarrying.” Ohio Right to Life filed a complaint with the state’s medical board in order to hold the negligent medical providers in this case accountable.

“The lack of proper health care this woman experienced is appalling and should upset every Ohioan,” Director of Communications Elizabeth Whitmarsh said in a statement. “Any woman who experiences a miscarriage should be treated with urgency and competency, not apathy. Based on the reporting by NPR, the hospital nonchalantly checked her vitals, saw that she had been profusely bleeding for hours with no signs of stopping, and still found it reasonable to discharge her. This is wholly unacceptable and does not meet Ohio’s standards of care.”

Dr. Christina Francis explained in the video above that “treating ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages or other life-threatening conditions in pregnancy is not the same thing as an [induced] abortion.” She continued that it is “because the only intent of an [induced] abortion is to produce a dead baby.”

Maternal mortality rate and abortion

In 1971 and 1972, prior to Roe, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the United States was 18.8 per 100,00 live births — meaning that for every 100,000 live births, 18.8 women died. It was in 1973 that Roe was handed down, and since then, the MMR has only risen. In 2020, the MMR reached 23.8 — five more women were dying during pregnancy, or in the months following pregnancy, than had been 47 years prior. There are more pregnancy-related deaths today than before Roe.

While legalizing abortion may or may not be the cause of the rising MMR (deaths from abortion are included in the numbers), it clearly did nothing to lower it. The Washington Post fact checker has even stepped in more than once to say that there is no proof that pro-life laws worsen maternal mortality. And, in fact, a 10-year study in Mexico revealed that maternal mortality rates were lower in states with more protective pro-life laws.

Despite the fall of Roe, some hospitals still train medical students on how to commit abortions, and those students will become doctors who erroneously believe abortion is necessary health care. But there will also be new, pro-life doctors rising up who will be able to practice life-affirming care. Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, has signed a collaboration agreement with Catholic Healthcare International to host the St. Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering, School of Osteopathic Medicine. This pro-life school of medicine is one pillar of a plan to bring St. Padre Pio’s model for medical care to the United States with the goal of upholding the dignity of all human life.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

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