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Switch to Forum Live View If at the time of childbirth......
2 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2012 - 6:09PM #1
woodzz
Posts: 2,065




Does a doctor’s opinion that allowing a pregnancy to go full term would be harmful to the health of the mother justify an abortion?


Medical opinions are sometimes wrong. Would it be right to kill a fellow human because that one might harm his fellowman? If at the time of childbirth a choice must be made between the life of the mother and that of the child, it is up to the individuals concerned to make that choice. However, advances in medical procedures in many lands have made this situation very rare.

The Awake of 9/8/87 p.28 has this in answer to a reader's question:


Birth or an Abortion?


Your extensive coverage of abortion missed one point: the effect of pregnancy on the health and life of the mother. (April 8, 1987) A deliberately induced abortion simply to prevent the birth of an unwanted child is a willful taking of human life. But how do you view a deliberately induced abortion to prevent the death or ill health of the mother? A. A., Nigeria


It cannot be right to take the life of an unborn child merely because allowing the pregnancy to go full term may possibly, or even probably, endanger the health of the mother. A potential danger is no justification for such drastic action. In many cases, doctors have warned a mother that to complete her pregnancy would endanger her health, but the outcome was a healthy baby and no lasting harm to the mother. Besides, what about the potential physical and emotional damage that may accrue to the mother because of an induced abortion? There might be a situation in which, at the time of childbirth, a choice has to be made between the life of the mother and that of the child. It would be up to the individuals concerned to make that choice. In many lands, however, advances in medical procedures have made this situation very rare.—ED

And the 11/1/11 wt p.6 has this:

6. Is it wrong to have an abortion?


Answer:  Life is sacred to God, and he views even an embryo as a distinct, living being. (Psalm 139:16) God stated that a person would be called to account for injuring an unborn child. So, in his eyes, killing an unborn child is murder.—Exodus 20:13; 21:22, 23.


What, though, if an emergency situation at the time of childbirth forces a couple to choose between letting the mother live and the baby die or vice versa? In that case, the couple would have to decide which life to try to save.

"There might be a situation...at the time of childbirth....."

This would have to mean that the child hasn't been born yet, is that correct?  Otherwise, if the child has already been born, why would there have to be a choice made between the mother and the baby?

Woodzz

Moderated by rangerken on Jun 13, 2012 - 09:31PM
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2012 - 9:33PM #2
rangerken
Posts: 16,407

This thread was moved from Discuss Jehovah's Witnesses

Libertarian, Conservative, Life member of the NRA and VFW
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2012 - 7:45AM #3
AnnOMaly
Posts: 3,198

"There might be a situation...at the time of childbirth....." 

This would have to mean that the child hasn't been born yet, is that correct?  Otherwise, if the child has already been born, why would there have to be a choice made between the mother and the baby?



I do see more where your question on the other forum was coming from. I still feel uncomfortable with putting a choice to save the life of the mother at the expense of the baby's when it is in the process of being born in the same category as abortion. To save the life of one means letting the other one die and expending all energies to save one - not necessarily killing the other one.


However, in searching the internet I came across this pro-life article that explores some of the ethical dilemmas. One situation where a mother (or doctor) would be forced to end the baby's life to save the mother while in childbirth is as follows:


Prior to the turn of the twentieth century, one type of dystocia (any case of abnormal or difficult labor) – when the baby’s head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis – presented pregnant women in developed countries with an agonizing choice to save her child (by undergoing a dangerous and probably lethal Caesarean Section) or to save her own life (by undergoing a craniotomy operation that crushed the baby’s skull). Even today, this choice may still be presented to some women in developing countries where C-sections are not routine. Although some dispute whether craniotomy is truly necessary, let’s assume it is for the sake of the argument. What if there truly was a case where we could save either mother or child, but where one must die to save the other. See the separate article entitled What If You Must Choose Between Fetus and Mother? for a pro-life response to this question. [underlining mine]


Unfortunately, the separate article referred to cannot be located. Still, I wonder if the above scenario is what the WTS had in mind when they said:


There might be a situation in which, at the time of childbirth, a choice has to be made between the life of the mother and that of the child. It would be up to the individuals concerned to make that choice. In many lands, however, advances in medical procedures have made this situation very rare.


Nevertheless, I still question whether such a choice made in childbirth can be categorized as the same as an abortion. Perhaps technically it is (like an unintended miscarriage is medically known as a 'spontaneous abortion')? But the word 'abortion' generally conjures up the idea of a deliberate termination of a pre-term fetus still growing in the womb, rather than one undergoing a difficult and life-threatening delivery. 

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2012 - 11:17AM #4
woodzz
Posts: 2,065

Jun 14, 2012 -- 7:45AM, AnnOMaly wrote:


"There might be a situation...at the time of childbirth....." 

This would have to mean that the child hasn't been born yet, is that correct?  Otherwise, if the child has already been born, why would there have to be a choice made between the mother and the baby?



I do see more where your question on the other forum was coming from. I still feel uncomfortable with putting a choice to save the life of the mother at the expense of the baby's when it is in the process of being born in the same category as abortion. To save the life of one means letting the other one die and expending all energies to save one - not necessarily killing the other one.


However, in searching the internet I came across this pro-life article that explores some of the ethical dilemmas. One situation where a mother (or doctor) would be forced to end the baby's life to save the mother while in childbirth is as follows:


Prior to the turn of the twentieth century, one type of dystocia (any case of abnormal or difficult labor) – when the baby’s head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis – presented pregnant women in developed countries with an agonizing choice to save her child (by undergoing a dangerous and probably lethal Caesarean Section) or to save her own life (by undergoing a craniotomy operation that crushed the baby’s skull). Even today, this choice may still be presented to some women in developing countries where C-sections are not routine. Although some dispute whether craniotomy is truly necessary, let’s assume it is for the sake of the argument. What if there truly was a case where we could save either mother or child, but where one must die to save the other. See the separate article entitled What If You Must Choose Between Fetus and Mother? for a pro-life response to this question. [underlining mine]


Unfortunately, the separate article referred to cannot be located. Still, I wonder if the above scenario is what the WTS had in mind when they said:


There might be a situation in which, at the time of childbirth, a choice has to be made between the life of the mother and that of the child. It would be up to the individuals concerned to make that choice. In many lands, however, advances in medical procedures have made this situation very rare.


Nevertheless, I still question whether such a choice made in childbirth can be categorized as the same as an abortion. Perhaps technically it is (like an unintended miscarriage is medically known as a 'spontaneous abortion')? But the word 'abortion' generally conjures up the idea of a deliberate termination of a pre-term fetus still growing in the womb, rather than one undergoing a difficult and life-threatening delivery. 





Thanks for your reply, Ann.  I did try to discuss this on the JW forum as you had suggested but I guess it still looked too much like an abortion debate rather than a JW question.


The craniotomy operation was the only situation that came to my mind that would be "at the time of childbirth," and, yes, I see that it doesn't have to be called an abortion; however, it is still taking the life of an unborn child.  I suppose if abortion is considered murder, then a craniotomy operation could be seen as self-defense.  A c-section would no doubt save both mother and child, but that may not be possible in all countries.  However, a craniotomy is not the same as "letting" one or the other die, is it, as in the quote: "What, though, if an emergency situation at the time of childbirth forces a couple to choose between letting the mother live and the baby die or vice versa? In that case, the couple would have to decide which life to try to save."  Or am I reading that wrong?


Woodzz

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 23, 2012 - 4:51AM #5
bluehorserunning
Posts: 1,754

If another person is threatening me with death or serious bodily harm, I have the right to defend myself with force or even violence.  That simple fact does not change when the threatening person is inside my body. 

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