Expanding ‘life of the mother’ exceptions latest twists for pro-choice crowd

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I just donated to the March of Dimes, the iconic initiative aimed at promoting the health of children and pregnant, women at a time many women are fighting for the right not to be pregnant.

Two events captured women’s attention over the past week: the battle over the abortion pill and Florida’s recently enacted abortion ban.

I know people of goodwill have different opinions on both of these issues, although the only voices I hear supporting the pill and opposing the Florida ban are strident, ill-tempered and self-centered.

There is no talk about babies or their welfare. It is all, and only, about the rights of women.

How did we get to a point where concern for children and a desire to assist women who want to bring healthy children into the world has been replaced by a desire to appease the anger of those who have a proprietary sense of their reproductive organs?

I’ve been writing about abortion long enough to know that I’m not going to be changing any hearts and minds.

If the horrific truths of Kermit Gosnell, the butcher of West Philadelphia who was known to plunge scissors into the skulls of fetuses that had just been pulled from the mothers’ wombs didn’t convince people that abortion is a barbaric act, a loud-mouthed Catholic columnist with no children of her own won’t come close.

But I do think it’s important to examine exactly what will satisfy these victims of circumstance.

Every single abortion ban at the state level has an exception for the life of the mother. Some have an exception for the health of the mother. A few more have exceptions for rape and incest.

But for most of the proponents of abortion rights, this isn’t enough.

The “life of the mother” exception has been attacked in many jurisdictions because it wouldn’t allow a woman suffering from a nervous breakdown or other forms of mental crisis to seek an abortion to “save her life.”

An AP article from in November highlighted the so-called dilemma that pregnant women faced when they couldn’t get an abortion and there was no discernible physical threat to their lives.

The thing that struck me was the idea that someone’s temporary mental crisis could justify the permanent termination of a pregnancy, instead of providing psychiatric services to the afflicted person.

The easy fix of getting rid of the baby is an example that in this society, we have simply abandoned the most compassionate and common-sense solutions for the easiest ones.

Some have suggested that a woman who is suicidal because she doesn’t want to be pregnant deserves an abortion.

We are not talking about pre-eclampsia, a ruptured uterus, cancer, organ failure, or a possible stroke. We are talking about a woman who says she would prefer to die than give birth.

That is not what the “life of the mother” exception was designed to advance.

I argued this point with a rabbi on a radio show I once hosted, and he tried to use religion against me.

He thought that my opposition to suicide and abortion was motivated by my Catholic faith, and tried to make it appear — as they always do — that I was imposing my religion on someone else.

When I asked him if his own views were motivated by his Jewish faith, he seemed offended and rigorously denied that this was the case. He said that his position rose out of his belief that women had the right to save their own lives in any way they believed necessary.

When I asked him if he would at the very least require the woman who threatened suicide to undergo rigorous examination and documentation from at least two psychiatrists that she would commit suicide if she could not have the abortion, he demurred.

“We have no right to force a woman to prove her state of mind,” he said.

And when I asked him if a doctor needed to provide proof of a medical threat to the mother’s life, or was it OK to just “trust the woman” he said I was making an unscientific argument.

So I went from being a religious zealot to a science illiterate.

But without meaning to, he did answer my most fundamental question: Will there ever be enough exceptions for women who think that they have dominion over life and death?

That answer, clearly, is no.

I think I’m going to unseal that envelope to the March of Dimes and put in a few more dollars. It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness.

Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

Christine Flowers is a Philadelphian who loves the Eagles but can leave the cheesesteaks. She writes about anything that will likely annoy the majority of people, and in her spare time practices immigration law (which is bound to annoy at least some people.)