It Is Never Necessary to Intentionally Kill a Fetal Human Being to Save a Woman’s Life: In Support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Abortion, Politics

February 17, 2019

By Donna Harrison, M.D., Michelle Cretella, M.D., John Schirger, M.D., David Stevens, M.D. and Jane Orient, M.D.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act provides a scientifically sound, medically accurate, and respectful approach to ensure that the innocent human being who survives an attempted abortion will be treated with the same human dignity and respect that similarly aged human beings receive in the course of good neonatal medical care. It also ensures that human beings with disabilities are not targeted for intentional killing at the moment of birth.

As medical professional organizations and individuals representing over 30,000 physicians who practice according to the Hippocratic Oath, we write in support of S. 311, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Medical facts are important.

Fact 1: It is an undisputed scientific fact that a distinct, living human being exists in the womb of a pregnant mother.

From the moment of fertilization, a human being meets all of the scientific criteria for a living organism [1] and is completely distinct from her/his mother, not a part of her/his mother’s body. This is scientific fact. It is therefore scientifically correct for S. 311 to identify the living survivors of abortions as human persons and afford those human beings the full protection of the law in the same way that infants of similar gestational ages are currently protected.

Fact 2: Abortion is not healthcare, much less an essential part of women’s health care, and abortions in the third trimester are not done to save a woman’s life. [2]

The fact that over 85 percent of OB-GYNs in a representative national survey do not perform abortions on their patients [3] is glaring evidence that abortion is not an essential part of women’s healthcare. The vast majority of abortions are done by abortion providers who do not provide any other kind of medical care for the woman. Abortion treats no disease. Pregnancy is not a disease, and deliberately killing the unborn child by abortion is not healthcare.

It is clear from testimony by abortion practitioners during the Partial Birth Abortion Ban hearings [4] that, unlike a delivery, which separates the mother and her fetus for the purpose of life, an abortion separates the mother and the fetus with the purpose of guaranteeing that the baby is born dead. That’s why a fetus who survives an abortion is called a “failed abortion.” The separation did not fail to occur. What “failed” to occur in a “failed abortion” is the guarantee of a dead baby.

There are rare circumstances in which a mother’s life is in jeopardy due to either pre-existing conditions or pregnancy complications. It is extremely rare for this to occur prior to the point of viability (currently 22 weeks after last menstrual period, 20 weeks after fertilization). After 20 weeks fertilization age, it is never necessary to intentionally kill the fetal human being in order to save a woman’s life. [5] In cases where the mother’s life actually is in danger in the latter half of pregnancy, there is not time for an abortion, because an abortion typically is a two to three-day process. Instead, immediate delivery is needed in these situations, and can be done in a medically appropriate way (labor induction or C-section) by the woman’s own physician. We can, and do, save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant in a hospital where both the mother and her newborn can receive the care that they need. There is no medical reason to intentionally kill that fetal human being through an inhumane abortion procedure, e.g. dismembering a living human being capable of feeling pain [6] [7] [8], or saline induction which burns off the skin, or feticide with subsequent induction.

In cases where the mother’s life actually is in danger in the latter half of pregnancy, there is not time for an abortion… We can, and do, save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant in a hospital where both the mother and her newborn can receive the care that they need. There is no medical reason to intentionally kill that fetal human being.

Obstetricians who abide by the Hippocratic oath strive, to the best of our ability, to save both lives when at all possible. There are two patients under our care. We never intentionally target the unborn child during the separation procedure in order to guarantee that the baby is born dead.

Fact 3: No matter the circumstances of their birth, infants who are born alive must be given appropriate medical care.

Any infant who is born alive, at any stage of development, is a person entitled to the protections of the law and appropriate care as a new patient. There is no scientific or legal reason to distinguish between human beings born after an attempted abortion and human beings born after attempted live birth. A distressed newborn should get immediate emergency care and a professional evaluation to determine appropriate steps to promote his/her health and well-being. Obviously, a distressed newly born baby presents for emergency medical care at the moment of her or his birth, regardless of whether that birth results from an abortion attempt or attempted live delivery. EMTALA mandates hospitals to examine and treat any person who presents for emergency medical care.

S.311 provides a scientifically sound, medically accurate, and respectful approach to ensure that the innocent human being who survives an attempted abortion will be treated with the same human dignity and respect that similarly aged human beings receive in the course of good neonatal medical care. S. 311 ensures that human beings with disabilities are not targeted for intentional killing at the moment of birth.

Full article, signatories and end notes at: https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/02/49619/