What about abortion to save the mother’s life?
22 February 2005
I did various searches on your web site, but wasn’t able to find the reasoning for the statement ‘…it is wrong to take this life exept where the mother’s actual life is in danger’ found in ‘Antidote to abortion arguments’, by Dr Jonathan Sarfati. Is this [CMI’s] position? If it is, doesn’t it also follow that it is right to remove Dr Sarfati’s heart to replace my diseased one. Does God approve of forcing one person to die for another. I am at a loss to explain this exception to the wonderful anti-abortion material on your site. What Have I missed?
The book that I reviewed in the article in question, Politically Correct Death, agrees that life of the mother is the only exception. But at least this is a genuine life-for-life issue, and could be called an act of genuine self-defence. And even here the intention is to save the life of the mother by removing the unborn from a place like the fallopian tube where it would inevitably cause death to both mother and baby. And the death of the unborn is deemed not to be wrong because of the Principle of Double Effect. That is, if a contemplated action has both good and bad effects, then is permissible only if it is not wrong in itself and if it does not require that one directly intend the bad result.
In the case of removing an ectopic pregnancy, the death is an accidental and not an intended consequence of the act to save the mother. Knowledge of consequences that will result from commiting an action is not the same as intending those consequences. But if they had the technology to save this child outside the womb, they should do so, and this has been done with emergency c-section plus incubation.
Conversely, the whole intent of abortion is to produce a dead baby, and this is graphically illustrated in the gruesome ‘partial birth abortion’. And this is done not to save the mother’s life, and in fact there is no psychiatric evidence that abortion improves the mother’s mental health, even. Rather, it’s often to allow the woman to have her skiing holiday, fit into her prom dress, finish her university course, etc.
Murdering me to harvest my heart to replace your heart is completely different from the removal of a fallopian pregnancy. My death could not be regarded as merely an accidental consequence of this act, because this very act (murder) is itself a means to the end of replacing your heart, not just an unintended consequence.
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.
CMI – Brisbane, Australia
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