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Abortions vs miscarriages

Published: 17 March 2013 (GMT+10)

Some pro-abortionists think that since there is not as much overt campaigning against miscarriages as there is against abortion it invalidates the pro-lifer’s claim to care about the well-being of unborn babies. Is this right? Cory D. from the United States writes:


A friend of mine sent an article in support of abortion [Ed.—Link removed as per feedback rules]. I believe the biblical concepts that life begins at conception and that taking an innocent human life is wrong; therefore I think it follows that Christians need to oppose abortion.

However, this article brought up an argument I’ve never faced before. It claims that if the reason someone opposes abortion is to save the lives of unborn babies, there should be more of an effort to save the unborn babies who die naturally. It concludes that because the attention given to abortions far outweighs that given to miscarriages, opponents of abortion are being inconsistent.

I found this to be the most difficult argument to refute. Should there be 5k’s for miscarried babies like the author suggested? I would appreciate any help you can provide.



CMI’s Lita Cosner responds:

Dear Cory,

I always find it interesting that people use other dying babies as an argument against the pro-life position: “Well, these babies die, so why do you care about this other group of babies that are being brutally killed?” I can’t speak for all pro-lifers, but I care about premature babies, small victims of child abuse, women in desperate situations who may be unable to care for another child without help, and all the other groups that are used to try to make pro-lifers feel guilty about speaking out against murdering babies in the womb.

Many miscarriages result because something went wrong in fertilization, or there was some error in the developmental process which means that the baby could never have made it to term. There are instances now where in utero surgery can help the baby survive, and pro-lifers would fully support such measures. We also support the development of technology to help save the lives of babies born earlier and earlier; I think when smaller and smaller babies are being saved thanks to advances in their care, that’s a win for everyone. If the goal is to save as many babies as possible with medical advances, putting funding into refining in utero surgery and premature neonatal care would be the way to go, given that so many miscarriages are impossible to prevent (but of course preventing miscarriages, where possible, is great too—it’s not an either-or thing). But the babies that are killed by abortion are usually healthy and need no extraordinary medical care to make it to term; they just need to be allowed to develop in their mothers’ wombs. Seeking to prevent people killing them, people who are acting with deliberate intent to end their lives, is obviously and categorically different from the medical/biological things that happen in this fallen world. If I lived in the Jim Crow South last century, would it be wrong for me to speak up about black men being lynched and civil rights workers being attacked and killed, because other people die from drowning in swimming pools? That’s how ridiculous this argument sounds to me, to be honest.

I consider myself holistically pro-life; I support anything that will help women make the decisions that keep them from having the ‘unwanted pregnancy’ in the first place (and if part of that equation is, ‘Don’t sleep around with men you barely know’, is that such a terrible thing? Women are rarely empowered in such circumstances), pregnancy centers that provide resources for low-income and other at-risk women to provide alternatives to abortion, and programs that help women take care of their babies, or put them up for adoption if that’s their choice. But the pro-life issue revolves around abortion for a reason—it is the single biggest threat to the baby in the womb.


Lita Cosner

Helpful Resources

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Readers’ comments

Murray H.
Hi Lita, Great article. God is pleased that you are speaking out for the innocent unborn and pregnant women.
Hans G.
When I grew up (now I am 69), my attitude towards finding a girl and get involved with her was: could I marry her, could I live with her for the rest of my life? This war my condition to sleep with a girl; so there was NO question about an unwanted baby. And than I found the right one and we both were virgins, we married with her 3 month pregnant.
Don't those stupid people, male and female, know that sex produces offspring? Stupid like selfish, ignorant, irresponsible, don't care, it's my life (??), I do what I want, having fun etc.etc. And then others should pick up the responsibility and care when it went wrong....
If you are having sex, coupe with the consequences and don't let others suffer for your fun!
Somebody for human dignity?....somebody....?
Rachel P.
The article has a good point, however, my mother also thinks that abortion is okay if the child is the product of a rape, which happens, but I disagree, since that is murdering an innocent party. I must also point out that the only case for an abortion is when the mother is in danger a la ectopic pregnancy. No mother, no baby, that's the only policy I have, anything less gets confusing and terrifying and ugly, not to mention is a demonstration of the abuse of medical power and risks the mother's health because the body is not designed for abortion, but for delivering the baby to term.
John K.
My wife and I lost our first child to miscarriage.
This was over 22 years ago, and it stands in my mind as though it was yesterday.
I came home from work to a wife and my sister-n-law, and it was like my heart was torn out.
To suggest that something could have been done, when my wife woke up feeling something was wrong, and I wont go into details, but when she got to the hospital, it was over. Nothing could have been done, and believe me, it was NOT what either of us had desired.
In the medical fields, the terms may have the same meaning, but to those who have been through one (or the other) the meanings of abortion and miscarriage are diametrically opposed.
Thanks to Lita for understanding this quite significant difference.
The heart may get scarred, but the Lord is so kind and loving, and cares for each of us so deeply, I asked many times why, but received two beautiful children the Lord entrusted to me and my wife instead.
We both will meet our "God's child" when we make our way to our final home.

God Bless the CMI ministry, and all the associates working to bring the truth of God's word to an aching world.
John K.
Steven G.
The argument is an ad hominem attack. It tries to imply Pro-Lifers don't really care about unborn children.

"because the attention given to abortions far outweighs that given to miscarriages, opponents of abortion are being inconsistent" doesn't logically follow either. The economic scarcity of attention means it is put to better use fighting an intentional act, no one is obstructing neonatal research.
Joseph M.
The difference between abortion and miscarriage starts with purposeful thought. Jesus said

Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

No one purposely thinks to have a miscarriage but a person purposelessly thinks to end an innocent life when aborting a child.

It's not just the condemnation of the action of abortion, but the condemnation of the things which led up to the act, which is the thought of ending an innocent life.
Grahame G.
This seems a strange argument to make (as Lita points out) since medicine and science do seek to prevent miscarriages.

And Christians are strongly in favour of this.

I'm really having trouble following the point being made.

Also, as far as I'm aware, the number of intentional abortions is far greater than the number of miscarriages, so the two cannot be compared so neatly and any pro-lifer is (on average) going to spend far more time and effort on opposing medically-induced abortions than on miscarriages - and logically so by the questioner's own (stated) standards of right and wrong.
Renee A.
I agree with everything Lita has written but would go further by saying that control is the fundmental difference between miscarriage and abortion and the reason that the two can never be compared. (Not reading the pro choice article I can only assume that the outcome of abortion and miscarriage is being compared).
Having miscarried three times; I had no control over it. If I did, I would not have chosen to lose three precious children.
A woman who has an abortion willingly submits herself to the removal of her child. A woman who suffers a miscarriage does not willingly submit herself to the childs removal from her body. The willing submission and consent is the defining line between miscarriage and abortion.
In my first two miscarriages I saw the Dr's as the enemy, and fought them on my second even though the I was dying as result of the miscarriage. I know many women who have felt the same as they have undergone the procedure necessary to save and protect their lives as result of miscarriage. We never consented to the loss of our children, the choice was taken away from us as we felt the pain of what it means to live in a fallen world.
A pro-choice advocate would not want use that argument with me or any mother who has miscarried because of the choice or lack of choice in the given situation.
Miscarriage is nothing to be a shamed about; we did nothing wrong, we live in a fallen world were death seems rule but we know Jesus saves and heals our broken hearts.
Thanks Lita for courage to write this and for your sensitivity towards miscarriage. If only more people were willing to tell it as it is when it comes to these issues and the inherent difference between them - choice vs no choice.
Pauline T.
Lita, thank you for your clear stand on LIFE.
Just a thought about "letting babies die naturally" being contradictory to opposing abortion - since God created humans, and it is therefore HIS right to begin AND end our lives (in view of Him knowing the end from the beginning) surely the 'natural death' of an in-utero baby is actually in the hands of the living God whether humans have interfered or not? But deliberate killing of in-utero babies - definitely murder by human hands, as is ANY deliberate taking of any human life.
Oh - and if earlier and earlier babies can be "saved" then aren't they proof that the stuff in the uterus that is growing, is a baby, and not just foetal tissue of no identity or value?
Phyllis D.
The accusation that more attention is given to abortion than miscarriage is an absurd fabrication masquerading as an argument. What rubbish! Just how is that measured?! The writer referred to either knows nothing of the whole sub-specialty of high-risk pregnancy care and of all the effort and resources poured into helping at-risk women carry their babies to term, or is merely prefers to make up wild, baseless accusations. Phyllis D., RN
A. R.
I'm pro life, and I appreciate this website, but I take issue with statements such as "abortion vs. miscarriage" That is like saying "car vs. chevrolet" A miscarriage is simply one type of abortion! One way to think of the word abortion is to use the word "terminate." An abortion can happen with or without the "choice" of the parents. An elective abortion is one thing, and a miscarriage is another. But they both are medically known as different types of abortion. Using incorrect terminology makes us look bad, and even the title of this article is incorrect. Its fine to compare ELECTIVE abortion with miscarriage, but please be clear. I work in the healthcare field and its quite confusing to compare terms incorrectly this way. I would hope that this article would be edited to use correct terminology. Thank you.
Lita Cosner
I understand that in the medical field, a miscarriage is a type of abortion. But for a layperson today, 'abortion' usually refers to intentionally ending a pregnancy through a pill or a surgery. So few laypeople would be confused by the terminology. And you as a health care professional were able to understand what I was getting at, so respectfully, I don't see where it is unclear or confusing.
Barton W.
You said, "Don’t sleep around with men you barely know’". I will take it a few steps further and say you shouldn't sleep with any man unless you are married to him.
Lita Cosner
Of course, that is the biblical response (and the one I agree with!). My wording was for rhetorical purposes.
A. H.
I wonder if the argument can be applied in a different area to bring out its weakness. People who opposed the atlantic slave trade did not oppose the mediterranean and european slave trade in the same way.Because the british empire was involved in the first but not the second, political action was employed effectively only against the first. The rhetoric 'Am I not a man and a brother?' would plainly not be a question of interest if your actual brother had been carted of by barbary pirates.
Now would it be sensible to complain that people who opposed the atlantic slave trade were wrong because they did not spend their energy arguing against the white slave trade in the same way?
There was no controversy about the white slave trade only lack of the military might to effectively control it for a long time.
No-one opposes the prevention of miscarriages though that does require funding and dealing with some other problem(e.g.AIDS)may have more political clout in the competition for limited resources.
Our time and attention needs to be husbanded and it is notoriously difficult to manage this in an optimal way.The argument that you should do nothing until you can do it in an optimally consistent way is a recipe for inaction not for optimally effective action.
Matthew J. R.
I wholeheartedly agree with Lita on this issue. This argument put forth by the "pro-choicers" (as they like to call themselves) carries so little logic as to be almost laughable. By this same logic, if a person were driving along a slick road in the Winter in a reasonably cautious manner, hit a patch of black ice and THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, lost control of their vehicle & slammed into a pedestrian on the side of the road, killing them- this person should then be every bit as guilty of first-degree murder as someone who pre-meditatively took a gun and shot & killed another person.

That the "pro choice" camp is using such an invalid argument (for which I personally can't see how they could possibly NOT know how illogical it is) shows desperation on their part, IMHO. It shows that, deep down in their heart-of-hearts, they know that their position is wrong, but in their rebellion (against their Creator), they don't want to change their lifestyle and/or way of thinking. Therefore, they are grasping at straws, trying to find any argument that they can use (no matter how unreasonable) to try to justify their position.
what about ectopic pregnancy? my ex had one and had to be cut out to save her life. The doctor said the egg would never develop. No one considers this an abortion.
Lita Cosner
Ectopic pregnancy is a case where the pregnancy is threatening the woman's life. Saving the baby is impossible, and if nothing is done both will die. So in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, we would affirm that the baby is alive, but because both would die without intervention, and it is possible to save one, removing the pregnancy in this case is not in the same moral category as abortion. See creation.com/what-about-abortion-to-save-the-mothers-life.
Aleksandar K.
Oh, here's another argument: there is a great difference between natural death and mass murder (almost 50 million per year worldwide). How is Cory finding his friend's argument difficult to refute? That has got to be the worst argument in favor of abortion ever!
Ash B.
People die of natural / accidental circumstances everyday ... but as soon as their death is the result of someone else actions it is either man slaughter (accidental) or murder (intentional). I'm all for looking after life full stop but murder / man slaughter is far more important for a society to STOP than people dying of, lets say, incurable disease. Still very important but less so. Same goes for the abortion v miscarriage argument. One is very intentional, from the Govt to the medical profession to the individual involved. No accident, not natural, not the result of disease or an abnormality but very very intentional and every bit as wrong as being involved in the death of someone after birth. For the same reason of more importance to stop.
Jeannette P.
Thank you for a very clear explanation. Often you hear or read something that is put over in such a way that, although it is obviously wrong, it is difficult to identify exactly WHY it is wrong.

I especially liked this illustration which puts things neatly in perspective:

"If I lived in the Jim Crow South last century, would it be wrong for me to speak up about black men being lynched and civil rights workers being attacked and killed, because other people die from drowning in swimming pools?"

However, I was puzzled by something at the end of Cory's post, "Should there be 5k’s for miscarried babies like the author suggested?"

"5k" probably refers to something well known in America but I was unable to find any meaning that makes sense in context. Something to do with Sikhism, or running 5km races were the most common search results!

Maybe you could explain, for us Brits and other non Americans?

Thank you
Lita Cosner
A 5k is a 5-kilometer race that's often for a certain cause; for cancer research or a certain charity, etc. Runners get people to 'sponsor' them and donate to the cause.
Chris C.
Thanks for the article Lita. This is truly one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard.

We'd have a lot more money to help prevent miscarriages if it wasn't all being spent on murdering babies.
Angus M.
This was actually a topic I had been struggling with for some time. I wondered, "Why stand for pro-life... if babies die all the time due to miscarriages?" This article definitely gave me a new perspective to look at. Thank you!

By Grace.
Henry D.
All people die, everyone alive now will die, we can't, ultimately, prevent anyone from dying, how does that justify murder. People may not give money to cure cancer, hiv/aids, feed the poor etc., but how does that prove that we are inconsistent when we are against murder, manslaughter, homicide? And the effort to save unborn children who can die in miscarriages is not one only for the pro-lifers, a pro-choice woman might want to keep the unborn child who is at risk of a miscarriage, or are pro-choicers more pro-abortion than China with it's forced abortions. Pro-choicers should think more before they make an argument, because i'm truly tired of their idiocy.
Have a good day.

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