Kansans who voted to keep abortion legal may have done so because they fell for a common, yet incorrect, scare tactic. Abortion advocates in Kansas and elsewhere falsely claim that doctors in states with abortion restrictions are not allowed to end a pregnancy to save the mother's life.
Danielle Underwood of Kansans for Life explains, "There was patently false information that was being spread everywhere, that somehow women who experienced miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, other health conditions, were somehow going to be at risk and that was never the case."
A number of high-profile people who are disappointed in the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion back in June are now claiming expectant women are at increased risk of death if they experience complications during their pregnancy. This misinformation is being spread in the news media as well as on social media by politicians, pundits, and others.
False Claims by Abortion Activists
One of the primary false claims is that doctors in states with abortion restrictions are not allowed to end a pregnancy to save the mother's life. Ectopic pregnancies are most often the subject of this misinformation. An ectopic pregnancy is a rare condition when the baby begins to grow outside the mother's uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. The child can not survive an ectopic pregnancy, and if left untreated, it could cause the death of the mother as well.
Less than two percent of all pregnancies are ectopic. Abortion advocates are wrongly asserting doctors in states with abortion restrictions will not be able to treat women with ectopic pregnancies, because that treatment involves removing the unborn child from its mother.
"Unfortunately the American people have been gas-lighted by the abortion industry," board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist Ingrid Skop, M.D. told CBN News. "This is just a false dialogue. Every state that has put abortion restrictions in place has an exemption for a life-threatening condition for the mother. And many of them specifically mention ectopic pregnancy."
Likewise, Donna Harrison, M.D., another board-certified OB/GYN is pushing back on what she calls "fear-mongering."
"To make the outlandish assumption that because some states are no longer going to allow the deliberate killing of human beings in the womb for no medical reason, that somehow that affects emergency treatment, it's ridiculous. There's not a shred of evidence for that," she said. "There isn't a single law in the entire United States, and I'm familiar with them, there isn't a single law in any state that forbids the medical emergency treatment for a pregnant woman or forbids treatment of an ectopic pregnancy. Not one law anywhere."
Aside from ectopic pregnancies, there are two other primary medical conditions when a doctor anywhere in America, regardless of abortion restrictions in place, can legally separate an unborn child from its mother. Those two conditions include severely high blood pressure, called preeclampsia, or when the mother's membranes rupture, also known as the water sack breaking.
"Pro-life doctors do this all the time, as do Catholic hospitals," Dr. Harrison said. "And the reason we do this is not to intentionally kill the baby, but to save the mother's life. Because if we don't separate the mom and baby under those circumstances, both the mom and the baby die. Whereas if we separate them, then the mom has a chance to live. But this is very different from an abortion. An abortion is done specifically for producing a dead baby."
The good news is that today's modern medicine allows many unborn children who are separated from their mothers to also live. If the pregnancy is at least five months along, babies can often survive outside the womb in an advanced medical setting.
And Dr. Skop points out that aborting the life of the child to save the life of the mother is a very rare event. "It is hardly ever necessary to straight-out perform an abortion to save a woman's life," she said.
Dangerous Scare Tactics
Dr. Harrison worries pregnant women who believe misinformation may be too afraid to seek treatment if they suffer complications.
"This scare tactic that's being done on the other side, shame on them for scaring women who need care," she said.
While organizations like the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Charlotte Lozier Institute are trying to inform the public that doctors can still end pregnancies to save the mother, even in states where abortion is restricted, it's not something widely reported in the press.
Tim Graham, director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center told CBN News that reporters and editors generally slant the news in favor or abortion in order to sway public opinion, a practice that's been going on for years.
"I think the media has been biased in favor of abortion pretty much since 1973 at least," he said, pointing to recent coverage in the wake of the Supreme Court's overturning Roe vs. Wade that has been blatantly focused on the pro-abortion perspective.
"Violence against pro-life centers, pro-life advocacy offices, vandalism at Catholic churches. These are stories they're not interested in doing. They're talking about how women will die while the pro-choice folks are throwing Molotov cocktails into offices," Graham said. "And they've vaguely been supportive of protestors outside the homes of Supreme Court justices who are pro-life."
Graham says over the years his organization has detected a pattern in the media that includes ignoring the deaths of unborn children as well as women who die from abortions because it doesn't fit their pro-abortion agenda.
"You certainly remember the story of Kermit Gosnell who went to prison because a woman died from being over-anesthetized in his abortion clinic in Philadelphia. That was a story they didn't want to do because it doesn't match," Graham said. "Then we had the case of the preterm clinic in Cleveland where a woman named Lakisha Wilson died in 2014. NPR actually did a story on this clinic in 2015 and never mentioned her as they were trying to tout how tough it was getting in Ohio for abortionists."
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