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Pro-life amicus brief in abortion case reminds Supreme Court physicians have two patients: mother and unborn child

by | Aug 18, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

In today’s overview, we look at the fine amicus brief filed by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation in support of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, a challenge to which the Supreme Court will hear this fall. The Federation is National Right to Life’s state affiliate and its brief makes the compelling case that “they’re missing someone” in abortion jurisprudence: the unborn child.

As we’ve mentioned going back to July 22 when we started this series, at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the state of Mississippi’s prohibition of abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with very limited exceptions. 

Judge Carlton W. Reeves, an Obama appointee, blocked the law in 2018, maintaining “This court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature.”  Subsequently Judge Reeves’s snarky decision was upheld by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Mississippi appealed to the High Court and the justices agreed to hear their defense.

The Federation’s amicus begins with what ought to be obvious but is plainly not to the Supreme Court:

*“In modern obstetrical practice, the physician treats two patients—the mother and her unborn baby—and strives to maximize and protect the health and well-being of both. Good medical practice requires this.” 

Unfortunately, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton turned both/and into an either/or.

*”It is rare that the interests of one of these patients, from a medical standpoint, conflicts with the other. Even in those instances where the mother’s condition may place her physical health at greater risk, the pregnancy can generally be managed satisfactorily with a successful outcome for both the mother and baby.”

The brief develops this point at length. However, because pro-abortionists have heavily depended on the claim that abortion is “safe,” it stands to reason they would boldly (and falsely) assert that abortion is safe—much safer—than childbirth.

*In that vein, the amicus continues (and counters) that “Claims that abortion must be allowed on demand because abortion is statistically safer than childbirth should be rejected. The relative risk of death is negligible in both abortion and childbirth. Moreover, although abortion is a medical procedure, it is rarely a medical decision. In the vast majority of cases, abortions are sought for socio-economic reasons; not for medical reasons. Therefore, discussing maternal mortality in relation to elective abortion simply is not relevant in any practical or meaningful sense.”

An important observation. Abortion advocates have long counted on the public attention on the  “difficult cases” to obscure the truth that abortions for rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life represent a tiny, tiny percentage of the total. Two other points:

*“Contrary to what some suggest, Roe was not a significant cause of reduced maternal mortality and morbidity from abortion. Such reductions correspond more closely with medical advances such as the development of effective antibiotics to manage infections and advances in medical technology allowing for blood transfusions and better administration of anesthesia. These medical advances were unrelated to the legalization of abortion, having occurred well before Roe was handed down. So, overturning Roe will not affect those advances, nor will it preclude the application of future medical advances in the treatment of pregnant women and an overall reduction in maternal mortality from all causes.” 

NRL News Today and NRL News have debunked the myth that prior to Roe there were massive numbers of abortions [a million was a favorite made-up number] and abortion-related deaths [5,000 was a popular fabrication] on literally dozens and dozens of occasions. 

Ironically (as we wrote), even the Washington Post’s Factchecker  “acknowledges Planned Parenthood inflated Abortion Numbers.”

Abortion insiders knew that 60 years ago! In 1960Mary Calderone, who edited the report of a 1955 Planned Parenthood abortion conference and who would later become president of Planned Parenthood, wrote in the American Journal of Public Health “Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortion as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortion of any kind.”

*Finally, the amicus brief tells us

Roe was a radical decision that overrode the legislative judgments of all 50 states. It was based on a flawed understanding of the humanity of the unborn child and views of obstetrical practice that are outdated because they fail to treat unborn children as second patients in pregnancy. … It should be overturned.

It should indeed.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s full amicus can be read here.

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