The recent Dobbs decision has led to strong reactions from many major medical associations arguing that limiting abortion options will significantly harm women with unexpected pregnancies. This needs to be acknowledged, and the desire to do what is best for women is to be commended and shows a true passion for providing what these organizations deem to be the best possible care.
However, there are many medical providers who are as passionate about their patients and their well-being but they also are pro-life. This viewpoint is not due to political inclinations or a shared ideologic belief system. In fact, many of our colleagues in this pro-life view, such as Feminists for Life and Rehumanize International, hold positions that do not match what is being portrayed in the media as matching those of the typical “pro-lifer.” Rather this pro-life view is based on the recognition of the scientific fact that at conception, a new life is present, a unique human being who should be afforded the same rights and dignity that all human beings should have.
Being pro-life means caring for the mother and the baby. For example, the much-maligned Texas heartbeat law is rarely acknowledged because it committed millions of dollars to support pregnant women. Also, for decades thousands of women have volunteered at pro-life pregnancy centers around the country to support women with unexpected pregnancies, many up to the third year of the child’s life, providing a loving environment, financial help, resources, and educational opportunities. They have also been working behind the scenes to address the societal issues that pressure women to choose abortion, seeing their work as impacting two unique individuals at each encounter, the mother and child. Additionally, there are multiple other centers that acknowledge that there are many complex and emotionally charged issues involving women deciding to have an abortion but that the best solutions are those that respect both the mother and baby. An example of such as group is the Women and Children First Initiative at Notre Dame University, whose mission is to help both the mother and baby from a broader legal and legislative perspective.
Yes, the topic is abortion is emotionally fraught, with passionate views on both sides of this discussion. Both views are based on a firmly held commitment to do what is best for our patients, and these views should be discussed in a civil and open manner. Instead of forcing its members to accept a view that is deeply opposed by many of us (and in some cases, such as with the ACOG, even threatening to dismiss members that do not agree with their pro-abortion views), it is time that medical societies acknowledge that pro-life views are legitimate, have a scientific foundation, and that pregnant women deserve more and better options than abortion, such as free prenatal care, child care options, and access to other supports needed to raise their children with love and dignity.
The authors are anonymous pediatricians.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com