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Abortion to save the life of the mother? // Tough Q&A #3

Talk Transcript | Brephos Conference 2019: For such a time as this

Rape, incest and backstreet abortion: Handling the hard questions | Nov 2019

Life-saving Abortions

[Excerpt from 21:52]

Life-saving abortions are very rare in the UK. So in emergency situations there's only about one abortion a year to save the life of a woman in emergency circumstances. If you include non-emergency circumstances, it goes up a fair bit, but still to about at most 100. In most of these cases the baby will die if the mother dies, and so the options really are to save one person or not to save any one at all. And for that reason most pro-lifers say that abortion is permitted in these circumstances, because you are saving one life, as opposed to not saving either life. But when you have an abortion in those circumstances, there is no intent to end the life of the child. Rather the ending of the life of the child is an inevitable consequence and it’s a foreseen consequence, but it's not an intended consequence. And so many people will say that this strictly does not count as an abortion, thinking that abortion is only intentional ending of life. And of course, most countries in the world allow abortions in these circumstances. Certainly Ireland did, and despite the hype around Ireland’s law, Northern Ireland, until the recent change also allowed abortion in these circumstances. And again some data that we got from the Department of Health on which kind of life-threatening conditions were involved in these cases - you'll see that some of them are for mental health - only five in 2017. It's unclear exactly how serious this threat to someone's mental health was, but you can see that there is some room for malleable interpretation of the life-saving abortion clause.


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1 Comment

I'm confused by your statistics.

The NHS says there are 11,000 ectopic pregnancies in the UK each year. These are life-threatening for the mother and termination is required. So where are these included?

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