The issues with so-called “health of the mother” exceptions

Legal abortion-on-demand in the United States had been legalized during all 9 months of pregnancy during the Roe v. Wade case by requiring that abortion remain legal where it is “necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” The definition of “health” applied that was applied to the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton was a broad definition that included both physical well-being and emotional well-being. The United States Supreme Court will say in the final ruling of Doe v. Bolton “that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health. This allows the attending physician the room he needs to make his best medical judgment. And it is room that operates for the benefit, not the disadvantage, of the pregnant woman.”

Here are the main issues with so-called “health of the mother exceptions” in laws prohibiting abortion:

  • These exceptions enable abortionists to perform abortions by falsely claiming that an abortion is necessary to preserve the health of the mother in cases where an abortion is not needed to preserve the health of the mother, and as such have enabled abortionists to perform abortion-on-demand during all 9 months of pregnancy.
  • The vast majority of abortions are performed for purposes other than the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
  • Almost all of the pregnancies that are aborted could have been safely carried to term if the mother did not have the abortion and the mother received proper medical care.
  • These exceptions have enabled abortion to be legal in circumstances where abortion should not be legal.
  • These exceptions fail to take into account the dangers that abortion poses to the health and lives of the women who undergo abortions.
  • In many cases, the health of a pregnant woman whose health is in danger can be preserved by means that do not involve the killing of the unborn child or the termination of pregnancy prior to term.
  • Most of the surgical elective abortion procedures involve steps that are not essential to successfully terminating the pregnancy and are not essential to preserving the life or health of the mother. These extra steps exist in elective abortions to increase the likelihood of the death of an unborn child in cases where the procedure is performed after viability, to increase the profit of abortion clinics, and to make these elective abortions more efficient.
  • There have been cases where women have died as a result of the complications of a legal abortion procedure, and more women will die from legal abortion procedures until abortion is outlawed.
  • Many post-abortive women will suffer complications from their abortion procedures, and most post-abortive women will eventually regret their decision to have an abortion.
  • Abortion is not always effective in preserving the health of the mother, even though it might be legal to perform an abortion as a means to preserving the health of the mother.
  • Even though the health of the mother exception was intended to benefit pregnant women, this exception has often failed to accomplish its intended purpose because abortion procedures can pose a danger to the health of the mother, because abortion procedures are not always effective in preserving the health of the mother, and because unborn children are unnecessarily being killed through abortions.

Even though the United States Supreme Court imposed the requirement that abortion remain legal where it is deemed necessary for the preservation of the health of the mother in the Roe v. Wade case, the United States Constitution itself does not require that abortions which are performed for the purposes of preserving the health of the mother or in circumstances where the abortion is determined to be necessary for the preservation of the health of the mother be treated differently from abortions in other circumstances. As such, the United States Supreme Court should allow reasonable restrictions and prohibitions on abortion to remain constitutionally valid and legally enforceable in circumstances where an abortion is deemed to be necessary to the preservation of the health of the mother, provided that the same restrictions or prohibitions would be constitutionally valid and legally enforceable in circumstances where the abortion is not necessary for the preservation of the health of the mother. Furthermore, abortion should not be legal under “health of the mother” exceptions in cases where it is reasonably certain that the mother can safely carry the pregnancy to term with proper medical care.

The United States Supreme Court must reverse the requirement for “health of the mother” exceptions in laws that prohibit abortion procedures, even if abortion is still legal for the preservation for the health of the mother under state law in some states, because the imposition of this requirement by the United States Supreme Court has done more harm than good. The imposition of this requirement has led to many bad consequences since Roe v. Wade, including the unnecessary killing of unborn children, the increased availability of legal abortion procedures, the harm caused to the medical profession as a result of the legalization of abortion and the increased availability of legal abortion procedures, and harm to post-abortive women as a result of the complications of legal abortions. The reversal of the requirement for a “health of the mother” exception will deliver many benefits, including more flexibility in regulating the abortion industry, fewer women dying from legal abortions, fewer women suffering from the complications of an abortion, less demand for abortions, and improved integrity of the medical profession.

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