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The Carpenter's Apprentice

Brother Jeff's Message

Let me clarify at the start, when I talk of the sanctity of life, I am referring to both mother and child. I agree with a bullet point statement on the March of Dimes website that states “Too many women in this country die during or after pregnancy because of health problems related to pregnancy.” The page goes on to say, “About 700 women die each year in the United States from complications during or after pregnancy”; too many for sure. Of the 3,945,875 births each year (CDC Website), even one is too much. It is important I think to point out these 700 deaths also fall into two categories, maternal mortality and pregnancy related death. Maternal mortality applies to a mother’s death during pregnancy or within 42 days of delivery and pregnancy related death applies to the death of the mother within one year after delivery. These definitions come from the March of Dimes web page and agree with much of the information I found with the CDC. Additionally, “very few deaths counted in maternal mortality statistics occur during childbirth. Rather, four out of five of these deaths happen in the weeks and months before or after birth” (Harvard Health Publishing). In fact most of these 700 deaths could have been prevented through proper pre- and post-natal care. Even the World Health Organization, who promotes safe abortions, agrees most deaths associated with pregnancy can be prevented (WHO Webpage).

What started me commenting on this thread was the misapplication of an argument. Turns out it wasn’t the argument per se but the broad way in which it was presented. Modern media and pro-choice proponents will talk about women’s health and their right to choose. They print headlines and run articles entitled headlines like “Dying to Deliver” and “Deadly Deliveries” and “Maternal Mortality: An American Crisis” (Harvard Health Publishing) and there has been a 25 year increase in maternal mortality. In 1990, 17 maternal deaths were reported per 100,000 births. In 2015 the number stands at 26 (Harvard Health Publishing). The same article points out this interpretation of the data, “This means that compared with their own mothers, American women today are 50% more likely to die in childbirth.” That is a scary statement but the truth is the maternal mortality rate has gone up from .00017% to .00026%. Not only is that not scary, it sadly causes many to exhale a tremendous sigh of relief. Life is important – even if it is just one.

Furthermore, why are we only trying to save either the mother or the baby? Isn’t it true we are really trying to save both? If a baby has to be delivered early to save the mother and attempts are made to sustain viability of the child – that is not the intentional killing of the baby. As for women’s health, since so many of these pregnancy-related deaths are caused by the neglect of proper women’s health in the first place, can that really be a valid argument? How might the world be different if we poured as much effort into caring for our pregnant women and making sure they have access to and receive the proper care they need before during and after pregnancy as we do in promoting or preventing abortion. Here is where pro-life and pro-choice can find common ground. We stand on opposite sides of the street yelling about rights while the majority of the women affected walk past us unnoticed and quite possibly, very often - simply ignored.