by Steven Ertelt
July 3, 2007
Council Bluffs, IA (LifeNews.com) — Campaigning in Iowa on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked about the issue of abortion — one that has come up for him throughout the campaign. He told 150 people at an event that he supports keep abortion legal in the very rare cases to save the life of the mother.
Romney has said he is pro-life on abortion and wants to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and his comments added to what voters know about his abortion stand.
”If there is a circumstance where the life of the mother is at risk by virtue of proceeding with the pregnancy, then abortion in that case is acceptable,” he said.
The former Massachusetts governor also acknowledged the differences of opinion within the pro-life movement on that point.
”I do not believe it is immoral in that case. I know other people feel differently," he added.
Abortion is virtually never needed to save a woman’s life, but pro-life advocates have frequently included such exceptions in legislation to ensure that the mother doesn’t give up her own right to life.
Treating an ectopic pregnancy or removing the body of a dead unborn child from the mother are considered times when an abortion might save her life — and ectopic pregnancies resulting from failed RU 486 abortions have killed women.
Those who support abortion in such circumstances say, especially in the case of removing an ectopic pregnancy, the death of the unborn child is an accidental or unavoidable one and not an intended consequence of the act to save the mother.
That separates it from a standard abortion where the intent is to kill the unborn child and some pro-life advocates don’t consider treating an ectopic pregnancy as technically an abortion.
Still, pro-life groups say that everything should be done to attempt to save the life of the baby even in cases where the mother’s life is directly in danger as a result of the pregnancy.
British pro-life advocates point out that, between 1967 and 1990, only 151 abortions have been carried out to save the mother’s life, a figure amounting to 0.004% of all abortions.
In 1992, a group of Ireland’s top gynecologists wrote: "We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child."
The UK pro-life group SPUC says, "Developments in medicine mean that the ‘abortion to save the mother’s life’ argument is becoming harder and harder to justify."
"It is now possible for women with heart defects to carry a baby to term with expert help and life-threatening conditions such as cancer can often be treated without harming the unborn child," the group added.
Still, the group agreed that an abortion to save the life of the mother is an unintended consequence.
"Direct abortion is the deliberate killing of an unborn child. Treatment to save the life of the mother that results in the death of the child as an expected but not intended side effect is not a direct abortion, e.g. in the case of an ectopic pregnancy," the group said on its web site.
"This involves the unavoidable death of the unborn baby but the aim of the operation is to save the mother not to kill the baby," the organization concluded.