It’s one of the biggest ethical dilemmas in the abortion debate for pro-life people: What should be done in a situation where an abortion is supposedly the only way to save the life of the mother.
Most pro-life people support the life of the mother exception — in fact polling data has been pretty consistent over the years in that only approximately 15 percent of Americans support a total ban for any reason. With 55 percent of Americans taking a pro-life position, only about 25% of pro-lifers oppose abortion for any reason.
With that in mind, here is the story of 28-year-old Lucy Buckby. Lucy suffered breathlessness during her third pregnancy and collapsed while out shopping and was rushed to hospital. Once there, tests revealed she had high blood pressure in her pulmonary arteries and doctors warned her she had a 50% chance of dying during childbirth.
Devastated, she eventually decided to have an abortion of baby Jayden at 17 weeks and now says she is thankful for the pregnancy which led to her diagnosis, even if it meant she had to take the life of her own child to save her own though she admits she has deep regret for doing so.
Lucy was ultimately diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, a rare disease that results in high blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs.
“A person with PPH has extra muscle in the walls of these blood vessels. That extra muscle makes it more difficult for blood to flow through them. As a result, the right side of the heart has to work harder to push blood to the lungs. This additional strain can eventually lead to heart failure,” NYU school of medicine says. “The cause of PPH is unknown. There is no cure for PPH. Treatment is used to help alleviate and control the symptoms.”
A 2001 study indicates levels of mortality are very high in pregnant women with severe pulmonary hypertension and pregnancy is sometimes described as contraindicated in these women (see Kelley’s essentials of internal medicine. Hagerstwon, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2001. p. 84. ISBN 0-7817-1937-2.)
Knowing this, what would you do in Lucy’s situation? Here’s more on what happened: