Opinion: I Consider It Cruel and Disrespectful to Say, “Abortion Is Murder”

Walter Rhein

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I have a friend who suffered the extreme trauma of a complicated pregnancy. Her doctor concluded the pregnancy represented an extreme risk to her life.

This friend already had two children. Along with her family, she made the heartbreaking decision of having to abort the pregnancy. This was a medical decision she had to take to save her life.

Even though the procedure was medically justified, it was still a heartbreaking scenario. To this day, she has moments when she breaks down into tears over the trauma of that loss.

How do you think she feels when she goes online and sees people making horrible comments about abortion? How do you think she feels when someone cruelly states “abortion is murder?”

What about the mother’s life?

My friend still has two children at home that she has to care for. What about the lives of those children? How do you think they feel when their mother falls into a depression because people feel entitled to make cruel statements?

She’s not a murderer and it’s shameful for anyone to say she is.

Most existing abortion bans contain language that allows abortion to save the mother’s life. Here is an example:

Arizona's 15-week ban only includes exemptions for medical emergencies when continuing with the pregnancy would "create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" for the mother—Mary Kekatos

However, when people say “abortion is murder” they never add any exemption for when the mother’s life is at risk. Their declaration is absolute, and it’s incorrect.

The result is that we live in a society that does not take a mature or rational approach to the subject of abortion. Many people deny that abortion is reproductive healthcare.

How can anyone seriously make an argument that a procedure which can save a mother’s life is not healthcare?

People who make emotional denouncements should be the ones who have to explain to any surviving children why their mother was denied a procedure that would have saved her life.

Perhaps it’s more correct to say “banning abortion is murder.”

Our society prefers to take a superficial approach to most topics. The issue of reproductive health care is far too complex to allow for a simplistic discussion. The simple reality is that pregnancies are complicated and very often result in a significant risk to a mother’s life.

An ectopic pregnancy can't proceed normally. The fertilized egg can't survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding, if left untreated—Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is an example of a case where an abortion is medically necessary. However, just because an abortion is medically necessary doesn’t mean it’s not a heart rending trauma for the mother.

In a decent society, women who have to endure medical emergencies should be spared from being labeled “murderers.” They are not murderers and that’s a cruel thing to say.

When is our society going to start showing some basic decency and respect. When are we going to start showing some compassion for the struggles and traumas people have to deal with on a daily basis.

The issue of abortion is extremely complex. Our society treats it like it’s a black and white issue. Sometimes the “life of the mother” exceptions are so vague that they make doctors reluctant to perform procedures that might save a mother’s life.

This is an unacceptable solution. All women in our society should be able to have a reasonable discussion with a doctor about the care they need. If we allow restrictions that use generalized language, women are going to die needlessly. Their loss means surviving children will grow up in broken homes without access to the care they need and deserve.

Our society needs to evolve to the point where we understand abortion is a sometimes necessary part of reproductive healthcare. The human body is complicated. Women shouldn’t have to die because people in our society refuse to acknowledge the true complexities of the issue.

It’s time for everyone in our society to stop being judgmental and to stop making cruel and unfounded comments.



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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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