Is abortion justified to save the life of the mother?



I was having a debate with my sister and I was wondering if you could help. We were debating about abortion, she says that any way you look at it, abortion is a sin and you are going to hell. But what if you are pregnant and if you were to continue carrying the baby to term it would kill you. If you have an abortion for medical reasons is it still a sin even though if you don't, you will die? Should you not get an abortion because your death would be a part of God's plan?


No sin is permanent. People sin, but they can be forgiven of that sin (Ezekiel 18:21-23).

Abortion is a sin because it is the taking of a human life. Worse, a child is innocent. "These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, ..." (Proverbs 6:16-17). We admire an adult who puts himself in harms way to save a child, but we have no respect for an adult to stands aside and lets a child be harmed because he doesn't want to take the risk.

The argument that abortion needs to be allowed because there is a possibility that without an abortion a mother might die is an emotional packed claim. But have you ever asked how many abortions are actually done to save the life of the mother?

I found this at

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System reported a higher number for pregnancy-related deaths for 2006-2007, the most recent statistics. It found that 1,294 deaths that occurred within a year of pregnancy termination were pregnancy-related. Why did these women die? There were several causes, including cardiovascular disease, hemorrhage, hypertension, infections and embolisms. A small percentage 0.6 percent died from complications related to anesthesia. And 5.6 percent died from unknown causes. That doesn't mean that an abortion would have saved the life of the mother in those cases, but it does indicate that "modern technology and science" have not made it so women no longer risk death from pregnancy."

I found this interesting because the authors see this as support for abortions. But notice that they stated that 1,294 women dies within a year of having an abortion. This isn't a number saying that a woman's life was rescued by an abortion. It is a claim that being pregnant carries risks and abortions don't prevent those risks.

Finding real numbers are harder than you might expect because usually psychological health risks are added physical health risks. I have strong doubts about claims of psychological risk just because a woman gives birth to a child. But finding just physical health risks is hard, which leads me to suspect that it is reported in this fashion to inflate the numbers in the "needed" category (5% of all abortions is the current claim in the United States). For instance 2% of all births in North America are ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, where the child is developing in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. The child will not come to term because of the inadequate blood supply and it can cause a rupture and death of the mother. Not all of these require medical intervention, and many would not be included as an abortion in reporting; but it does indicate that physical needs are lower than reported. This report is probably far closer to the truth, but would not include ectopic pregnancies:

"A report to Parliament has revealed abortions performed in the United Kingdom to save the life of the mother are a stunningly low 0.006 percent of procedures. ... "Of these, 143 (0.006 percent) were performed under Section 1(4), i.e. where the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman," he wrote." ["How many abortions are for the health of the mother?"]

Notice that even here the number is not a pure number is given. It still includes "mental health," which is a subjective measure.

But let's suppose that doctors decide that without an abortion both the mother and child will die, but with an abortion the mother will live. Such would be near impossible to state because it requires predicting the future -- something people are poor at doing. Does this then justify abortions in all cases? A possible exception never justifies the rule.

"Most of what passes as a therapeutic, or medically-necessary abortion, is not necessary at all to save the mother's life. For example, if a mother has breast cancer and requires immediate chemotherapy to survive that can kill the baby, the physician will frequently recommend a therapeutic abortion. Another example: if a mother has life-threatening seizures that can only be controlled by medication that will kill or severely deform her unborn child, the physician will frequently prescribe a therapeutic abortion. In both of these cases, the abortion is not necessary to protect the mother's health. The necessary medication may injure or kill the pre-born child, but this is no justification for intentionally killing the child. If the child is injured or dies from the medication prescribed to the mother to save her life, the injury was unintentional and, if truly medically necessary, not unethical.

"Let us illustrate this principle further: if a rescuer is venturing into a burning vehicle to try to save its injured occupants, and is only able to save one of the two occupants, is it justifiable for him to then take out his gun and shoot the occupant he was unable to save? Of course not! Intentionally killing those you were not able to save is never justified in healthcare. We have the technology and expertise to provide quality healthcare to a pregnant woman without intentionally killing her unborn baby, regardless of the severity of her disease." ["Are There Rare Cases When an Abortion Is Justified?", Association of Pro-Life Physicians.]

Notice that these doctors' contention is that an already very small number of cases is even smaller than it might appear. Their argument is that one focusing on saving the mother's life and if the child dies as a side-effect, then such cannot be helped.

But from a Christian's viewpoint, death is just the time to go and be with God. "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Death is not sought out, but neither is it feared. To purposely seek out someone else's death because their death might make me live longer is something a Christian would not accept.

Thank you for getting back to me on that question about abortion.