An Abortion Puzzlement

Pro-aborts claim a miscarriage you don’t want is life-threatening, but one you do want is no big deal

I spent Saturday, while waiting for the accountant to do my taxes, reading Stephanie Gray Connors’s new book My Body for You: A Pro-Life Message for a Post-Roe World  (link below). It’s a very readable and worthwhile presentation of pro-life arguments, especially in hard cases, which are becoming the stock-in-trade of those pushing to restore Roe’s regime of abortion-on-demand through birth.

In the course of reading, I was struck by a paradox that perhaps represents the most egregious example of the “hard cases” sloganeering against Dobbs. It got me thinking.

This essay is not intended to address the principled ways to handle these hard cases — though our culture often eschews principled rational thought for soundbites — but is intended to contrast how pro-abortion types contradictorily use and manipulate miscarriage to push their agenda.

We’ve suddenly been told that pro-life legislation endangers women’s lives and that emergency medical care of women in pro-life states is substandard because physicians are “intimidated” by pro-life laws. Those trafficking in that argument often focus on miscarriage, claiming that the lives of women in the course of losing their babies are now threatened because pro-life states are oblivious to the difference between spontaneous and induced abortions.

“An Interview with Dr. Christina Francis” in the Fall 2023 issue of Human Life Review  (vol. 49, no. 4; here] ought to dispel some of those claims. That said, miscarriage requires active medical assistance to ensure the mother receives proper care, including verifying that no tissue is left behind to cause infection.

So, why is it that many of the same people who argue that miscarriage is such a threat to women are absolutely unphased about free, virtually unregulated distribution of mifepristone and misoprostol? Fewer than two weeks ago, many of the usual suspects stood before the United States Supreme Court and insisted abortion-inducing medications pose no problems and the current FDA’s laissez-faire approach to them was justified.

How do mifepristone and misoprostol work? Essentially, they induce a miscarriage. Mifepristone causes the death of the unborn child. If taken early enough, it prevents uterine implantation. Misoprostol induces uterine contractions to expel the unborn child.

Consider that image: mifepristone and misoprostol are do-it-yourself (DIY) miscarriages. They induce death of the developing child and his subsequent expulsion by contraction. Many women who suffer those contractions also note copious amounts of blood loss.

What “standard” of medical care would consider inducing a DIY miscarriage with self follow-up in your home or apartment? Increasingly, these medications are provided by “telehealth” (i.e., no personal examination of the mother, including no determination of gestational age), while “feminist” groups are pushing to distribute them on demand through the mail. There’s even a push to repeal the federal Comstock Act, which makes such activity illegal. It’s all intended to vitiate pro-life policy in pro-life states that have restricted abortion post-Dobbs.

DIY miscarriage induced by drugs sometimes gotten via computer screen, sometimes through clandestine mailing networks — this doesn’t sound real pro-women’s health. But, in the Alice in Wonderland upside-down world of abortionists, a miscarriage you don’t want is life-threatening, but a miscarriage you do want is never a big deal.

There is, of course, another agenda at work here. Abortionists want to pretend that abortion is just another routine “medical procedure,” no different from a tooth extraction. So, mifepristone and misoprostol are just an alternate “outpatient” way of handling abortion. In order to magnify the “safety” of abortion, pregnancy is increasingly portrayed as a life-threatening state.

Such perspectives, of course, deny the fact that pregnancy is a natural and normal occurrence in post-puberty females, that pregnancy itself is not a pathology, that life-threatening pregnancies are rare, and that abortion and self-induced miscarriage are not normal physiological processes. This — and the details of what happens in abortion, be it medically or surgically induced — is never discussed. “Informed consent” is a vital principle of medical ethics, except when it might interfere with the abortion Über-Recht.

Now where are the ideologically-driven extremists to be found? As the King of Siam once put it, “it’s a puzzlement!”


[A link to Stephanie Gray Connors’s book is here.]


John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) was former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. All views expressed herein are exclusively his.

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