Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 6, 2023 / 15:53 pm (CNA).
The recent assertion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that abortion “without restriction” is essential health care was met with condemnation by pro-life advocates, including leading pro-life doctors.
The claims were made by Dr. Christopher Zahn, interim chief executive of ACOG, and Jenni Villavicencio, interim director of advocacy and public affairs for the Society of Family Planning, in a Washington Post opinion piece.
Dr. Christina Francis, a certified OB-GYN and CEO of the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs (AAPLOG), pushed back on the pro-abortion claims, saying that there are “two patients involved in a pregnancy” and that “ACOG’s statement is clearly motivated by politics and not a commitment to evidence-based medical care.”
“Induced abortion is a medical procedure to end a pregnancy such that it does not result in a live birth; this means its intent is to end the life of the embryonic or fetal human beings,” Francis told CNA. “It is deadly — not safe — for the preborn child, but it also poses several risks for the pregnant mother, especially at later gestational ages.”
AAPLOG‘s mission is to “encourage and equip medical practitioners to provide an evidence-based rationale for defending the lives of both the pregnant mother and her unborn child.”
According to Francis, “these risks are present in both chemical and surgical abortions and include the immediate risk of hemorrhage, sepsis, and more, as well as long-term increased risk of mental health complications, preterm birth, and more.”
In his op-ed, Zahn argued that “abortion is safe” and that “it improves and saves lives, and it must be available without restrictions, without limitations, and without barriers — just as any other critical part of health care.”
According to Zahn, pro-life groups and leaders spread “misinformation” that is “commonly used to strip access to abortion from patients such as ours and prevent clinicians from providing people with evidence-based health care.”
ACOG is one of the premier obstetrician-gynecologist groups in the U.S. According to its website, ACOG’s guidelines for health care professionals and educational materials for patients are widely used throughout the country.
Its statement of policy regarding abortion says that the organization “strongly opposes any effort that impedes access to abortion care and interferes in the relationship between a person and their health care professional.”
In response to the group’s claims, Dr. Ingrid Skop, an OB-GYN and vice president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said abortion is “harmful to women” and “fatal” to babies.
Skop said that “ACOG’s new commitment to limitless up-to-birth abortion is harmful to women and fatal to the babies it presumes to care for.”
“As OB-GYNs, we have two patients to care for,” Skop told CNA. “The pro-abortion movement’s extreme position of limitless up-to-birth abortions highlights the need for national protections for women and children from the violence of abortions.”
According to Skop, “studies prove most late abortions occur as nonemergencies and involve healthy babies who can feel the brutal pain of the surgical abortion.”
What do Americans think about abortion right now?
In another Washington Post opinion piece, Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to President Donald Trump, pointed to an August Cygnal poll that indicated that 56% of voters support a federal abortion limit of 15 weeks, including a plurality of Democrats.
These numbers appear to be further backed by a May Gallup poll, updated in July, that found that while 34% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances, 62% expressed support for at least some form of limitation on abortion. Thirteen percent said abortion should be legal in most cases, 36% under only a few circumstances, and an additional 13% said it should be illegal in all cases.
Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, told CNA that Gallup’s results reflect polling numbers they have seen in the past.
“These numbers,” Tobias said, “show that the majority of Americans do not accept the Democrats’ policy of supporting abortion until birth” and that “shows just how out of touch the Democrats are with Americans.”
Abortion is fully banned in 14 states, according to data collected by Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Additionally, 11 other states have varying levels of restrictions ranging from six-week bans, as in Georgia, to 20-week bans, as in Iowa.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!