Opinion | Susan Knopf: Let’s save lives | SummitDaily.com
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Opinion | Susan Knopf: Let’s save lives

Susan Knopf / Summit Daily News

No one is seeking the right to kill a baby. The idea is dark and grotesque.

I am consistently astounded how many so called “right to life” folks seem to have no appreciation for the myriad of maternal and fetal medical conditions for which therapeutic abortion is required to save lives.

For the record, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Physicians for Reproductive Health released this joint statement:



“The science of medicine is not subjective, and a strongly held personal belief should never outweigh scientific evidence, override standards of medical care, or drive policy that puts a person’s health and life at risk.

“Pregnancy imposes significant physiological changes on a person’s body. These changes can exacerbate underlying or preexisting conditions, like renal or cardiac disease, and can severely compromise health or even cause death. Determining the appropriate medical intervention depends on a patient’s specific condition. There are situations where pregnancy termination in the form of an abortion is the only medical intervention that can preserve a patient’s health or save their life.



“As physicians, we are focused on protecting the health and lives of the patients for whom we provide care. Without question, abortion can be medically necessary.”

In just months since the failure of the Supreme Court to guarantee women their right of medical privacy, we are already seeing women sent home from hospitals so they can get sicker, so physicians can legally render the medical care required. In the past, medical care was not dictated by statue, but by medically determined exigency.

Go online and read about Melissa Janssen. She lives in Wisconsin where an 1849 abortion ban took effect the day Roe v. Wade was overturned. She told NBC News her water broke at 18 weeks. Her doctor did not feel he could perform a legal abortion because she wasn’t sick enough. She was running a fever and was experiencing belly tenderness.

The same thing happened to Eizabeth Weller in Texas and she was sent home from the hospital to get sicker. After four days, she had foul-smelling yellow discharge (a sign of infection). Finally, after risking her life, the Texas hospital agreed to give her a therapeutic abortion.

Janssen was luckier. Her hospital agreed to her therapeutic abortion after several hours.

Both women were married and wanted their babies.

“It was just mind-blowing,” Janssen said. “I just couldn’t believe this was happening and this was me.”

The bottom line is medical decisions are being made by committees fearful of criminal prosecution, not by doctors and patients working to achieve best medical outcomes. 

Cobalt, Colorado’s reproductive advocacy group (formerly NARAL) released numbers for June 24 to Aug. 11. Cobalt spent $150,000 on procedures and practical assistance for more than 300 people in need. Flights cost nearly $26,000. Texans received 66% of the aid.

For the record, there is no error-proof method of birth control. The American Pregnancy Association lists error rates from just under 1% to 25% for the rhythm method. Thus there will be birth control product failures. Product failure should not require people to bear children they did not intend to have. People should have the right to determine when they are economically, medically and emotionally prepared to raise children.

Nor should people be forced by product failure to endure a life threatening pregnancy. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.  

Nor should be people be forced by product failure to put up their infants for adoption. Such a choice may create a lifetime legacy of wonder, fear and anxiety. People who want to make this choice, or become a surrogate, have that choice.

We as a society make only those choices needed to secure the safety of the entire society. We don’t make choices for individuals, unless those people are our dependents. This is the core tenet of a free society. This is not a communist state that dictates how people shall live.

We need to respect each other’s lines. It’s interesting to me people protested, saying “My body my choice,” when talking about the right not to wear a mask or not to take vaccines. Many of these are the same people who believe they have the right to make life and death medical decisions for others.


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