The Malta Independent 14 July 2024, Sunday
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Doctors for Life warn about ‘misleading’ survey questions on abortion

Thursday, 30 March 2023, 08:33 Last update: about 2 years ago

Doctors For Life has called upon organisations holding surveys about abortion to be careful in the wording of their questions as they could be misleading.

DFL was referring to the recent survey regarding abortion commissioned by Esprimi.

“We would like to emphasise that survey questions should be carefully worded and should be precise in order to avoid misinformation,” the NGO said.

The question “do you agree with abortion to save the mother’s life” is highly misleading as it implicitly assumes that abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life. Few will question this underlying assumption and ask “Is abortion required to save the mother’s life?” and consequently “If we can save the mother’s life with other interventions that don’t specifically kill the unborn child, would you agree with abortion anyway?”

Abortion, as it is commonly understood, is an intervention that intends to directly terminate the life of the developing embryo or foetus. The purpose is to kill the foetus, and the intervention specifically does that. Medical abortion involves taking 2 pills. The first will disrupt the placenta and interrupt the blood supply to the foetus to deprive him/her of oxygen and nutrients leading to the foetus’ death. The second pill will encourage uterine contractions to expel the dead foetus.

Surgical abortion takes many forms including intracardiac injection to stop the baby’s heart, followed by delivery, or else dismemberment of the foetus into body parts which are extracted from the uterus. In Maltese hospitals we have been saving mothers’ lives for decades by performing the life-saving interventions required. We do not resort to abortion to do that, and there is no circumstance when this is required. Our intention is to save life and not to take it. If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, the fetus will inevitably die and all interventions to save the mother's life are already performed in Malta. This is not intentional killing.

If the woman is at risk of serious infection after rupture of membranes or pre-eclampsia (uncontrolled high blood pressure), the baby is delivered early, and if past viability (the age when the baby can survive), there is a good chance that the baby will survive. “But we do not deliberately kill it. If the woman needs urgent chemotherapy, the chemotherapy is given (after discussion with the mother) even if the child is lost. None of these constitute ‘abortion’,” Doctors for Life said.

Therefore asking the question “do you agree with abortion to save the mother’s life” merely misleads the public into thinking that abortion is necessary to save a woman’s life, when in fact it is not.

“We are proud to live in a country that not only boasts an excellent health service with no maternal mortality for more than a decade, but which has not succumbed to the cultural pressure to terminate the lives of unborn children,” the organisation said.

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