|one life against another|
| Pro-life people insist that we should not play the game of putting one human life against another. Supporters of abortion want to say that the other side puts the child ahead of the mother, but opponents insist that we do not put these two against each other at all. The pro-life view values human beings equally.
Does that mean that we cannot support abortion to save the mother’s life? If the choice is between saving one life or neither, the answer is clear. We must save her, even at the expense of the child’s life.
The U.S. Catholic Conference stated years ago, “Operations, treatments, and medications which do not directly intend termination of pregnancy, but which have as their purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of the mother are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the fetus is viable, even though they may or will result in the death of the fetus.” For example, if a pregnant woman is found to have a cancerous uterus, insuring her survival might require surgery to remove the uterus which will kill the embryo or fetus. Christians allow this because it is done with the motive of saving the woman’s life. There is a difference between killing a fetus as an indirect consequence and killing it on purpose.
In this case, pro-lifers appear vulnerable. A pro-choice advocate would want to argue from this point that pro-lifers are placing one life ahead of the other in importance. This would make us hypocrites.
Let me put it this way. We do value both equally, and we want to save them both, but we might not always have the option. We do favor the woman’s life, because she was here first. This is not the same as the pro-choice view, and here is the difference. We do not target an innocent human being to die for convenience. The child’s death is a sad consequence of saving the woman’s life.
Nevertheless I would be dishonest to leave the issue like this. It bothers me deeply that we would ever have a situation in which one life must end for the sake of another. It seems wrong that God would create a situation in which two lives compete for survival. I will never play a game of “life boat” if I can help it, but it’s another thing when God puts us in a “life boat” and makes us choose between one or another.
I want to demand an explanation, but God is God. He doesn’t owe us. We owe it to him to trust that he has a reason for everything even when we don’t understand.