A new “fact check” report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute pushes back on a mainstream narrative about pro-life states and finds that the 23 states with the strongest pro-life laws allow for abortions to save the mother’s life.
The July 27 report examined the text of laws in the 23 states with abortion bans that were unenforceable before the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. It found that all 23 permit abortion “in those rare and heartbreaking circumstances when it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.”
“Abortion advocates are spreading the dangerous lie that life-saving care is not or may not be permitted in these states, leading to provider confusion and poor outcomes for women,” the report says.
The report’s authors, Mary E. Harned and Ingrid Skop, say they hope the report benefits medical professionals who live in the 23 states and are unsure about their respective laws.
“A plain reading of any of these statutes easily refutes the false and dangerous misinformation being spread by pro-abortion activists,” Harned said. “Further, none of these laws prohibit a medical professional from acting as necessary when facing a life-threatening medical emergency. To claim otherwise is either ignorance of the law or willful misrepresentation at the expense of women and their unborn children who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
A summary of the report says laws in the 23 states “allow necessary and timely medical treatment for miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and other procedures necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.”
Physicians in the 23 states can make the determination “based on their ‘reasonable medical judgment’” about whether an abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life. That standard is “very common in the medical profession and used for any case involving medical malpractice litigation,” the report says.
“Physicians are trained to use their best judgment to care for patients; however, it would be prudent for state medical boards, state medical societies, state boards of pharmacy, hospital quality committees, and hospital attorneys to provide more detailed guidance to doctors on how to reach a determination that abortion is necessary,” the report says. “Tragically, this type of guidance appears slow in coming.”
Although some of the laws in the 23 states “contain definitions and exceptions that more explicitly speak to certain situations,” each law “reviewed does not prevent mothers from receiving the medical care necessary.”
“A plain reading of any of these statutes easily refutes the false and dangerous misinformation being spread by pro-abortion activists,” the report says.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.