Due to the unpalatable reality of abortion procedures, most abortion advocates have smartly pushed the narrative that killing an unborn baby in the womb is often necessary to save a mother’s life, therefore abortion must remain legal. In fact, this was the direct line Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took during the last presidential debate.
But this narrative is false, says Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist who has regretfully performed over 1,200 abortions in his tenure. In a recent interview, Levatino maintains that while there are instances in which babies tragically perish as a result of medically necessary procedures due to pregnancy complications, this is far different than an intentional abortion procedure to “save” the mother, which is never necessary nor practical.
Tackling the myth of the “medically necessary” abortion, Levatino looks past his own personal experience — which he notes includes exactly zero cases in over a decade’s worth of work where he had to intentionally kill an unborn child — and looks to the pragmatics of the medical procedures at hand, which, he says, disqualify late-term abortion in the case of a medical emergency based on time constraints alone. For example, the doctor points out that a third-term abortion procedure, in which it takes at least one to two days to dilate the cervix, would take far too long to perform in any emergency situation to save the life of the mother at hand.
Levatino further dispels this pro-abortion myth by decoding the legal language which qualifies abortion as “medically necessary” for the mother’s “health”—health being the operative word. According to Levatino, this is necessary political jargon which allows essentially any “exception” for abortion, including “physical,” “mental,” “economic” and “social” “health."
“In most such cases, any attempt to perform an abortion ‘to save the mother’s life’ would entail undue and dangerous delay in providing appropriate, truly life-saving care,” Levatino explained to Congress in May of 2012. “During my time at Albany Medical Center I managed hundreds of such cases by ‘terminating’ pregnancies to save mothers’ lives. In all those cases, the number of unborn children that I had to deliberately kill was zero.”
Testifying further, the doctor used a specific example of a woman with a high-risk pregnancy for whom he cared, where an abortion would be severely harmful to the mother, and of course fatal for the baby.
"In cases where a pregnancy places a woman in danger of death or grave physical injury, a doctor more often than not doesn’t have 36 hours, much less 72 hours, to resolve the problem. Let me illustrate with a real-life case that I managed while at the Albany Medical Center. A patient arrived one night at 28 weeks gestation with severe pre-eclampsia or toxemia. Her blood pressure on admission was 220/160. A normal blood pressure is approximately 120/80. This patient’s pregnancy was a threat to her life and the life of her unborn child. She could very well be minutes or hours away from a major stroke.
"This case was managed successfully by rapidly stabilizing the patient’s blood pressure and ‘terminating’ her pregnancy by Cesarean section. She and her baby did well."
But Dr. Levatino is not the only medical professional who feels this way about “medically necessary” abortions. As found on the American Life League (ALL) website, 483 doctors have stated the same, signing the declaration below:
"I agree that there is never a situation in the law or in the ethical practice of medicine where a preborn child's life need be intentionally destroyed by procured abortion for the purpose of saving the life of the mother. A physician must do everything possible to save the lives of both of his patients, mother and child. He must never intend the death of either."
Like Levatino, ALL underscores the difference between the unfortunate result of a death of a baby and an intentional abortion: “However if an intervention results in the baby’s death, this is an unintended consequence of the physician’s effort to save the mother. There are similar cases involving the treatment of cancer in which the baby’s death can be an unintended consequence. But again, these are medical treatments, not abortion,” states the site.
While a conflicting, dated study found that a very small percentage of abortions were performed for reasons of the “health” of the mother — only 2.8 percent — it is important to recall that the legal definition of the “health” of the mother includes “physical,” “mental,” “economic” and “social," as Levatino explains. USA today reports:
Most abortions are not for health reasons. The non-profit Guttmacher Institute says three-quarters of women having abortions say they can't afford a child, and an equal number say having a baby would interfere with work, school and the ability to care for others, including existing children. A study published in Guttmacher's International Family Planning Perspectives in 1998 said risk to a woman's health was the main reason for 2.8% of U.S. abortions in 1987-88.
Below, watch Dr. Levatino explain to Live Action’s Lila Rose why he feels it’s never necessary to murder an unborn child to save the life of a mother.