President Joe Biden indirectly referred to abortion as health care during his State of the Union address. It was an understatement within an understatement: the “right to choose” abortion presented as a necessary part of what we call “health care”.
But abortion is not health care. And it’s time to stop playing word games.
The dictionary definition of health care is “the efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being, especially by trained and licensed professionals”. But abortion does not cure a disease or improve a disorder. It forcibly ends a life.
The Hippocratic Oath, one of the fundamental pillars of the medical profession, explicitly prohibits physicians from administering abortions or euthanasias.
Talking about abortion as “health care” is not just a pernicious and subtle lie. It confuses and obscures reality. It harms women, children and prevents us from improving countless lives.
There is also a deliberate attempt to convince our children that abortion is just another element of women’s health care. Planned Parenthood is already in many classrooms across the country, teaching students that abortions are a normal medical procedure. This muddies the waters even further and will make real maternal health care reform increasingly difficult over time.
There’s a reason her followers have to play puns, after all – “abortion” is a word with negative connotations no matter where it’s used. An “aborted” landing, an “aborted” encounter, an “aborted” mission: these are all things that ended too soon. These are not routine procedures. Being “aborted” is not a good thing.
Viewing abortion as the only possible answer to inadequate maternal health care makes killing unintended babies the easiest thing to do—and that’s exactly what so many frightened young mothers choose to do.
And the more people get away with calling abortion “health care,” the more we avoid discussing what real maternal health care would look like.
I don’t really know why we’re dodging this question. The United States has nearly double the maternal mortality rate of any other wealthy, developed country. It is a scandal.
The maternal mortality rate disproportionately affects minority women. The impact of structural racism and implicit bias on the social determinants of health is undeniable. During the pandemic, for example, maternal mortality increased because more black women died. The death rate for white women, while still relatively high, has remained more or less unchanged. When critical factors such as economic stability, quality education, access to health care and mental health are not taken into account, we simply double down on the harmful policies that have created these inequalities.
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, or the postpartum period are among the most common causes of death for American women aged 20 to 34. I find it hard to believe that these death rates do not influence a mother’s decision to kill her child.
It is avoidable. We must allow these women to feel safe keeping their babies, giving them better access to maternal health care.
Not abortion, beware. Real health care.
A woman’s reproductive system is one of the only biological systems that we suppress when it is working properly. Improving mothers’ access to health care during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum could significantly reduce the risks and stress associated with motherhood and childbirth. Why not help her function and support her, rather than turning to abortion as a quick fix? Why not galvanize all sectors of society, from politics to the bench, to promote opportunities for human flourishing?
Those who argue that pregnancy is dangerous for women – and that, for this reason, access to abortion is a necessary health service – ignore the fact that pregnancy is natural and has been made amply safe for women. of the whole world. Many nonprofit organizations, including the Human Coalition, have worked hard to fill the void in American maternal health care by coordinating long-term support services for women and children.
We need to set the record straight now. Killing people is not health care.
It never was, it never will be and we have to stop letting people do that.
Benjamin Watson is a former Super Bowl champion and current Vice President of Strategic Relations with Human Coalition.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.