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Family Heritage Alliance: “Abortion Is Never Medically Necessary”

South Dakota’s Family Heritage Alliance weighs in with its studied medical opinion on abortion:

Family Heritage Alliance, tweet, 2022.09.08.
Family Heritage Alliance, tweet, 2022.09.08.

South Dakota physician Jim Buchanan responds appropriately:

Dr. Jim Buchanan/@jimbuctwit, tweet, 2022.09.09.
Dr. Jim Buchanan/@jimbuctwit, tweet, 2022.09.09.

In stating “Abortion is never medically necessary,” Family Heritage Alliance is repeating a popular lie among the misogynist anti-abortion crowd that Reuters fact-checked last December:

“Yes, there are absolutely certain medical conditions that warrant us to very urgently encourage a woman to have an abortion,” said Stacey Beck, MD and Assistant Professor at the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Physicians.

“One of the most common reasons I help women to terminate their pregnancy is because their water is broke [early in pregnancy] and they have an infection,” Beck said.

…A placental abruption, which is when the placenta starts to separate from the uterus, is another condition that could fatally impact a pregnant women’s life. It is “uncommon yet a serious condition,” the Cleveland Clinic states ( here ).

…Another condition in which staying pregnant comes at a very high risk of death for the mother is preeclampsia early in pregnancy (less than 24 weeks), Beck said.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that involves developing high blood pressure and signs of organ damage ( here , here ).

…When asked if abortions are sometimes medically necessary to save a woman’s life, Elizabeth Janiak, ScD and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School also told Reuters, “The answer is clearly yes.”

One of them is “Situations in which people are beginning to miscarry, and they experience complications that threaten their lives but the fetus still has a heartbeat.”

Not being permitted to complete the abortion or delaying it in these cases “can be deadly, if someone is developing sepsis and they are not treated, and the cause of the sepsis is the pregnant tissue being infected,” she said [“Fact Check—Termination of Pregnancy Can Be Necessary to Save a Woman’s Life, Experts Say,” Reuters, 2021.12.27].

If a woman is dying because of a pregnancy, perhaps Family Heritage Alliance is saying that it is no more “necessary” to save her life than it is to give CPR to a person who collapses in front of us on the street and doesn’t have a pulse. Perhaps Family Heritage Alliance doesn’t want any of us getting in the way of God’s will. If that’s the case, I’d rather not go on a long bicycling trip or Black Hills hike with Norman Woods. I at least want to bring Dr. Jim or a good friend along who will actually help me if one of God’s creatures bites my leg.

If you’re sick, see a doctor. If you are intellectually and morally sick, see the Family Heritage Alliance—you’ll fit right in.


  1. Nick Nemec 2022-09-09

    Ectopic pregnancy?

  2. O 2022-09-09

    God’s will be done. There are no hard choices for man or woman make in the theocracy of the hardcore pro-life movement. We just need to get out of God’s way — even it that way is a medically avoidable wrecking ball. It’s all just a bit too much Jason Isbell’s “24 Frames” for me.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-09-09

    Just say it: radical christianic terrorism.

  4. 96Tears 2022-09-09

    Which has the highest incidence in America: Voter fraud that changes the outcome of elections, the teaching of CRT in public schools, guns being confiscated by Obama, males competing in girls’ sports or medically necessary abortions?

    Shucky-darn! It’s enough to make a Trumpanzee’s head explode! Thank God we got Kristi Noem protecting us from all of that! Freedom!

  5. Eve Fisher 2022-09-09

    Conservative #1: “There must be a blood sacrifice to our God who loves babies so much that we must allow all women who can’t carry them to term to die to prove we tried, Lord, we tried.”
    Conservative #2: “And also as punishment for not being able to carry a baby to term. After all, it must be the woman’s fault if she got any of these weird conditions, and who wants someone like that having children?”
    God: “F*** you all. I said love your neighbors, not kill them.”

  6. bearcreekbat 2022-09-09

    Women denied a legal abortion who die from a pregnancy gone wrong save the State the cost of a capital murder charge, trial and appeals if she instead would have had a medical abortion “perpetrated without authority of law and with a premeditated design to effect the death of . . . an unborn child. . . . ” SDCL 22-16-4. Executing someone can cost the State a ton of money in the long run, so simply allowing the pregnant woman to die without medical care would obviously be a more cost efficient means of retribution.

  7. John Dale 2022-09-09

    I think they play tricks with words sometimes .. I’ve spoken to some of the core group in SD against abortion .. they say something akin to, “well, if the mother’s life is in danger as is the case with a tube pregnancy, it’s not abortion.”

    This is a very difficult issue.

  8. All Mammal 2022-09-10

    The only difficult issue is getting it through the thick skulls of un evolved men that they cannot control women’s bodies. Or water. Tap. Tap. Religious, self absorbed, sanctimonious, weirdo, jealous, bad guys need to stop worrying about their stupid replacement theory or the fact women have the ability to do just fine without a man probing their body just to see his creation come out. Control a bonsai tree or something. Create a sculpture. Dig a tunnel and see where it goes. And concentrate on what you should control, not what you want to control to feel powerful. Let it go.

    The more you try, the uglier you become and it will be reflected in everything you touch. Crusade for the children at the border or the orphans in Syria and Yemen. God told you to do that anyways, but you’re ignoring Him because you’re too wrapped up in your satanic fetus worship. It isn’t healthy.

    Is it pure jealousy women are able to do something men can’t ever achieve? Don’t hate us cuz you ain’t us.

    The solution can come from keeping the laws equal. So if abortion is a crime, shouldn’t there be an equivalent for men? Every time a man ejaculates outside of the purpose to procreate, he is committing millions of murders. Every fefe should have a proper Christian burial. That would have to be performed by a ‘man of the cloth’ hehe.

  9. Bob Newland 2022-09-10

    It’s not difficult at all, John Dale. There is no reason a legislature needs to concern itself with a woman’s decision to rid herself of a foreign growth inside her. Such interference is a violation of personal sovereignty. Legislatures are supposed to deal with meandering waters and such.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-10

    Agreed, Bob: conservative thinking should lead easily to the conclusion that a woman’s decisions about her pregnancy are none of the government’s business.

    Anti-abortionists should not play word games. When they have to resort to word games to defend their position, they reveal the weakness, the untenability of their position.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-10

    An anti-abortion Republican couple in Texas discovered the untenability of their position when Texas’s abortion ban threatened Kailee DeSpain’s life:

    When Kailee and Cade found out she was pregnant, they desperately hoped for a “sticky baby” — a pregnancy that would stick — after her three miscarriages.

    But after multiple ultrasounds, the doctors’ prognosis was grim: His heart, lung, kidney and brain problems were severe, and his genetic disorder, called triploidy, meant he had an extra set of chromosomes. The doctors said that either Finley would die before birth, or if he did make it to term, he would die a few minutes or at most an hour after birth.

    …Staying pregnant with Finley could have put Kailee’s life in danger.

    She has two blood clotting disorders, which put her at a higher risk for having dangerous blood clots during pregnancy. Plus, mothers of babies with triploidy are more likely to get preeclampsia, a potentially deadly pregnancy disorder. Also, there was an increased risk for a placental abnormality associated with cancer.

    …The couple opted for abortion, driving 10 hours to a clinic in New Mexico. The procedure and travel cost $3,500. They hoped their insurance would cover the procedure, but Texas law strictly limits abortion coverage, and the clinic told them their insurance company declined to pay.

    The DeSpains didn’t have enough money — Kailee said she was docked pay at work because she’d had too many sick days — so Cade asked a relative he describes as “the epitome of the Trump fanboy” to give them the $3,500. The relative relented when Cade said that without the abortion, he could end up a widower at age 30.

    Cade said he didn’t like asking for the money, but “my job as a husband is to protect and love my wife. If I’m not fighting to keep her here, then I failed.”

    Kailee had the abortion in March, when she was 19 weeks pregnant [Elizabeth Cohen and Danielle Herman, “Once a ‘Quintessential Pro-Life Texan,’ She Had to Flee Her Home State to Get an Abortion,” CNN, 2022.09.09].

    Complicated and painful decision for the woman, certainly, but the state should not further complicate that decision.

  12. Bob Newland 2022-09-10

    By the time the 2023 SoDak Legislature puts its mushy asses in chairs in Pierre, there will be dozens and dozens of such stories as Cory recounts above. Every such story should, by itself, cause a voter rebellion. In their aggregate, they should inspire torches and pitchforks. The Family Heritage Alliance will respond that God is wreaking his vengeance with a terrible delayed and torturous sword.

  13. larry kurtz 2022-09-10

    FWIW, the Family Heritage Alliance estimates video lootery costs the state far more in real dollars than it generates in revenue yet the governor says cannabis is bad. If their numbers are accurate video lootery costs the state at least $280 million each year.

  14. M 2022-09-10

    Well, doctors should now test the DNA of all fetuses. From the beginning, fathers should be held responsible for 50% or more of all bills relating to their offspring. No choices

    I do want to thank those of you men who write in and defend the right to choose. You are a rare lot collectively. I know of one male in my town who advocates for abortion and he’s a doctor who has seen a thing or two.

    I suggest a field trip for everyone to visit the Embryotic Lab at Loma Linda’s Medical University Hospital in southern California. Forty years later and I’m still glad I did tubal ligation. Many specimens were carried to full term, only to be still born. Some looked like aliens and would never have survived without artificial means. Others were indescribable blobs that wouldn’t detach from the uterus wall. This was the 1982, the same year my sister nearly died from an ectopic pregnancy.

    What century is this?

  15. P. Aitch 2022-09-10

    @ M ~ Men who defend the right to choose are indeed a rare lot but that’s within the borders of South Dakota; whose legislature is a subservient arm of the Catholic Diocese.
    – Men who defend the right to choose are actually the majority of men in USA.
    – Imagine. A diocese of the Catholic Church that denies rights and benefits to Mexicans and Central Americans.
    – Only among the Germans from Russia clan would that be imaginable.

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