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The Maternal Health Necessity Myth

The deVeber Institute conducts and communicates research about topics related to the biological, social, and ethical dimensions of human life. The Maternal Health Necessity Myth is one of the summer intern projects that falls under the area of Prenatal Diagnosis. Included is a brief explanation of the Maternal Health Necessity Myth and an excerpt from the research.

Some physicians and politicians have been making claims about adverse effects of fetal abnormalities on a mother’s physical health being a reason for an abortion. Here is an excerpt from the summary of the research into the validity of the Maternal Health Necessity claim:

“However, a mother’s psychological and physical health are two distinct and separate factors, and when physical health is sometimes cited[1], there is no supporting scientific evidence provided that usual fetal abnormalities for which abortions are requested[2] such as Down syndrome and cleft palate have any deleterious physical health effects on the mother at all”

Submitted by Raphael Ma, Summer Intern at the deVeber Institute

[1] Italy (2002) "Abortion Policies; A Global Review" United Nations Population Division Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  Page 74 [Available online].  http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion/doc/italy.doc.

[2] Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (1998) “Report on late term terminations of pregnancy April 1988” Acute Health Division. Department of Human Services. Victoria, Australia. [Available on-line] http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/ahs/archive/report/report7.htm