Reader's View: If mother’s life is at risk, let her choose

Most people agree that if the mother will most certainly die, then the pregnancy should be terminated.

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I am pro-life and pro-choice. Impossible? I’ll explain.

I am pro-life because I believe every person in the U.S. has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am pro-choice for exactly the same reason. In the case of the baby, he/she has the right to be carried to term in order to exercise his/her rights. In the case of the woman, she should be allowed to abort the pregnancy If carrying that baby to term will result in her death.

The conflict arises when we as a society decide what level of risk is acceptable to the mother such that we will force the woman to carry the baby to term. Most people agree that if the mother will most certainly die, then the pregnancy should be terminated.

But what if the risk is somewhat less than 100%? For example, what if the risk is 10 times greater that a woman you know and love will die as a result of carrying a baby to term compared to the risk of dying by aborting her pregnancy? You might think it impossible to determine these risks, but data are available (

In the U.S., the risk of a woman dying within 24 hours after delivering a healthy baby is 18 times greater than the risk of her death as the result of an abortion. Among African American women, the risk is 90-fold greater.


I’m not saying I think abortion is a good idea, and I celebrate those women willing to take the risk of carrying a baby to term, but I don’t think our government should be forcing a woman to take an 18-fold-greater risk with her life than if she were allowed to choose.

Roger Lindberg


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