It is commonly thought that the pro-life stance involves a focus in saving the life of the vulnerable child in the womb at all costs, even to the detriment of the mother. But the pro life view is wider than this.

In Human Life International‘s article “Prioritizing Both Lives” published last year in October, we are reminded about the effective and holistic perspective of focusing on saving the life of the mother as well as the life of the child: saving both lives! This approach has been highly successful. It is not so much a matter of deciding which life to save of the two as it is finding a way to support both lives.


Where abortion was once thought the only solution to saving life of the mother, we learn in Human Life International’s article that it is in fact never medically necessary. We have known for many decades that abortion is not required to treat complications in pregnancy. In 1951, Dr. Roy Heffernan said, “Anyone who performs a therapeutic abortion is either ignorant of modern methods of treating the complications of pregnancy or unwilling to take the time to use them.”

Continuing with a pregnancy has been shown to have even better outcomes for women with difficult medical conditions compared to women with those same conditions who choose to end the life of a child apparently seen to be aggravating the situation. There is also much to be done medically in the context of today’s medical advancements. Women have even received cancer treatment while pregnant. Dr. Lyle, referring to a surgery in which the unborn child was the cancer treatment recipient, said that because there were two patients involved in the process, the mother and the child, two anesthesiologists were involved in the procedure. One focused on pain prevention for the mother, and one focused on pain prevention for the baby in the womb. Both were patients and the surgery was a success.

In brief, in pregnancy there are two patients involved in every medical decision. The mother and the child, although closely linked, are two separate individuals, two separate bodies. We are to take both lives into consideration at all times. This is the true and integral pro-life stance




“We don’t need abortion to save mom’s life.” Human Life International. July 2022.

Dr. Roy Heffernan. American College of Surgeons Presentation. 1951.

Dr. William Lyle, D.O. June 17, 2023 Hamilton, Ontario.