Families are stronger when all members recognize that every life has value from conception to natural death. In a society where the political agenda is abortion-friendly, it is sometimes difficult to know where to draw the line. Is every abortion wrong? What should be done with pregnancies that began in incest or rape? Is abortion essential health care?
There are many tough decisions involving abortion. However, pro-life advocates worry that the political agenda about abortion is now affecting the medical specialty of obstetrics and gynecology. Nevertheless, OB-GYN medical professionals who are also pro-life are upholding the sanctity of life as they oppose the idea that abortions are part of essential health care.
Dr. Christina Francis is the chairwoman of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). Francis spoke about the situation with Virginia Allen at The Daily Signal and made this statement, “The fact that 85% of women’s health care specialists don’t perform abortion, to me, tells you everything you need to know that abortion is not essential health care because if it was, you wouldn’t have only 15% of OB-GYNs performing it.” Francis continued by saying that AAPLOG “has submitted amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in defense of our members’ conscience rights and on every major abortion case since 1973.” Most Americans know that 1973 is the year that the Supreme Court legalized abortion with its Roe v. Wade decision.
Francis considers helping women and children as her mission in life. She enjoys being a part of women’s lives from their teenage years to their menopause years. However, her mission is to take this message to the women and girls in this nation and around the world: “abortion is not good for them.” Francis stated that she was “always” prolife. Her family is Christian, and her parents taught her about the sanctity of life and that we are all children of God and valuable to Him. In addition, her mother works for a [National] Right to Life affiliate in Southern Indiana. However, she did not know why she was pro-life for a long time, and she did not know how to defend her position beyond her Christian faith.
This changed one day after her best friend studied abortion during the 40 Days for Life. She called Francis and said, “We need to talk.” Then she enlightened Francis: “Well, you’re a woman, and you’re an OB-GYN, and you say that you’re pro-life. But what are you really doing about it? I think that you could be doing so much more.” Francis thought about the challenging words of her friend and decided, “She’s right.”
And I find myself in this position where I’m a woman, and so regardless of whether this is correct or not, I think that people tend to listen to women a little bit more on this issue. Even though I’m of the opinion, certainly, that men have just as much of a say about whether abortion is right or not. But I’m a woman and I’m an OB-GYN, and so I see these preborn children from their very earliest stages, the earliest that we can see them.
And I see them throughout pregnancy, and I see them when they’re born. And I see all of the emotions that go along with a pregnancy, whether it be a wanted pregnancy or an unplanned pregnancy. Because of that, and because of my medical training, maybe I am really uniquely positioned to be able to address this. So it really was just kind of a searching of my heart, of totally shifting my perspective….
And so [I] just did a lot of soul searching. And I’ll tell you that the moment that I think I knew for sure that this was what I was supposed to do was: I was in Washington, D.C., for national March for Life and I went to the Holocaust [Memorial] Museum there…. I was in one of the rooms in the museum that talks about kind of the lack of response to what was going on to this Holocaust, this slaughter of millions of innocent people that was going on.
And the lack of response from the U.S. and other Western countries. And I just remember thinking when I was sitting in that room and I was reading some of the news articles and listening to the audio commentary. I just remember getting very indignant and thinking, “Man, if I would have been alive back then I would have done something, there’s no way I could have been quiet about that.” How could people know that millions of innocent people were being killed and not do anything about it?
The irony of that thought hit me in that moment. And I just thought, there’s a holocaust going on right now. There’s a holocaust of preborn children who are being killed every day for the sake of convenience. And not only are preborn children being killed, but women are being harmed. And they’re being lied to about abortion and about what abortion can, quote unquote, accomplish for them or help them to accomplish.
I know better and so why am I not saying anything or doing anything about it? And so that really was kind of my defining moment, I would say. I’d always considered myself pro-life, but [that’s] where I just thought, “OK, I can’t be silent about this anymore.” …
… I was very lucky and blessed to receive some pro-life apologetics training from Scott Klusendorf with Life Training Institute. And just really for the first time, I think ever in my life, [I] saw that yes, being a Christian informs my stance on abortion. But also even if I wasn’t a Christian I would still be pro-life, because it just makes sense when you look at true human equality. And when you look at the fact that science tells us beyond a shadow of a doubt that those preborn children are full-fledged, whole, distinct, and living human beings from the moment of fertilization.
Francis said that her “duty as a physician is to protect that life as well as the life of the mother.” Once her eyes were opened to her mission, she gradually met other pro-life people and was introduced to the CEO at AAPLOG. She had another eye-opening experience when she attended her first AAPLOG conference.
We hold an annual educational conference every year for physicians and other medical professionals that provide academic-level presentations for continuing medical education about different aspects of abortion and the pro-life movement and conscience protections in medicine….
But I was blown away at the level of the presentations that were given, the science that was presented. And realizing that science really is on the side of the pro-life movement. Not only when you look at the fact that these preborn children are in fact human beings and deserving of our protection, but also when you look at the overwhelming evidence that exists, that abortion is harmful for women. Not only does it end the life of an innocent human being, but it also sometimes permanently harms the life of that woman who has made that abortion decision, oftentimes under duress, or just in a moment of panic. Not realizing and not being told by the abortion industry, that this is going to harm her lifelong.
And so that was another life-changing moment for me to say not only should I be defending the rights of these preborn children, but man, in my practice and in my interactions with colleagues, I need to be passing this information along. That really, if we’re recommending what’s best for our patients, that’s never going to include abortion.
There is much more to Francis’ story. The bottom line is that she wants to arm other physicians and people in the medical field with information on how to oppose the political agenda of abortion. That information is contained in this idea:
I’m opposing abortion because it’s bad for my patient. I’m not just opposing abortion because I have a moral objection to it; I’m opposing it because it’s bad for my patient. And it’s bad for me as health care provider to violate my conscience, to violate what I know to be best for my patient, just to give into this cultural narrative.
Just as Francis uses her knowledge as a Christian and as a physician to oppose abortion because abortions are bad for both the child and the mother. We can also use our knowledge to oppose the abortion political agenda. We know that a pre-born baby is more than just a clump of cells as we were once told because we can see the baby in a sonogram. We can oppose abortion on demand because it is bad for child and mother, and we can strengthen our family, community, and nation as we do so.