Guest Column

GUEST OPINION: Pro-abortion propaganda skews reasons for maternity care deserts

pro-life, American Medical Association

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this guest post are solely those of the guest author. 

In a recent article from the Michigan Independent, author Rebekah Sager does an excellent job of covering the growing fact that almost 20% of the counties of Michigan are facing a shortage when it comes to maternity care. This number is even larger nationwide, as 32.6% of people of childbearing age live in maternity care deserts. What is a maternity care desert? March of Dimes defines it as, “A county was classified as a maternity care desert if there were no hospitals providing obstetric care, no birth centers, no OB/GYN and no certified nurse midwives.”

This issue is very real. The county I live and work in has gone from over 4 OB/GYN offices to only 1 in less than a year, which has increased the number of clients seeking services at our pregnancy resource center just to be able to get in to see an out of county OB/GYN.

As mentioned in the article, there are issues in rural areas where there are not enough births to support the staff and services required for maternity units. We also see the continued move of services from being spread out to becoming consolidated in large population centers, leaving many more than 30 minutes away from a hospital where they can give birth. According to the article, around 50% of births in Michigan are also covered under Medicaid, which pays much less per birth than insurance does, leaving those in the field under financial pressure. These factors combined give us a reasonable explanation as to why these deserts are appearing.

While there certainly is validity to some of these issues, we will look at the larger philosophical reasoning later. 

In this article published on the Michigan Independent website, it is titled “Hospital Maternity Units are Closing Across Michigan.” Much more menacing and misleading is the obviously biased and skewed title as seen in their published version of the paper, where the exact same article is titled “Overturn of Roe Also Behind Closure of Hospital Maternity Units.” This is the continued fear-mongering that we often see from the pro-abortion side, overextending issues and trying to make them fit their narrative.

READ: Maternity care suffers in rural areas while media falsely blames pro-life laws 

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, it appears that all healthcare issues are now abortion-related somehow. The argument goes (as made in the article briefly) that anyone working in the realm of women’s health is now afraid to do their jobs as they could be sued or charged with a crime. This disingenuous argument has been extended by others to stating that pro-life laws do not allow for the treatment of ectopic pregnancies or other situations that require actual medical intervention. For those actually conducting women’s and maternal healthcare there is no fear of running afoul of any law that bans abortion.

Considering that the CDC has demonstrated that maternal health figures are seemingly improving post-Dobbs overall health of mothers has done the opposite of getting worse despite what pro-abortion advocates insist. 

So, what is the actual problem? Fundamentally, the problem of closing maternity wards and consolidation of OBGYN’s leaving large swaths of the nation as maternity care deserts comes from our culture that does not appreciate or value life. Our society has prioritized comfort and material goods over the gift that life brings. With young people holding off marriage, and even when they do get married choosing deliberately not to have kids (as seen with the DINK trend on social media); one of the key building blocks of our society is being ignored. That is, having and raising the next generation. 

What would our maternity wards and OBGYNs look like if we were not choosing to put off marriage and kids until later in life? With the birth rate in almost every western nation below the replacement rate, it makes total sense that our services to support births are declining. If people think “having a kid is too expensive” and that notion is parroted by everyone else in society, then of course it will discourage people from having children. How is it that this explanation is not at the forefront of our minds, rather than accepting the politically charged accusations against those who wish to protect life.

Our role should be two-fold. First, we must deconstruct the destructive arguments of pro-abortion propaganda that places the responsibility on those wishing to preserve life. Even seemingly well researched academic studies are beginning to be rescinded due to an obvious pro-abortion bias. We know that as we move farther from the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the political pressure will become stronger to fold against proven science such as ‘abortion pill reversal‘, and advocacy for the true impacts that abortion has on both women and men which are all hidden by Planned Parenthood and other advocates so they can keep making money. 

Secondly, in every way possible, we should move our mindset and actions in a way that encourages couples if they are able to have children. Whatever economic cost people associate with child-bearing and rearing is nothing in comparison to the joy that they bring in life. And more importantly the essential nature of raising the next generation of people who will continue the mission for life. 

Bio: Joel Webb works at a Pregnancy Resource Center in South-Eastern Michigan as an operations manager. He is also on pastoral staff at a local church while pursuing his Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Northeastern Seminary in Rochester NY. 

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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