The ABC medical drama The Good Doctor has hit a pro-life note several times in the last few seasons and this week’s episode did so again, this time by seeming to admit that a fetus in the womb is a life worth trying to save.
In the March 6 episode, “Old Friends,” a pregnant patient in distress is told that her illness will likely compromise her health and the health of her unborn baby. And as her two attending physicians describe her options, she is told that her condition will likely lead to her death if she insists on trying to save her baby. However, one of the doctors admits that she would try to save the life of the fetus if she were in the patient’s shoes.
Dr. Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) suggests abortion immediately and without hesitation. Her fellow attending, Dr. Jordan Allen (Bria Samone Henderson), is not quite as prepared to wave off the life of the child that the patient is carrying.
In one scene, stricken mother Sonja (Elyse Maloway) is being counseled on her options in consultation with Drs. Reznick and Allen during which Reznick says terminating the pregnancy is the safest option, but Allen suggests she would seek other options to save the baby:
Sonja: “What would you do…if it was your baby? ”
Reznick: “Termination is the safest. ”
Sonja: “I was talking to Dr. Allen.”
Allen: “I would…pray on it. ”
Sonja: “And then? I want to know what you would do. ”
Allen: “I think I…would try to save the baby. ”
Sonja: “We have to fight for our Esther.”
This pro-life stance for the Dr. Allen character is not a new theme. Allen has stood up for Christianity and pro-life ideals and against abortion in several past episodes over the previous few seasons. Indeed, just this season, Allen refused to resort to abortion in a high-risk pregnancy. In that episode the lives of the baby and mother were saved, Newsbusters noted.
In another scene on Monday’s episode, Reznick and Allen are discussing the case with their boss, Chief of Surgery Dr. Audrey Lim (Christina Chang), when Reznick states that Sonja has chorioamnionitis and the best treatment for that would harm the baby in the patient’s womb, but keep the mother alive.
Reznick: “It’s our only way to keep Sonja alive, and it buys us time to convince her to terminate. She’s being suicidal.”
Allen: “Risking your life for your child is usually considered admirable.”
Reznick: “Not if you’re both going to die…because of the false hope you gave her.”
Allen: “I answered a patient’s question.”
Reznick: “You gave her permission. We’re supposed to at least try to be objective.”
Lim: “Objectivity is a myth, especially on this subject.”
During that same conversation, Dr. Allen fights for the patient’s right to make her own choice about whether or not to try and save her baby’s life.
Despite these examples of pro-life sentiment, abortion is still presented as a mere “medical procedure” of convenience when Dr. Lim explains that she had an abortion as a young medical student because she was just “not ready” to be a mother.
Ultimately, the patient’s illness is portrayed as simply too insurmountable to save both her and her baby and the doctors agree on termination so that they can focus on the mother’s disease is their only option. Otherwise, both would die.
The patient, though, is still centered on saving her baby, even if she has to die in the process. At this point, it was up to Dr. Allen to explain why termination has finally become the only option. Allen wakes the patient, who is on a ventilator, to explain the situation and to get the patient to sign the consent form for termination. In so doing, Dr. Allen describes her personal struggle.
“When I was 18, I had an abortion. That child would have been 11 now — just starting middle school. Every time I see a kid that age, I think about who they would have become or what kind of mom I would have been,” Dr. Allen tells her patient.
“I believe God’s forgiven me. That’s kinda His thing. And I believe God picked you for motherhood. You are so strong, so brave, with such a deep capacity for love,” Dr. Allen continued. “But your Esther isn’t developed enough to survive outside of the womb. The infection will kill both of you. I told you if I were you, I would try to save the baby. I prayed for a miracle. And I don’t know why it didn’t come today. The only way for you to be the mom God wants you to be… …is to let Esther go.”
The segment ends with Sonja and her husband having a baptismal rite for their deceased infant after the surgery that saves the mother’s life.
While the episode is unusual for modern woke TV by even presenting the pro-life side of the argument in a positive light at all, it is also a not-so-subtle nod to the left’s favorite pro-abortion argument, the “life of the mother” point. Abortion supporters push this line as if it is a common occurrence. Still, even the liberal Guttmacher Institute notes that “life of the mother” abortions are so infrequent that stats on such abortions are not really compiled. But one study by the International Family Planning Perspectives journal found that only about 2.8 percent of abortions are performed to protect the life of the mother. And a 2013 study found that only about 6 percent of women who had an abortion said they did so to save their own lives. Both studies relied on claims, though, and neither were based on proven medical necessity.
Regardless, it is clear that abortion for the life of the mother occurs in but a very small percentage of abortions and the lion’s share of abortions are performed for the convenience of the mother, not out of medical necessity.
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