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Answers from our Priests for Life Medical Team

Submitted by: C on  8/11/2011
Answered by: Matthew P. Harrison, M.D.
Topic: Pulmonary Hypertension and Pregnancy
Pulmonary Hypertension is a very dangerous disease for a woman to have and then get pregnant. Recently I was trying to get a woman to keep her 10 week old unborn baby, but her doctors were adamantly telling her to abort as she probably would die if she decided to keep her baby. She had the abortion the next day. What say a pro-life doctor on this?
Thank you for standing for life!  Your questions is a good one and I have been faced with this in the past.  Pulmonary hypertension can be very serious and extreme and the large increase in total body fluid volume during pregnancy can make this very challenging.  I would counsel this mother to contact a pro-life cardiologist that can assist with her care.  The vast majority of women can be managed with oral medications to, at the very least, allow the development of their child to get past the 24 week mark, at which time the baby can be delivered and treated if needed.  Mothers can also be admitted to the hospital for closer monitoring if needed and IV therapy.  Unfortunately, I have counselled women outside of abortion mills that have gone for an abortion on the advice of their doctor because they have a "murmur" and the baby could hurt them.  It is not unusual for pregnant women to get unharmful murmurs anyway during pregnancy and this is very dangerous advice for a doctor to give.  As a part of the medical profession, we should be focusing on saving both the life of the baby and the mother.  Two patients are at risk here and it is medically unethical to sacrifice one patient in hopes of saving another patient from any real or theoretical harm.  Keep up your good work in New York.

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