What about the real and substantial risk to the life of the mother?

It is important to be clear what we mean by phrases like “termination of pregnancy” or the need for abortion “where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother.”

Those campaigning for abortion purposely use emotive language, blurring the key ethical distinctions to push the case for legalised abortion. Words like “abortion” and phrases like “termination of pregnancy” are routinely used in quite different ways in different contexts.

Regarding the phrase “termination of pregnancy”, it is important to remember that all pregnancies are terminated. Most of them terminate with the birth of a normal healthy baby. Some unborn babies die as an unavoidable and unintended result of some life-saving treatment of the mother.

Furthermore some babies die, in spite of the best efforts of all involved, as a result of being born too early: such births may occur spontaneously or may be induced in cases where induction represents the only, albeit very low, chance of survival.

Clearly, then, there is a real ethical distinction between necessary medical interventions in pregnancy where the baby may be exposed to some risks and induced abortion where the life of the baby is directly and intentionally targeted.