A new birthing center is opening in Buffalo, New York.

It will be only the third free-standing birthing center in New York State when it opens in November, offering nurse-midwifery services for low-risk pregnancies based on natural childbirth.

The birthing center also is likely to be the only one in the United States combined with an abortion clinic, as it is a project of Buffalo Womenservices, 2500 Main St.

I’m not sure what to say about this. I think providers offering prenatal and birth services should consider both mother and child to be patients deserving of the best possible care. It’s hard for me to reconcile that with the practice of elective abortion. I know that’ll piss some people off. It’s not that I subscribe to the idea that abortion providers are, by definition, depraved and callously indifferent to human life. (Though you can make a case for that with people like Kermit Gosnell.) I know that many are just trying to help women. But I just don’t get how the same entity could be a baby, a patient, whose life the clinic will do all they can to preserve, on one side of the building and a mere “product of conception” to be removed (lethally, it must be said) on the other. That kind of dissonance doesn’t seem healthy.

But healthy or not, it isn’t new. It’s not even unusual. Armies have doctors, and sometimes enemies become patients. In fact, military doctors are legally and ethically obligated to treat enemy soldiers. Prisons have doctors, even for inmates on Death Row. And I wouldn’t want them not to. So I guess I come down with Karen Swallow Prior on this one:

“We should welcome any place that cultivates the life-affirming choice of birth. This is about choosing life, and that is positive,” said Karen Swallow Prior, a former Buffalo resident who was involved in anti-abortion activism here.

Mainly, I just hope that Womenservices’ birthing center sees a lot more use than the other side of their operation.