Saturday, August 10, 2019

Live Action News: Ectopic Pregnancy Warrants Abortion


By Corinna Swetz

A pro-life group reputed for its defense of human life has unveiled its true colors about the taking of human life.

Live Action News posted a video titled, "The Pro-Life Reply to: Abortion Can Be Medically Necessary." https://youtu.be/5TmomK2RB2A While feigning to reject the argument that "abortion is medically necessary," they turn around and argue in its defense.

According to Live Action, an abortion is no longer an abortion when it involves an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when the newly conceived child upon conception attaches itself somewhere other than the lining of the uterine wall, e.g. the fallopian tubes, posing risk to the child and mother. In such a situation, they view "terminating the pregnancy" (code language for "killing the baby") as "medically necessary" and deny that this is an abortion.

Speaking for Live Action News, neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb says: (editor’s notes in brackets)

“Some will also confuse the necessary treatment for an ectopic pregnancy with an abortion…. When a preborn child implants outside the uterus, it is a hostile environment for the baby in which it cannot survive [false, they sometimes survive], and sadly, removing the baby from the fallopian tube or abdominal cavity is necessary, as an ectopic pregnancy will inevitably end in a miscarriage [not true] and may threaten the mother’s life. These situations are devastating, however they are not considered abortions.” [by the pro-abort people, that is]


Nay. Taking the life of the unborn under any circumstances is abortion. And while the Church has no specific teaching on how to deal with ectopic pregnancy, it is very specific on its teaching about abortion, which unfortunately occurs in the course of treating ectopic pregnancy, i.e. the artificial ejection of the living child from the mother’s womb. Several popes have made it clear that there is nothing that can outdo the evil of abortion, and this would include any good that could come about in treating ectopic pregnancy.

Hence the principle of double effect would not apply in this case, since the secondary effect (abortion) is far worse than any good that can be accomplished in treating ectopic pregnancy. 

If in fact doctors know that a pre-born child will die in a miscarriage, then the only moral thing to do is to let the baby die naturally. For only God, the Giver of human life, may take human life. No man may play God. 

However, it can never be said with certainty that an ectopic baby will not survive the pregnancy. The baby could be implanted into the uterus later during pregnancy or otherwise survive by unforeseen or miraculous means, as we have often seen. There is a plethora of documented information showing that ectopic pregnancies have born healthy children from time to time. https://www.lifenews.com/2015/12/28/miracle-twin-babies-survive-rare-ectopic-pregnancy-after-mom-had-her-tubes-removed/

Even so, Live Action insists that babies of ectopic pregnancies need to be removed surgically, yet they deny this is abortion. Kendra says, “Abortion unnecessarily ends the lives of children,” alleging thereby that it is sometimes necessary to end the lives of children. Such “necessary” ending of human life is abortion, and as such, incurs the guilt of murder.

There is a huge moral difference between an ectopic baby dying a natural death via miscarriage and being "terminated" by a doctor removing him or her from the womb. The former is an act of God while the latter is the case of arrogant man playing God.  

This is not to mention that a misdiagnosis of ectopic pregnancy is always possible, since man can err. It isn't rare that doctors make a mistake and erroneously come to the conclusion that their patient has this or that medical condition.

Sadly, these false diagnoses are often deliberate. Doctors will often declare a healthy baby to be ectopic or “brain dead” just to harvest his organs or simply out of a demonic thirst for blood.

The mother needs to realize that if she “terminates her pregnancy” she has committed an abortion, regardless of what the Medical Deities (MDs) or pseudo "pro-life" experts would have her think. Should a woman find herself in this situation, she needs to beg God for the courage to keep her baby and accept the results. At least by doing this, she won't be guilty of blood but can rest in peace, whether or not she or the child survives. 

Even if doctors know the diagnosis is absolutely correct and the baby or mother will absolutely die, the baby still deserves the basic care of remaining in the mother's womb until natural death (miscarriage).

Live Action disagrees. Their rationale opens the door to "pulling the plug" on the terminally ill and denying them basic care on the grounds that "the patient is going to die anyway." With this “ectopic” argument, withdrawal of artificial life support is justified where people are now encouraged to deny it is slow euthanasia, i.e. murder.



Making excuses for abortion and euthanasia has become common these days, even among some “pro-lifers,” but this shouldn’t surprise us. After all, if population-control experts can infiltrate the Vatican today they can certainly infiltrate the pro-life movement. We’re living in perilous times when the agents of darkness have now sown their lethal agenda into every walk of life, so we need to “Watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is." (Mark 13:33) The words of the Apostle Peter especially apply at this time:

Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Corinna Swetz is 28 years old. Originally from Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada, she moved to Los Angeles five years ago with the earnest hope of becoming an American citizen. She's a fervent Catholic, enjoys writing, and is a staunch defender of conservative values on the Catholic and political blogosphere. Corinna had authored an exquisite book of poems, Poetic Reflections, which is available on Amazon.

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

Removal of ectopic pregnancy, usually from a Fallopian tube was never regarded as direct abortion. Either by the Church or anyone else. If the pregnancy is not removed the tube will rupture and the child will certainly die and the mother almost certainly will as well. This article is very ill informed.

David Martin said...

Re: Anonymous - Your argument echoes that of today's modernists who are always excusing sin. The removal of pregnancy for any reason is always an abortion. Nor does the child of an ectopic pregnancy "always die." This is an untruth and one that has been disproved many times by the facts --- the fact of a successful birth.

Peter Watson said...

I support the views of Anonymous 9:33 PM. It is standard Catholic moral theology that the surgical removal of an ectopic pregnancy in a fallopian tube is justified on the ground of secondary effect. The primary intention of the surgery is to treat a pathological organ in the mother's body. The single issue 'pro-life' brigade need to familiarize themselves with Catholic teaching in this area.

The same goes with the application of the same principle at a person's end of life. Palliative care often involves massive doses of morphine primarily to relieve pain but the secondary effect is to assist and accelerate the natural processes of dying.

Anonymous said...

The removal of the Fallopian tube when ectopic pregnancy occurs is not, and never was, regarded as DIRECT abortion, which is when the intention is to kill the developing child. It is extremely unusual for a child to develop to anywhere near term a Fallopian tube. So much so it can be discounted. Roughly one in three million. The tube normally ruptures between six and sixteen weeks.The later the rupture the greater the blood loss , and greater risk of death in the mother.

Anonymous said...

Completely correct ...Peter Watson..

Anonymous said...

The Principle of Double Effect is not a modernist proposition, it is Thomistic. Google search it.

In Fallopian pregnancy, the implanted baby is not removed from the Fallopian tube like a baby is removed from a uterus in an abortion...the pathologic Fallopian tube itself is entirely removed. It isnt the same as removing a kidney stone from a kidney, but more like removing the kidney itself because it is so sick that it represents an immediate threat to life of the patient. The fallopian tube is NOT the baby, even if the baby is inside of it. There is never an intention to harm the baby, nor is the means (a standard fallopian tube resection that might be performed for a variety of pathologic causes apart from ectopic pregnancy) intrinsically evil. Therefore the Principle of Double Effect can apply, as sad and awful as the unintended secondary effect, the death of the child, might be.

The Principle of Double Effect, however, does not apply to chemical means of addressing ectopic pregnancies. Abortifacient medications can end an ectopic pregnancy early to save a mother, but the means (chemical abortion) are never permissible and one cannot give a women an abortifacient chemical without intending the primary effect of it to be the death of the child.

It is a subtle be real difference that doesnt rely on modernist inconsistency but classical reasoning.

Verle James said...

David Martin:

When you are uniformed, uneducated idiot, you do your cause no good.
Please get some education before addressing these issues.

M. Prodigal said...

I support the views of Anonymous 9:33 PM. It is standard Catholic moral theology that the surgical removal of an ectopic pregnancy in a fallopian tube is justified on the ground of secondary effect...

YES, there is a moral teaching about double effect. It is not an 'abortion' this is desired.

fatty said...

It's not only the position of Live Action, but also of Holy Mother Church. Get informed before attacking.

Corinna Swetz said...

Clearly, you tip your hat to abortion which is why my article has pricked your guilty conscience. And please don't drag St. Thomas Aquinas into your concession to anti-life. Live Action tips their hat to feminism in many ways so you should be in the know about this.

Unknown said...

Well, since people are calling David Martin "uni[n]formed" and an "idiot" who needs to get with the position of "Holy Mother Church," will anybody practice fraternal charity and actually show where one can find this alleged teaching of Holy Mother Church that it is an exception to the universal norm against deliberately hastening the death of an innocent person if one is to remove an ectopically-attached unborn child from his or her mother's body?

It should be easy to point to some authoritative source. I look forward to your well-informed responses.

fatty said...

https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2012-0815-weling-ectopic-pregnancy.htm

No one is supporting abortion, but if a fetus implants in the fallopian tube it is virtually a death warrant for mother and child.

Peter Watson said...

Below are some references on the moral application of the Church's teaching on the principle of double effect as it relates to removal of a section of a pathological fallopian tube.
This is not some 'modernist' subterfuge; it is standard Catholic teaching.


David Cruz-Uribe, “Ectopic Pregnancy and the Principle of Double Effect” VoxNova August 28, 2013. (Retrieved from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/2013/08/28/ectopic-pregnancy-and-the-principle-of-double-effect/ 11/08/2019)
Fr. Charles Grondin, “Ectopic Pregnancy and Double Effect” Catholic Answers. (Retrieved from https://www.catholic.com/qa/ectopic-pregnancy-and-double-effect 08/11/2019
K. Schiffer, “When Pregnancy Goes Awry: The Moral Ending to an Ectopic Pregnancy” NCRegister Nov 7, 2015, (Retrieved from http://www.ncregister.com/blog/kschiffer/xxxxwhen-pregnancy-goes-awry-the-moral-ending-to-an-ectopic-pregnancy 08/11/2019)

David Martin said...

Abortion defined is the artificial ejection of the living child from the woman's body, which is exactly what happens in the "treatment" of an ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, it is an abortion. Ectopic pregnancy diagnoses are often just fabrications and used as excuses to eliminate the innocent.

If in fact it is truly an ectopic pregnancy, then the moral thing to do is let God take the child through a miscarriage. It is a lie to say that this will absolutely harm the mother. Facts and history show otherwise. In some cases, the child is born normal and healthy.

David Martin said...

Re: Peter Watson - Several of these "sources" are in league with antilife. Catholic Answers? NC Catholic Register? They're of the modern church. For instance, Catholic Answers wholeheartedly endorses the Vatican II teaching that "Muslims adore the one God, who has spoken to men." (Nostra Aetate)

Kathleen1031 said...

This does not sound correct. I'm very concerned pregnant women may read this article and conclude they should just sit tight with an ectopic pregnancy. I am no theologian, but am, I hope, a properly discerning Catholic, and this just does not sound right. I ask you to please pull this commentary and do some additional investigation from trusted sources. I do not believe an ectopic pregnancy is an abortion in the same sense as we know abortions generally are performed. As far as I know the mother will die if an ectopic pregnancy continues and chances are great the baby will as well. This is not at all the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you David Martin. You gave us a little window into the irrationality and pig-headed thinking on the part of some that opened the door to the spirit of Vatican II.

PW said...

The removal of a pathological section of a fallopian tube is a moral act according to Catholic moral teaching on the principle of double effect. Shooting the messenger and/or medium ultimately serves no purpose.

Thanks for your wisdom and Baptized common sense, Kathleen 1031. Yours is an outstanding Catholic response.

Anonymous said...

No, no Kathleen. According to this article, performing a salpingectomy to save the mother is immoral. The moral course of action is to do nothing so that either God intervenes or both mother and child die. My only question is, should analgesia be given to the mother or should she be compelled to unite her pain to the cross while she dies an agonizing death?

Unknown@ 1:28pm...I'm looking for a 15th century authoritative source of Church permitted gynecological procedures. I'll get back to you soon.

Marian said...

So a woman with an ectopic pregnancy should just let the tube rupture so they can both die? Not very charitable. I’d be dead, thank you very much. An ectopic pregnancy does not pass through. It is embedded in the Fallopian tube and grows there until the tube bursts. Then a rush of hemorrhaging begins, and the woman will bleed to death without emergency surgery, assuming she is with someone who can get her to a hospital quickly enough. Do you really believe a woman should have to take those chances with her life? Would you really call it an abortion when the purpose is to save her life?

fatty said...

"Abortion defined is the artificial ejection of the living child from the woman's body"

Please provide a reference. Sounds rather irrational. You have no basis in Catholic moral teaching in regard to the removal of an ectopic pregnancy in a fallopian tube as being a direct abortion. You are being foolish and further prove that this website has no understanding of what the Church teaches. An implanted fetus in the fallopian tube means certain death for the mother and the child. A fillopian tube is half an inch in diameter. A child will not grow in that environment. At a certain point the tissue will rupture and the mother will hemmorhage and the child will definitely die as will as the mother. Learn basic medicine as well as the teachings of the Church. In an act of humility admit you don't know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Keeping this foolish, ignorant post up is irresponsible and dangerous.

No woman should refuse or avoid sound, established medical treatment in an ectopic pregnancy situation because of it.

fatty said...

"Re: Peter Watson - Several of these "sources" are in league with antilife. Catholic Answers? NC Catholic Register? They're of the modern church. For instance, Catholic Answers wholeheartedly endorses the Vatican II teaching that "Muslims adore the one God, who has spoken to men." (Nostra Aetate)"-Since this site rejects the teachings of the Church all should view anything they post with suspicion.

Anonymous said...

Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917:


"However, if medical treatment or surgical operation, necessary to save a mother's life, is applied to her organism (though the child's death would, or at least might, follow as a regretted but unavoidable consequence), it should not be maintained that the fetal life is thereby directly attacked. Moralists agree that we are not always prohibited from doing what is lawful in itself, though evil consequences may follow which we do not desire. The good effects of our acts are then directly intended, and the regretted evil consequences are reluctantly permitted to follow because we cannot avoid them. The evil thus permitted is said to be indirectly intended. It is not imputed to us provided four conditions are verified, namely:

That we do not wish the evil effects, but make all reasonable efforts to avoid them;
That the immediate effect be good in itself;
That the evil is not made a means to obtain the good effect; for this would be to do evil that good might come of it — a procedure never allowed;
That the good effect be as important at least as the evil effect.
All four conditions may be verified in treating or operating on a woman with child. The death of the child is not intended, and every reasonable precaution is taken to save its life; the immediate effect intended, the mother's life, is good — no harm is done to the child in order to save the mother — the saving of the mother's life is in itself as good as the saving of the child's life. Of course provision must be made for the child's spiritual as well as for its physical life, and if by the treatment or operation in question the child were to be deprived of Baptism, which it could receive if the operation were not performed, then the evil would be greater than the good consequences of the operation. In this case the operation could not lawfully be performed. Whenever it is possible to baptize an embryonic child before it expires, Christian charity requires that it be done, either before or after delivery; and it may be done by any one, even though he be not a Christian."

Anonymous said...

"Abortion defined is the artificial ejection of the living child from the woman's body..."

Nope. If that definition were true, then c-sections would be abortions. C-sections are most definitely artificial. C-sections eject the living child from the woman's body. Yet c-sections aren't abortions, particularly given that the surgery is mostly performed with the intention of delivering a healthy baby.

Elective abortion (as opposed to spontaneous abortion which is more commonly known as miscarriage) is the direct (as opposed to indirect) killing of a child at any stage of development inside the mother's body.


Anonymous said...

"If in fact it is truly an ectopic pregnancy, then the moral thing to do is let God take the child through a miscarriage. It is a lie to say that this will absolutely harm the mother."

So, if an embryo implants in a fallopian tube of its mother, are you, David Martin, saying that the woman has the moral obligation to let her tube rupture?

PW said...

I wonder how many of those insisting on a strict non-interventionist line are men and how many, apart from Ms Swetz are women.

Anonymous said...

Mr Martin , I cannot believe you line of thinking here. It is irrational to say the least. It is not Catholic.

Dymphna said...

My last pregnancy was ectopic. My tube ruptured. My child died and I would have died as well had I not collapsed at work and been rushed to the hospital. I had an emergency partial salpingectomy on what was left of the tube a blood transfusion because of the hemorrhage. Mr. Martin when children managed to be delivered full term after an ectopic pregnancy it's so rare that it makes the news. For most of us it ends in death.

Anonymous said...

I am now finished with this blog. You have created your own Church and its not the Catholic Church. God have mercy on us all.

Katrinka Yobotz said...

Ectopic Personhood by Bill Fortenberry
When we take the time to examine scientific studies of ectopic pregnancies, however, an entirely different picture comes to light.
http://www.personhoodinitiative.com/ectopic-personhood.html

Tancred said...

Sure you are.

Tancred said...

I wonder if you’re actually capable of making arguments that aren’t ad hominem.

Tancred said...

I don’t know anything about ectopic pregnancies, not to be flippant but I do know that Gaybrielle, aka Peter Watson with a host of his other malicious sockpuppet accounts, is supporting the idea that an ectopic pregnancy necessitates an abortion to save the life of the mother, and this certainly throws a shadow on that position.

fatty said...

Well I'd add that Live Action is more in line with the Catholic Church than your position casting doubt on your position.

Anonymous said...

I disdain most of PW's comments, but I am a practicing Trad Catholic physician.

I posted the Anonymous @ August 11, 2019 at 4:55 AM above discussing the Principle of Double Effect and the moral difference between surgical and chemical methods of addressing pre-rupture Fallopian pregnancy.

I am not any sort of malicious sockpuppet account for most of PW's nonsense posted on your site.

Abortion is the direct willful murder of the unborn baby. Surgical excision of a fallopian tube containing a tubal implanted baby is not abortion. I explained this above.

Conspiracy theories about PW shadow accounts do not undermine the important distinction I spent a great deal of time studying and praying about during my medical training. I find your shadow account comments uncharitable toward my own effort to provide a thoughtful counter perspective to this article's POV.

This is not why I bother reading this blog for info.

Tancred said...

No need to get huffy. I don’t know about Live Action, and I don’t know who you are, either.

Tancred said...

Dear Trad Physician, I’ve always thought this was the default position, but then, I’ve been reading some of the “scientific research” which claims that ectopic pregnancies carried to term do not always result in the death of the mother, and only rarely.

David Martin said...

While the Church has no specific teaching on how to deal with ectopic pregnancy, it is very specific on its teaching about abortion, which unfortunately occurs in the course of treating ectopic pregnancy, i.e. the artificial ejection of the living child from the mother’s womb. Several popes have made it clear that there is nothing that can outdo the evil of abortion, and this would include any good that could come about in treating ectopic pregnancy.

Hence the so-called principle of double effect would not apply in this case, since the secondary effect (abortion) greatly outdoes any good that can be accomplished in treating ectopic pregnancy. The treatment is to be avoided.

And by "artificially ejecting the child from the mother's womb," I'm not referring to C-section, quite obviously, since a C-section is intended to save and birth the child.

David Martin said...

Re: Dymphna - Maybe they told you your child died to justify doing the procedure, but did it really die before the partial salpingectomy? When the child dies in the woman it will automatically trigger a miscarriage, which you apparently didn't have.

If in fact the child had died before the procedure then removing it would not be an abortion, but if the child is still living the moral thing is to preserve its life even at the expense of the mother's life. The Church rejects the so-called principle of double effect, i.e. saving the mother even if it means aborting the baby's life.

Peter Watson said...

In standard Catholic moral theology, what makes the surgical intervention to remove a pathological section of a woman's fallopian tubes sensible, responsible and moral is the primary intention. The first and intended effect is to treat the pathology. The secondary effect is the cessation of the ectopic pregnancy.

The onus to prove that the Church's moral doctrine on primary and secondary effect is wrong is on them. So far, the counter points coming mostly from the bookless Martin is essentially assertion, guess and conjecture. The other few are peddling a similar barrow.

Tancred said...

Gaybrielle, you have no authority to rule on anything.

Anonymous said...

Never mind this matter has been settled for decades. Articles like this are very harmful to any genuine pro life message. They make pro life people seem like zealous psychopaths.

PW said...

Thank you for another helpful observation, Anonymous 5:07 PM, but never let sound Catholic moral doctrine get in the road of 'zealous psychopaths' who are act like ideological Kamikazes.

Anonymous said...

David Martin,

" Several popes have made it clear that there is nothing that can outdo the evil of abortion, and this would include any good that could come about in treating ectopic pregnancy." "The treatment is to be avoided."

So you ARE saying that a woman who experiences a tubal pregnancy that continues to swell is under moral obligation to let her tubes rupture.


"Hence the so-called principle of double effect would not apply in this case, since the secondary effect (abortion) greatly outdoes any good that can be accomplished in treating ectopic pregnancy."

Provide direct, papal quotes that negate the principle of double effect in the context of treating ectopic pregnancy.

"And by 'artificially ejecting the child from the mother's womb,' I'm not referring to C-section, quite obviously, since a C-section is intended to save and birth the child."

Then you need to modify your definition of abortion because the one you are using doesn't work and is, in fact, false. The correct definition of abortion is the direct, intentional killing of an unborn child inside the mother's body during any stage of development.





Tancred said...

Sound Catholic doctrine according to an anonymous mental case who is obsessed with the blog.

Anonymous said...

Don't shoot the messenger who bears the truth. It seldom ends happily for the shooter.

Tancred said...

Don’t talk about that which you don’t understand.

PW said...

Then act on your own admission of ignorance: "I don’t know anything about ectopic pregnancies....."

You really provided a rod for your own back with this dud of a post. Even Ms Swetz has fled.

Tancred said...



I have always thought ectopic pregnancies were at least tolerated but considering your support for this, it does make me wonder, and looking at actual studies about ectopic pregnancies does make this look questionable indeed.

See, I know who David Martin is, but you’re a known malicious and dishonest troll who doesn’t have to be responsible for the errors, slanders and detraction you blather about here, because you post anonymously.

Anonymous said...

There is yet something else that illustrates the obvious error of defining abortion as the artificial ejection of a child from the mother's womb. Induced labor.

Induced labor is artificial, and its purpose is to eject the child from the mother's womb. It is commonly done for the benefit of both mother and child in cases such as anticipated cephalopelvic disproportion or when the mother has a history of deliveries that resulted in birth injuries to the child.

I myself had a number of induced births after my son went well past his due date, was born large, suffered a left, displaced, humeral fracture as well as total paralysis of the left arm due to a brachial plexus injury known as Erb's Palsy. The rough delivery also left me with a shredded perineum and urinary incontinence.

After all the medical intervention required to treat my son's birth injury (paediatric orthopaedic for the bone break, paediatric neurologist for the neuropraxia, physical therapist for the muscle atrophy), my ob/gyn agreed to my request to induce future delivers in an effort to avoid having the babies grow too large to be delivered safely.

Those artificially induced labors that ejected the babies from my body cannot in any fashion be considered abortions. Any definition of abortion must include the killing of the baby, and secondarily, it must include the intention to kill.

Because of the very erroneous definition of abortion that was given in the article, very erroneous conclusions were drawn. It cannot be honestly said that excising a pathological fallopian tube that also may happen to have a living embryo inside of it is abortion since the baby is artificially is ejected form the woman's body.

Also, deliberate failure to treat a treatable pathology on the grounds that some good might be accomplished by it seems to me to be going against the prohibition to commit evil that some good may come of it. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the hoped for good is not even clear.

According to AAPLOG, the majority of embryos are already dead by the time an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed. Only in a small number of cases is the embryo still living. If a particular pregnancy is tubal and the embryo or surrounding tissues continue to grow and expand, the tube will rupture.

What is the good that is sought when one refuses to operate on a swollen tube in favor of letting it rupture? Is the hoped for good the loss of the baby? Is the hoped for good internal bleeding? Is the hoped for good the serious threat of death of the mother? There is no physiological good to be had if a fallopian tube ruptures.

Neither is there any moral good to be had. By letting a tube rupture, abortion is not being avoided. Removing a pathological tube before it bursts is not abortion because there is no intention to kill the baby, and in the majority of cases, the baby is already dead before the surgery is even performed.

Tancred said...

I thought the point of the article was that ectopic pregnancies are far from fatal, and only rarely result in the death of the mother.

Anonymous said...

I think the point of the article was to slam Live Action News.

JMJT said...

My understanding of the Church's teaching in cases where only baby or mom can be saved; either can be chosen. So even if the erroneous medical information cited here were true, that is that the Fallopian tube baby could survive without the mom ( as is actually true in some cases where the mom has cancer) one could do whatever treatment necessary to save the mom...and in this case that would necessitate removing her tube.

Tancred said...

Anonymous 3:02. Then make an argument. Don’t be shy. I know you can.

Anonymous said...

You haven't made yours.

Tancred said...

Scroll up. You haven’t responded to a single word I’ve written, Gaybrielle.

Anonymous said...

You haven't said much that's worth responding to. What's the Gaybrielle thing?

Tancred said...

Why isn’t it worth responding to? I assume you’re one of his sock puppets.

Anonymous said...

The only things you've posted have been insults, the assertion that you don't know much about ectopic pregnancy even though you've looked as some unspecified studies, and some bizarre statements containing the terms "Gaybrielle" and "sock puppets."

Apparently, "Gaybrielle" is a reference to a fellow called Peter Watson. I am not Peter Watson. I have no idea who Peter Watson is. I had never heard of him until now. I have not communicated with him, either. Why you assume I'm one of his sock puppets is a mystery.

Your insulting posts, your professed ignorance, and your weird assumptions offer precious little material that is worth responding to. If there is something in particular that you believe to be worth a response from me, then post it. Just skip the insults and nonsense about sock poppets and all of that.

Tancred said...

You write:

"The only things you've posted have been insults, the assertion that you don't know much about ectopic pregnancy even though you've looked as some unspecified studies, and some bizarre statements containing the terms "Gaybrielle" and "sock puppets.""

That's not even remotely true, viz:

Blogger Tancred said...

"Dear Trad Physician, I’ve always thought this was the default position, but then, I’ve been reading some of the “scientific research” which claims that ectopic pregnancies carried to term do not always result in the death of the mother, and only rarely."

I have other reasons for thinking you're one of Gaybrielle's sockpuppets, not least of which is your petulance.

Anonymous said...

You don't disprove my statement.

..."I’ve been reading some of the “scientific research” which claims that ectopic pregnancies carried to term do not always result in the death of the mother, and only rarely.""

That is what I mean by your unspecified reading, whether you choose to call it research or studies. Elsewhere, you made a similar statement but used the word "studies." Here's that quote: "I have always thought ectopic pregnancies were at least tolerated but considering your support for this, it does make me wonder, and looking at actual studies about ectopic pregnancies does make this look questionable indeed."

You do indeed admit to being ignorant of the subject of ectopic pregnancies. You write: "I don’t know ANYTHING about ectopic pregnancies..."

Actually, you admit to more ignorance than I had remembered. I had been thinking that the quote said that you don't know much. Instead, it says "nothing."

As for insults, you called someone an "anonymous mental case who is obsessed with the blog."

Fundamentally, you offer only insults, references to unspecified reading, admissions of ignorance, and weird assumptions.



PW said...

Anonymous 7:32, you're dealing with a very low wattage, dim bulb.

Anonymous said...

PW,

How is it possible that this Tancred guy claims to be Catholic but still plasters such sewage on his blog? First, he's got bad theology, but then he's got even worse manners. I am trying to imagine how he treats his co-workers or neighbors or family members if he has any. Perhaps in real life, he behaves better than he does when he's on the internet. But then, I believe it was Matt Walsh who remarked that if you are a terrible person on the internet, then you are a terrible person.

PW said...

Anonymous 12:31 AM, I have found that Tancred, left to himself, is quite capable of following and engaging with a well reasoned line of thought. It's when the unexamined single issue harpies and the wing nuts break in that he seems to revert very quickly into a litany of ad hominem, ad baculum and generally disconnected ramblings.
One of the things that disturbs me greatly about most of the Trad sites it that they attract a disproportionately high number of people with moderate to high psychological pathologies. Much of it has more than a little unresolved rage, hatred, elevated anxiety levels, paranoia and even despair.

Tancred said...

Yes, the admission of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom. I did some reading and found that ectopic pregnancies rarely end the life of the mother. Too bad your ego is so fragile that you can’t begin to address that fact.

Tancred said...

Physician, get out your repair kit.

Anonymous said...

PW,

It did not take me long to notice the ad baculum. You can practically see the guy with his cudgel in hand.

I don't consider myself to be a Trad. I've had people insist that I am one because I love sacred tradition, the Latin Mass, have a large family, etc. That's not being a Trad. That's just being Catholic.

I try to avoid those who self-identify as Trads. Far too often, they are mean. From the sounds of it, you don't need me to elaborate. I think you know exactly what I am talking about.

I stumbled on this site because I was searching the internet for something else. You know how that goes.

Anonymous said...

"I did some reading and found that ectopic pregnancies rarely end the life of the mother."

TREATED ectopic pregnancies rarely end the life of the mother. Untreated ones commonly kill the mother.

"Although the overall mortality has decreased over time, ruptured EPs [ECTOPIC PREGNANCY] still account for up to 6 % of all maternal deaths; a review of mortality in ART-associated EPs similarly reported a mortality rate of 31.9 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies [5, 7]."

"Furthermore, nontubal EPs contribute disproportionately to maternal morbidity and mortality in comparison to tubal EPs."

https://fertilityresearchandpractice.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40738-015-0008-z

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1 and 2 percent of all pregnancies are ectopic. However, ectopic pregnancy is the cause of 3 to 4 percent of pregnancy-related deaths."

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164989.php



"Too bad your ego is so fragile that you can’t begin to address that fact."

No, it's too bad you haven't bothered to share any of what you've read. Provide links, titles and authors. Provide something that can actually be addressed. There is not much to respond to if all you provide are assertions that you've done some reading.

Anonymous said...

Tancred,

And btw, this comment ""Too bad your ego is so fragile..." is gratuitous. Does it make you feel good to say such things? Are you really so attached to taking swipes at other people that you cannot say something like "Why don't you address that fact?" instead?

Tancred said...

You equivocate a lot. That’s not manly.

Maybe if you’d read the article or the few relevant comments below?

Katrina Yobotz:


“Ectopic Personhood by Bill Fortenberry
When we take the time to examine scientific studies of ectopic pregnancies, however, an entirely different picture comes to light.
http://www.personhoodinitiative.com/ectopic-personhood.html”

Tancred said...

Precious...

Anonymous said...

"You equivocate a lot."

Specific examples, please. It ought to be easy to find one or two since you declare that I do it a lot.

"That’s not manly."

I'm not a man. (Not that I equivocate.) More of your weird assumptions.

"Maybe if you’d read the article or the few relevant comments below?"

If the article constitutes your research, then you are still largely ignorant. It's full of errors.

There are no auto-notifications indicating what you, sir, have read. Just because someone posts some comments with links, it doesn't mean that you've read them and count them to be your sources for anything.

I'll look into that specific link that you hitherto never referenced as being one of your sources. You look into the sources that I provided.

While you claim that ectopic pregnancies rarely result in the death of mothers, statistics collected by medical research organizations show that the mortality rate of ectopic pregnancies, whether treated or untreated, is double their rate of occurrence. This would not meet most people's definition of rare. What, pray, is your definition of "rare"?




Anonymous said...

I had two ectopic pregnancies. Both babies were growing in the Fallopian tubes... Both raptured on its own. I had no idea that these pregnancies were growing in the Falloipan tubes, until all was too late. Most women have no idea that they are even pregnant when rapture is happening. Growing fetus can not live for long in the tiny tube, so the whole issue of abortion sounds funny in that case. Most women, before they even are able to see gynecologist, are ending up in Emergency first with the horrifying pain and learn that they just lost their little one...

I am Catholic and a great enemy of any abortion, however when I hear so-called academic discussions "what if", which are so far from reality of what really ectopic pregnancy is, I just wonder what Jesus would say... We Catholics are sometimes like Pharisees...

PW said...

And Ms Swetz is nowhere to be seen. David Martin is doing an in-service on double effect concentrating on how the principle works in Palliative care when a massive dose of morphine is administered with the intention of alleviating intense pain but which has the secondary effect of not prolonging the life of the patient but rapidly hastening the person's death. The Church approves this moral solution too.

Anonymous said...

"By the time an ectopic pregnancy has been discovered (usually by 7 to 8 weeks gestation) the embryo has died in the majority of cases. However, the supporting tissues for the pregnancy often continue to grow and can cause life-threatening bleeding, either through rupture of the fallopian tube or other mechanisms. In a small number of cases a living embryo can be observed in the ectopic pregnancy."

That's from AAPLOG. According to its information, a majority of embryos are already dead when the ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed.

Anonymous said...

Ectopic Personhood by Bill Fortenberry does not offer a definition of abortion. He only implies that any medical intervention that removes a pregnancy with a living embryo is an abortion. That's false.

What is true is that abortion involves the direct killing of a baby. This is always forbidden without exception. Indirect killing of a baby is not abortion although this is not allowed either unless the reason for doing so meets the requirements of the principle of double effect.

Although ectopic pregnancies are not automatic death sentences, Fortenberry writes "...this leads us to wonder why so many women die as a result of ectopic pregnancies." Those remarks are contradictory the notion that ectopic pregnancies rarely kill the mother.

Fortenberry offers some suggestions to lower the maternal death rate. He says, "...each of these causes is preventable through early detection and close monitoring of the ectopic pregnancy and better training of physicians in the proper methods of delivery and post delivery treatment for abdominal pregnancies." But one of Fortenberry's own sources says that "Early diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy is next to impossible unless it is accidentally discovered. And until someone finds a way to make a more definite diagnosis, it will continue to be the method." The point here is that management of ectopic pregnancy is commonly a matter of chance.

Fortenberry seems to advocate letting fallopian tubes rupture in cases of tubal pregnancy.
He cites his estimates that 24% of tubal pregnancies could result in a live birth as justification for this. However, that means that roughly 76% of tubal pregnancies will not result in a live birth. It is highly questionable to insist that a woman permit her tubes to rupture when there is a far greater chance that the baby will not survive.

There is sometimes the possibility of surgical relocation of the embryo to its proper location in utero. Fortenberry cites a couple of such surgeries that were successful. This offers some hope to the parents, but the author's own sources say, "Certainly it is worth the most extreme effort in FAVORABLE cases. At this time, it is of course difficult to differentiate the favorable cases, and this matter must be left to the judgment of the surgeon. The condition of the tube and surrounding circumstances such as the stage of development, inflammatory conditions, adhesions, displacements, and wishes of the mother must all be considered."

By necessity, much is left to the personal judgment of the particular surgeon in each case. Also, the Church does not insist that extraordinary means of medical care be used.

Ultimately, the management of ectopic pregnancy is decided case by case. If surgical removal of the distended tube is performed, this is not abortion, and depending upon the circumstances, could very well be morally justified.

Tancred said...

Considering that it’s rare that women with ruptured fallopian tubes die from it, it’s easy to see that abortions undertaken as a result of ectopic pregnancies, which aren’t necessarily fallopian pregnancies, are unnecessary and that the smokescreen to justify the murder of a child to protect the life of the mother is well in place.

An abortion is an abortion, whether its done under the pretext of protecting the mother or not. You’re equivocating.

Anonymous said...

"An abortion is an abortion..."

You've never even defined abortion.

"You’re equivocating."

You are doing the equivocating. I explained in detail what abortion is and what it is not. I have been very clear and have made precise distinctions. You haven't. The equivocation is entirely on your part.

David Martin said...

When a person continuously asserts his views as "Anonymous," it brings into question his credibility. Obviously he doesn't stand behind what he is saying.

Ectopic pregnancies do pose some danger, but pro-aborts stretch it to the limit by insisting the child and mother "inevitably" die from this when there is much evidence to the contrary. Not to mention that many of these ectopic pregnancy "diagnoses" are just made up to advance their murderous agenda. This is really what we're looking at. The intent from go is to abort the child so they look for excuses to do it.



Anonymous said...

"When a person continuously asserts his views as "Anonymous," it brings into question his credibility. Obviously he doesn't stand behind what he is saying."

This is a ridiculous comment. The truthfulness or accuracy of any remarks is determined by what is actually said and not by who says it or how he identifies himself. Your identifying yourself as David Martin does not make anything you say more true and credible than if you had posted anonymously. The name of Tancred does not even serve to identify that individual.

"Ectopic pregnancies do pose some danger, but pro-aborts stretch it to the limit by insisting the child and mother "inevitably" die from this when there is much evidence to the contrary."

As I have said before, ectopic pregnancies are not an automatic death sentence. But without a doubt, they are a serious medical condition that call for medical care. Many Trads commit the opposite fault of the pro-aborts. The Trads minimize the danger of ectopic pregnancies because they are rigorists. Trads are afraid to acknowledge the real and important difference between the direct and indirect killing of an unborn child.

As I have already said, the direct killing of a child is always forbidden. It is an intrinsic evil meaning that at no time and under no circumstances may a child be licitly killed directly.

The indirect killing of a child is different in an important way from direct killing. Indirectly killing a child is sorrowful, but it can be tolerated if the conditions for the principle of the double effect are met. And if those conditions are not met, then the indirect killing of a child is also forbidden.

This distinction is real, but many Trads don't want to accept it. Their reason is that they fear that the distinction will be sinfully exploited. They think the remedy is to deny the distinction. Denying the distinction between the direct and indirect killing of an unborn child helps nothing and is morally wrong.

It is morally wrong because it is contrary to the Catholic faith. It is morally wrong because it can cause people of good will to erroneously forgo necessary medical care. It is morally wrong because it can cause scandal. The rigorist point of view presents the Catholic faith as being an unreasonable one, and this could cause people to either leave the faith or reject the idea of converting to it.

That Tancred guy has falsely accused me of equivocating. He is the one who has refused to define abortion. He is the one who has rejected the real distinctions that Mother Church makes. He is the one who conflates different medical situations and different medical interventions. Lumping everything together without distinction the way that he does is an example of equivocation.

It is true that many pro-aborts will make any excuse to kill a child. But it is also true that many Trads will look for any excuse to condemn others. It is a kind of sport with them. Falsely accusing and condemning others is not part of the Catholic faith, but it is commonly part of being a Trad. This is really what we're looking at.




Nancy Reyes said...

the article is wrong: and I suspect the writer is either ignorant or has an agenda to cloud the issue of abortion.

Treating an ectopic pregnancy is actually quite straightforward ethically and has nothing to do with abortion, any more than delivering a baby at 7 months when the mom has pre eclampsia etc. is abortion: you aren't planning to kill the kid, and in the latter case, you try to save the kid, not kill him.

If you have an ectopic pregnancy where the fetal sac is growing in the tube, the fallopian tube can only stretch a little bit; so what happens is that the tube will burst and the baby will die and mother will die with it

If you want to be picky about it, if the baby as a heart beat you can watch the baby's heartbeat with an ultrasound and delay surgery until the heart stops, and then rush mom into surgery. But tell the truth this would be rare, since most times the mom doesn't come in to see you until the tube has started to rupture and the baby is dead.

one note:

Nowadays, often doctors "kill" the fetus with methotrexate so mom doesn't have to go through surgery. However, as a Catholic, I believe this would be forbidden, since this would be a type of direct killing.

Does the baby ever survive an ectopic pregnancy?

now you are getting into the "one in a million" case.

Once in very great while, the sac "aborts" to the abdomen and the placenta manages to grow in a way that the tube is not destroyed. But then you have an abdominal pregnancy.

Abdominal pregnancies usually will not go to term because there isn't enough nutrition for the baby to develop since the placenta implants on the omentum, not the vascular inside of the uterus. Medically the baby is removed as soon as we diagnose the problem: Although if mom wants to save the baby and is willing to risk it, we allow the baby to continue until it is viable, e.g. 7 months.

I have seen one abdominal pregnancy in my 40 years of medicine: when I was a missionary in Africa. The mom came in because the baby stopped moving at 7 months. We had to remove the dead baby, and had to leave the placenta in place, since removing it could have resulted in mother hemorrhaging. Luckily she didn't get infected or hemorrhage and she lived, but not all cases end up that happily.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect the writer is either ignorant or has an agenda to cloud the issue of abortion."

Demonstrably, the write Corinna Swetz is incompetent. Just look at this direct quote taken from her article. She says:

"There is a huge moral difference between an ectopic baby dying a natural death via miscarriage and being "terminated" by a doctor removing him or her from the womb."

If a baby is in the womb, then it is not ectopic. The very definition of being ectopic is to be implanted outside of the womb. *facepalm*

Then there is Swetz's definition of abortion. She says that abortion is:

"...the artificial ejection of the living child from the mother’s womb."

With such a definition, Swetz includes delivery by c-section and induced labor as abortion. Another *facepalm*.

In another place, Swetz says that "Taking the life of the unborn under any circumstances is abortion."

Meanwhile, Pope Saint John Paul II says, "Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors . . . I declare that DIRECT abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church” (Evangelium Vitae 62).

The key words there are "direct" and "willed." Indirect abortion that is not intended to take the life of the child is not always immoral and forbidden. If there is proportionate reason to INDIRECTLY take the life of a child and all the conditions for the principle of double effect are met, then it may be done even though it is a sorrowful event. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 says that the life of the woman counts as much as the life of the child.

Additionally, it is widely acknowledged that in a great many cases, the unborn baby is already dead by the time the ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed. On the low end of estimates is that of Fortenberry who says that slightly over 40% of tubal pregnancies are already dead by the time of diagnosis. On the higher end is that of AAPLOG which says that the vast majority (no specific percentage offered) are already dead by the time of diagnosis.

Swetz also writes in a way as to imply that ALL killing is immoral, and this would necissarily include the execution of criminals by the state. The article is bungling and contrary to the Catholic faith.

Jack said...

The Gospel of John says,
"Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people."

The Jews had Jesus killed because they thought it would be better for one man to die than for all the nation to come under persecution because of one man's teaching. They didn't kill Him directly, but had the Romans kill Him instead.
So the Jewish High Priest:
- Did not directly wish the death of Jesus, but only indirectly to save the life of the nation.
- He did not directly kill Jesus, but indirectly (through the Romans).

Please explain how this is different to:
- The doctor does not directly wish the death of the child, but only indirectly to save the life of the mother.
- He does not directly kill the baby, but only indirectly (through destroying the place where the baby lives).

"It's better that one baby die than that the whole family should fall apart."

Is this your reasoning?

The does seem like a whole lot of disingenuous, pharisaical handwashing on the part of Catholics. "We can't kill the baby, but we CAN destroy the place where the baby lives, and... Oops, it's not our fault if the baby dies in the process." At that point why not just give the mother a pill that will kill her baby and save her the pain of the more dangerous procedure?


Peter Watson said...

Not even remotely good apologetics Jack. Fail. Now go back over the string of comments by Anonymous (above), Nancy Reyes, other Anon women and me who have set out very clearly the Church's moral teaching on primary and secondary effect, primary and secondary intentions.
Your emotive disconnects might make you feel better but they will not persuade those who are seeking the authentic moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

The explanation is easy enough. Caiphas and his fellow conspirators DESIRED the death of Jesus. They WANTED to kill him. The only question for them was how to best accomplish the deed. They saw fit to do it indirectly. There was no regret or sorrow on the part of the Pharisees as they plotted the death of Jesus.

That is significantly different from NOT WANTING to kill an unborn baby. Mom and her medical providers do NOT WANT the death of the child. It's just that the death of the baby is not avoidable. BTW, in many cases, and according to some medical authorities, in most cases, babies of ectopic pregnancies are dead by the time of diagnosis. Removing a pathological tube commonly does not even involve the killing of a baby.

I have stated at least TWICE that indirect killing is not permitted either unless the circumstances satisfy the requirements of the principle of double effect. There is an earlier post featuring an excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 that explains the necessary requirements. As someone else said, double effect is part of Catholic moral teaching.

Jack said...

I understand the logic of your argument but I don't see how it proves anything morally. To kill the baby (whose death you have pronounced "unavoidable") directly with a pill, or to kill it indirectly by excising the part of the organ in which it lives and abandoning it to starve to death - I really can't see how these are morally different in any significant way.

If the principle of double effect applies in one case then I believe it must apply in the other as well. Are you really telling me that the difference between mortal sin and morally prudent (virtuous) behaviour in this case is a mere technicality? If Elizabeth kills her ectopic baby indirectly and Mary kills her ectopic baby directly, is God going to say to Mary, "sorry sweetheart, you didn't use the loophole that would allow you to kill your baby without sin. You're condemned," and to Elizabeth, "well done my daughter, that was a good trick to avoid getting yourself the blame for the baby's death. Come on in."??? One of these is a mortal sinner barred from Holy Communion, and one a prudent Catholic who followed the advice of the theologians?

At least the pagans are clear when they say it's OK to kill the baby to save the mother, and don't try to have their cake and eat it too.

It seems to me that the theologians got themselves in a bind: they didn't want to admit that abortion is OK in certain circumstances because that would conflict with the Magisterium and cede ground to the abortion lobby, but they also didn't want to tell mothers that it's better to die with your baby than to take action to kill it, so they went looking for a loophole which would allow them to get away with both at once.

At this point it would be more honest just to say that the moral theologians are incapable of settling the matter, and that while the prohibition against killing your unborn child remains it's left to the conscience of the individual mother and doctor to decide whether that applies in such cases. I can't see why a Catholic mother who follows her doctor's advice to kill her baby with a pill should have her conscience disturbed for failing to use the loophole advocated by the moralists, and I can't see why a Catholic mother or her spouse should have their consciences disturbed if they decide to risk dying with their ectopic baby because they couldn't understand the moralists' prudent advice on how to kill their baby blamelessly. In either case why not just leave it to conscience and admit there's no clear solution? Indeed it would seem sinful to do otherwise.

Jack said...

Also I need to add that whether the mother kills her ectopic baby directly or indirectly, in neither case does the mother "want to kill her baby." This is why I find the implication that the mother who uses a pill to kill her baby directly is to be regarded essentially as a murderer, whereas the one who takes pains not to get her hands bloody and to arrange the child's death by starvation a prudent moral agent - a disgusting implication, yet one which follows directly from your argument.

Peter Watson said...

You're getting lost in your own fog, Jack. Read up on the Catholic teaching on the principle of double effect as it applies to surgical excision of a pathological section of the fallopian tube. I listed these a couple of weeks ago:

David Cruz-Uribe, “Ectopic Pregnancy and the Principle of Double Effect” VoxNova August 28, 2013. (Retrieved from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/2013/08/28/ectopic-pregnancy-and-the-principle-of-double-effect/ 11/08/2019)
Fr. Charles Grondin, “Ectopic Pregnancy and Double Effect” Catholic Answers. (Retrieved from https://www.catholic.com/qa/ectopic-pregnancy-and-double-effect 08/11/2019
K. Schiffer, “When Pregnancy Goes Awry: The Moral Ending to an Ectopic Pregnancy” NCRegister Nov 7, 2015, (Retrieved from http://www.ncregister.com/blog/kschiffer/xxxxwhen-pregnancy-goes-awry-the-moral-ending-to-an-ectopic-pregnancy 08/11/2019)

Jack said...

Peter Watson,

Your first article does not support your position. I couldn't get your second to work. The third article says that it's a matter of conscience.

If you don't like the Caiphas analogy let's try another one. Imagine, for the sake of discussion, that a doctor tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that her baby (Christ our Lord) is ectopic, planted in the fallopian tube. Do you think Our Lady would choose to have her tube (or a part of it), containing Jesus Christ, removed in order to save her own life, thus abandoning Jesus to death? Similarly, imagine that your own ectopic baby is Jesus Christ - what do you do?

Jack said...

Imagine a mother and child clinging to each other as they freeze to death on a mountain. Both are set to die. The only way that either can live is if the mother let's go of the child and climbs down herself, saving her life but allowing the child to freeze to death on its own. The mother does not intend to kill the child. The child's death is a "foreseen but unintended effect" of her letting the baby go. She does not kill the baby directly. She knows that if she doesn't abandon the baby, both will die; she only intends to save her own life.
Is it morally permitted for the mother to abandon her child?

Anonymous said...

Jack,
You said:

"If the principle of double effect applies in one case then I believe it must apply in the other as well. Are you really telling me that the difference between mortal sin and morally prudent (virtuous) behaviour in this case is a mere technicality?"

I am telling you that the difference between mortal sin and sinlessness is determined by something that is very significant and much, much more than a "mere technicality." The principle of double effect CANNOT apply in the case of the direct killing of an unborn baby because the direct killing of the child in INTRINSICALLY evil, meaning that at no time and under no circumstances whatsoever can such an action be considered moral. Pope St. John Paul II says that explicitly!

In the case of indirect killing, there is the possibility that the principle of double effect will apply, but the circumstances need to be examined closely to make that determination. How something is done is of the utmost importance. It's not a mere technicality. The Church rejects the Machiavellian principle that the ends justify the means. St. Paul tells us not to do evil so that good may come of it. From what you write, it seems that you simply don't appreciate that there is a significant difference between means, and you are content to conflate the different ways to accomplish something.

Suppose there are two men in desperate need of money. One chooses to rob a bank, and the other takes on a second job. Both achieve their desired end, but only one does so virtuously. How something is accomplished is critical.

"At this point it would be more honest just to say that the moral theologians are incapable of settling the matter..."

Moral theologians can and have settled the matter.


"Do you think Our Lady would choose to have her tube (or a part of it), containing Jesus Christ, removed in order to save her own life, thus abandoning Jesus to death? Similarly, imagine that your own ectopic baby is Jesus Christ - what do you do?"

If Mary dies, then Jesus dies. The situation as you present it means that there is no possible way for Jesus to survive and be born. But has already been stated, a significant percentage of embryos are already dead by the time the tubal pregnancy is diagnosed. Some medical authorities (AAPLOG) say that the vast majority of embryos are already dead by the time of diagnosis. This means that in many cases, if not most, there is no moral issue to even contend with.

Jack said...

"Suppose there are two men in desperate need of money. One chooses to rob a bank, and the other takes on a second job. Both achieve their desired end, but only one does so virtuously. How something is accomplished is critical."

I don't think this is truly analogous to the situation we're dealing with. How about this. One chooses to rob a bank, and the other chooses to hold a bag under a window which he knows bankrobbers will be throwing money out of . . . thus taking the bank's money, but without directly robbing the bank himself. This seems to be a better analogy. One kills the baby directly, the other puts the baby in a situation where death will immediately result.

"If Mary dies, then Jesus dies."

So you think that Mary would choose to have her tube excised and would leave Jesus to die in those circumstances? Please just say yes or no. If you think that this is the virtuous course of action, then surely you think this is what Mary would choose, seeing as Mary is certainly virtuous . . .

Jack said...

Also, you claim that moral theologians have settled the matter, but the moral theologian Fr. Tad Pacholczyk in the article referenced above by Peter Wilson ("When Pregnancy Goes Awry: The Moral Ending to an Ectopic Pregnancy") claims that it has not been settled and is still, at least to some degree, a matter of conscience. According to him, some moral theologians hold that the use of the drug Methrotrexate to remove the baby in an ectopic pregnancy is morally permissible.

Jack said...

Also, here is a paper which challenges the notion that Double Effect Reasoning can be applied to the case of salpingectomy:
https://www.academia.edu/38904322/Double_Effect_and_Ectopic_Pregnancy_Some_Problems

Here's another paper, which argues that methotrexate and salpingostomies are morally permissible: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1179/002436309803889106

Here's another, which says speaks of a moral theologian arguing for the moral permissibility of methotrexate, while stating that it is still an open debate:
https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/reflections-peter-clarks-moral-analysis-use-methotrexate-ectopic-pregnancies/2007-05

This seems to go against your assertion that the moral theologians have settled the matter. Indeed, they seem to still be debating it.

Jack said...

Here's some nice history I found:

Ectopic Pregnancy

Prior to 1933, Catholic medical ethicists permitted surgery only on an already ruptured fallopian tube. Their reasoning was essentially that prior to that time the cause of danger was the fetus, not the tube. Hence, any attempt to intervene would be a direct abortion, aimed at the fetus, and thus an intrinsically evil act. Some authors specifically mentioned the possibility of removing the tube with the fetus inside, but forbade this as direct abortion (Kelly 1979, 303; Finney 1922, 135). I remember speaking with a retired Catholic hospital chaplain who recalled his anguish at having to allow women to die from ectopic pregnancies; often the surgery, which had to be postponed until after tubal rupture, was too late.

In 1933, Jesuit canon lawyer T. Lincoln Bouscaren, who had been an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma, wrote a dissertation for his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian University in Rome (Bouscaren 1933). It was he who argued for the first time that a salpingectomy (removal of the tube with the fetus inside) was an indirect abortion. To do so, he had to specify the act-in-itself as the removal of a pathological tube, which causes with equal causal immediacy both the good effect (removal of the pathology) and the bad effect (death of the fetus). Since the first two conditions of the PDE [principle of double effect] were passed, the abortion was indirect and hence lawful. He answered the objection of earlier authors that one must wait til the tube ruptured, since otherwise the cause of the problem would be the fetus and the abortion direct, by stating that that was not the causal chain that mattered. The cause of the problem (fetus or tube) was irrelevant. What counted was the causal chain of the act to intervene. And this causal chain did not contain a link where the bad effect caused the good effect. Hence, he argued, salpingectomy (the removal of the tube), even before the tube ruptured, was morally right. The chaplain I mentioned above considered Bouscaren a lifesaver, which he was.

But Bouscaren was explicit in rejecting any "direct" attack on the fetus, as in salpingostomy, where the tube is slit open and the fetus removed. But since, when he wrote, this was not possible anyway, the rejection of salpingostomies was of no real practical import.

This opinion quickly came to be accepted by the tradition, and the tradition changed to include it. When in 1971 the United States Catholic bishops published a revised edition fo the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Facilities, they included a directive that explicitly and in detail required that Bouscaren's thesis be accepted. They allowed salpingectomies and rejected salpingostomies, spelling out each surgery precisely (United States Catholic Conference, Department of Health Affairs 1971, dir. 16).

But medicine's advance has now brought us to the point where laparoscopic salpingostomies are often possible. Morbidity is significantly decreased, hospital time greatly reduced, costs cut, and sometimes the tube can be saved for future attempts at procreation. This procedure, which has become the standard of medical care in many cases, would seem to be forbidden by the received (physicalist) tradition of Catholic medical ethics. Proportionalists, of course, are not caught in this bind. We would simply say that we should do the procedure that causes the most good and the least harm. The fetus is lost whatever we do, even if we do nothing. Therefore, we should do the salpingostomy (or do a medical abortion by methotrexate); do whatever is best. That is the morally right thing to do (Kelly 1998).

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hpGMsOM27FgC&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=zippy+catholic+salpingectomy&source=bl&ots=66H9WMFnHi&sig=ACfU3U39Nh7grwc_MLJu2ospKzgs3LIhoA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj63J6u3pTkAhUCVBUIHZV3BxoQ6AEwDXoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Jack said...


So for years Catholic chaplains, under the directives of Catholic theologians, were allowing women to die with their babies rather than letting them cut their fallopian tubes in order to save their lives, since, at that time, this was understood still to be an abortion. But then in 1933 a Jesuit lawyer came along and said that those theologians and chaplains were wrong, those mothers' sacrifice was needless all along, since after all, the morally prudent thing WAS to cut the fallopian tube! You see, the former theologians, according to this Jesuit, did not properly understand which "causal chain" was relevant. And now, several decades later, even more enlightened lawyers are working on getting salpingostomies and methotrexate on the table for us. It's wonderful what lawyers – scribes and pharisees – can do with religion.


To the Question:
“Whether it is at any time permitted to extract from the womb of the mother ectopic fetuses still immature, when the sixth month after conception has not passed?”

The reply is:
“In the negative, according to the decree of Wednesday, the 4th of May, 1898, by the force of which care must be taken seriously and fittingly, insofar as it can be done, for the life of the fetus and that of the mother; moreover, with respect to time, according to the same decree, the orator is reminded that no acceleration of the birth is lict, unless it be performed at the time and according to the methods by which in the ordinary course of events the life of the mother and that of the fetus are considered.”

From the reply of the Holy Office to the Dean of the faculty of theology of the University of Marienburg, March 5, 1902

Anonymous said...

Jack,

You said:

"One chooses to rob a bank, and the other chooses to hold a bag under a window which he knows bankrobbers will be throwing money out of . . . thus taking the bank's money, but without directly robbing the bank himself. This seems to be a better analogy. One kills the baby directly, the other puts the baby in a situation where death will immediately result."

My original analogy is sufficient. It's point is to illustrate that it matters how a goal is accomplished and it does that.

"So you think that Mary would choose to have her tube excised and would leave Jesus to die in those circumstances? Please just say yes or no."

This is not a yes or no question.

"If you think that this is the virtuous course of action, then surely you think this is what Mary would choose, seeing as Mary is certainly virtuous . . ."

To surgically remove a pathological tube containing an embryo would be a blameless course of action as has already been explained, particularly since in a great many cases, the baby has died prior to the surgery. At the same time, Our Lady might have chosen to die with her son since she would know for certain that she would be with him for all eternity in Heaven. With such knowledge of her future, she would choose Heaven over Earth, I am sure.

But this is a pointless exercise. The morality of surgically treating a tubal pregnancy is already established, and trying to apply the situation to Our Lady doesn't change that. God's plan for the mother of His son did not include complications of pregnancy, and that was for a reason. It was a necessity for God's son to live outside his mother until the point of adulthood. For many thousands of other babies, God's plan is different. He permits miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and other maladies that prevent live birth.

"According to him, some moral theologians hold that the use of the drug Methrotrexate to remove the baby in an ectopic pregnancy is morally permissible."

You are aware, I hope, that there are always some theologians who challenge established moral theology. Dissenters always exist, sometimes in great numbers, even. Example: Pope St. JP II DEFINITIVELY established that the priesthood is reserved to men. But guess what? There are still those in the Church who argue that the question is open. So are you going to take the position that because there are dissenters regarding the issue of the male-only priesthood that the matter has not been settled?

I will address your other posts separately. I can't spend all my time commenting on this blog.





Anonymous said...

"So for years Catholic chaplains, under the directives of Catholic theologians, were allowing women to die with their babies rather than letting them cut their fallopian tubes in order to save their lives, since, at that time, this was understood still to be an abortion. But then in 1933 a Jesuit lawyer came along and said that those theologians and chaplains were wrong, those mothers' sacrifice was needless all along, since after all, the morally prudent thing WAS to cut the fallopian tube!"

The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 says:

"However, if medical treatment or surgical operation, necessary to save a mother's life, is applied to her organism (though the child's death would, or at least might, follow as a regretted but unavoidable consequence), it should not be maintained that the fetal life is thereby directly attacked."

1917 came well before 1933.

It appears that those Catholic theologians and chaplains in hospitals who were refusing the surgical treatment of tubal pregnancies were making that decision without authoritative statements from the larger Church.

Perhaps you are not aware, but with medical advancements come NEW moral questions. For many centuries, prenatal development was poorly understood. Today, theologians are faced with the pressing question concerning the morality of embryo adoption. Is it morally licit? Some generous couples are understandably anxious about the fate of the thousands of frozen embryos that remain in fertility clinics. Their solution is to take discarded or unwanted frozen embryos and have them implanted in the wife so that these may have a chance at growing and being born alive.

Years ago, Latin Mass Magazine ran an opinion piece by Fr. Chad Ripperger on the subject of embryo adoption. His opinion then was that embryo adoption is not morally licit. But he also acknowledged that there had been no authoritative ruling, so to speak, about the issue, and he submitted his opinion to the final judgment of the Church. To my knowledge, the Church to date has not made an authoritative and binding statement concerning embyro adoption.

So what to do in the meantime? It has been years now that embryo adoption has been practiced. Couples must make some kind of a decision about the matter if they have an interest in such adoption. There has to be some kind of working decision until the Church makes an authoritative one.

"To the Question:
“Whether it is at any time permitted to extract from the womb of the mother ectopic fetuses still immature, when the sixth month after conception has not passed?”"

This question was asked by someone who doesn't know medical science. It is not possible to extract any ectopic fetus from the mother's womb. The very definition of an ectopic fetus is that it has implanted OUTSIDE the mother's womb.

Jack said...

I don't think that this section of the 1917 CE article would necessarily apply to salpingectomies on women with ectopic pregnancies. That statement would more apply to women who have illnesses unrelated to their pregnancy, and surgeries/treatments which are not designed to remove the fetus. If you read the history I provided again, it states that the theologians had considered the question and ruled it out as abortion. Besides, the articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia are not wholly reliable, since they are often just the opinion of one scholar, and seeing as you admit that not all Catholic scholars are truly aligned with the magisterium, presumably you admit the possibility that the Catholic Encyclopedia may also not always align with the magisterium. The history says that it was already an established "tradition" among the theologians that such salpingectomies would class as abortion, until in 1933 a Jesuit lawyer published his doctoral dissertation in which he applied the PDE in a novel way. Now if you admit that there are Catholic theologians advocating the use salpingostomies and methotrexate contrary to the magisterium, and without being actively reprimanded by the authorities, then you should also admit the possibility that – under the influence of this Jesuit laywer, and many other pressures – the authorities have falsely allowed the use of salpingectomies these last 80–90 yrs. Certainly what I find very conspicuous is that the former "tradition" which outlawed such salpingectomies, and allowed mothers to die with their baby under this ruling, has been almost entirely BURIED so that I had to find it in a history book, seeing as no contemporary paper in speaks of this position as a possibility. I find that very suspicious indeed. It's almost like the Church's deafening silence on usury over an extended period of history.

"But this is a pointless exercise. The morality of surgically treating a tubal pregnancy is already established, and trying to apply the situation to Our Lady doesn't change that. God's plan for the mother of His son did not include complications of pregnancy, and that was for a reason. It was a necessity for God's son to live outside his mother until the point of adulthood. For many thousands of other babies, God's plan is different. He permits miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and other maladies that prevent live birth."

See, it shows how in the use of salpingectomies you are presuming, perhaps, what God's plan is. If Mary had been told by a doctor that she was suffering an ectopic pregnancy, we can fairly safely presume that, with the virtue of supernatural faith, she would have resigned to suffer whatever the consequences of this disease were, without taking steps that would reduce what ever tiny chance the doctor would say the survival of her baby had. And since Mary's response to this crisis would be one of trusting resignation to God's providence, should that not also be the response of Catholic mothers generally? Evidently that was the response Catholic mothers were expected to have prior to 1933 and the Jesuit lawyer from Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

Jack,
You said:
"I don't think that this section of the 1917 CE article would necessarily apply to salpingectomies on women with ectopic pregnancies. That statement would more apply to women who have illnesses unrelated to their pregnancy, and surgeries/treatments which are not designed to remove the fetus."

It could apply to salpingectomies. Btw, salpingectomies are not designed to remove the fetus. They are designed to remove the tube.

" If you read the history I provided again, it states that the theologians had considered the question and ruled it out as abortion."

It doesn't mean all theologians. It most certainly doesn't mean that the Church had spoken authoritatively, either. Besides, just as Thomas Aquinas and other renowned theologians of the Church had very erroneous ideas about prenatal development, so too were later theologians catching up with the science of human reproduction. It is the ruptured tube, and not the baby, that causes the threat to the mother. These days, it is clear to see that the tube and the baby are separate entities.

"Besides, the articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia are not wholly reliable, since they are often just the opinion of one scholar..."

Demonstrate that the article was the opinion of just one scholar.

"The history says that it was already an established "tradition" among the theologians that such salpingectomies would class as abortion..."

Prove that this "tradition" was authoritative and binding on the universal Church.


"...until in 1933 a Jesuit lawyer published his doctoral dissertation in which he applied the PDE in a novel way."

The science backs him up. The tube and the baby are separate entities.

" Now if you admit that there are Catholic theologians advocating the use salpingostomies and methotrexate contrary to the magisterium..."

The science doesn't back them up.

"See, it shows how in the use of salpingectomies you are presuming, perhaps, what God's plan is."

Any course of action (or inaction) that is morally licit is not contrary to God's plan. If it's not contrary to God's plan, then it is part of God's plan.

"If Mary had been told by a doctor that she was suffering an ectopic pregnancy, we can fairly safely presume that, with the virtue of supernatural faith, she would have resigned to suffer whatever the consequences of this disease were, without taking steps that would reduce what ever tiny chance the doctor would say the survival of her baby had."

We can say with absolute confidence that it was NOT God's plan for Our Lady to experience an ectopic pregnancy.

And since Mary's response to this crisis would be one of trusting resignation to God's providence, should that not also be the response of Catholic mothers generally?

Again, it was not God's will for Mary to face the crisis of ectopic pregnancy. And if she had, she could have morality opted for a salpingectomy. What if God's plan had been for Our Lady to have other children in the future? If you can change the story, then so can I.

Also, there are some important differences between Mary and other women. Although Mary was married, she avoided all conjugal relations with her lawful spouse. Should other Catholic women imitate Mary's example and enter only into virginal marriages?






Tancred said...

Anonymous 0954:

"It doesn't mean all theologians. It most certainly doesn't mean that the Church had spoken authoritatively, either. Besides, just as Thomas Aquinas and other renowned theologians of the Church had very erroneous ideas about prenatal development, so too were later theologians catching up with the science of human reproduction. It is the ruptured tube, and not the baby, that causes the threat to the mother. These days, it is clear to see that the tube and the baby are separate entities. "

We have come a long way, haven't we? We've come from you insisting that this is the teaching of the Church to finally admitting that there are dissenting and more nuanced opinions about it.

Somehow, you managed to do without being the insulting, imperious, easily ruffled and aggrieved anonymous but magisgteria authority to a more reticent commenter. Bravo!

Do you know that any of the theologians with dissenting opinions have erroneous ideas about human development?

Anonymous said...

"We have come a long way, haven't we? We've come from you insisting that this is the teaching of the Church..."

I continue to insist that the Church teaches that the surgical removal of a tubal pregnancy (salpingectomy) is morally licit.

"...to finally admitting that there are dissenting and more nuanced opinions about it."

I never denied that there are dissenting or nuanced opinions about it. The entire article is an exercise in dissent.

"Do you know that any of the theologians with dissenting opinions have erroneous ideas about human development?"

Past or present?

Tancred said...

One thing’s for sure, you’re not interested in discussing things that have been sincerely put to you.

You’re telling people what YOU think official Church teaching is.

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