DOES AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY JUSTIFY KILLING THE BABY?
By Dr. Patrick Johnston, DO, Director, Assn. of Pro-Life Physicians
June 17, 2016
“Oh, I agree with you that abortion’s a bad thing,” the cigarette-puffing young man insisted across the Planned Parenthood fence.
“Why did you take her in there then?” I inquired. “It’s not too late. Go get her…”
“But the abortion is necessary to save her life. She has an ectopic pregnancy and the baby has zero chance of survival.”
Nothing stumps a pro-lifer quicker than this. If killing the preborn baby is necessary to save the mother’s life, it is argued, then the abortive remedy is unfortunate and regretful, but not murder.
What if it is not necessary to kill the ectopically implanted baby to save the mother’s life? What if the mother and the baby can both be saved?
The National Health Service webpage dedicated to ectopic pregnancy information states, The baby cannot be saved in an ectopic pregnancy. Almost all medical groups and government medical bureaucracies echo this malicious falsehood. This lie is parroted as if it were fact in medical schools, residencies, and hospitals across the nation. No, across the world.
Question: if someone justifies abortion in almost any conceivable circumstance, pray tell, why do we consider them to be honest and objective when it comes to any abortion-related fact? How naïve we are to assume murderers are honest.
A simple google search reveals dozens of cases where babies survived ectopic implantations. One study documented 316 ectopically implanted children who were born alive. In the film Pro-Life Without Exception, you can witness the testimony of a young man who was ectopically implanted in his mother’s fallopian tube and survived. An ectopic pregnancy is not a death sentence for the baby.
Over half of the embryos who implant in their mother’s fallopian tubes perish on their own and are resorbed by the mother, without medical intervention. That is why the standard of care in such cases is “expectant management”, or watchful waiting. It is not necessary to kill the baby to save the mother’s life.
If the tubal-implanted baby does not die, is methotrexate abortion or surgical excision necessary to save the mother’s life? Pro-life groups rarely challenge this dubious assertion. The mother can be saved without sacrificing the baby.
As far back as 1917, a procedure has been successfully performed transplanting the tubal-implanted embryo into the uterus. This life-saving procedure was first reported in the Harvard medical journal Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics and as recently as 1980 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1994, British professor Dr. J. G. Grudzinskas authored a paper published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology entitled, “Relocation of ectopic pregnancy to the uterine cavity: a dream or reality?” wherein he discusses recent, albeit unsuccessful, attempts at this procedure.
The question on my mind is: Where are the American physicians even attempting to save the lives of these ectopically implanted children?
What if the fallopian tube ruptures, and the mother is hemorrhaging internally? Is it justifiable to abort the baby in this scenario? If the mother is hemorrhaging internally, the baby has overgrown his blood supply and likely has already deceased. Even so, the removal of the embryo – whether dead or alive – is not necessary to save the mother’s life. The medical literature documents “autotransfusion” as a therapy that is life-saving for the mother with a ruptured tubal ectopic pregnancy, and this does not intentionally sacrifice the baby. Autotransfusion involves suctioning the hemorrhaged blood from the woman’s pelvis, filtering it and re-inserting back into her via IV access. Autotransfusion had a success rate at saving the mother’s life even greater than the most commonly employed abortive method!
Why So Quick to Kill?
Doubtless, one of the reasons there aren’t more cases of ectopic pregnancies surviving is because of the medical community’s haste to kill. That haste is motivated not so much by the desire to save the mother’s life, but to protect the physician. I had a Christian patient who was devastated when her obstetrician informed her that she had a tubal ectopic pregnancy and, in order to save her life, he must administer methotrexate immediately. She mourned what the obstetrician considered the inevitable loss of her child, and reluctantly succumbed to his persuasion. Weeks later, the patient was still bleeding heavily and the doctor ordered an ultrasound only to discover she had what is called a heterotopic pregnancy; in other words, she was pregnant with twins, one in the fallopian tube and one in the uterus. The one in the fallopian tube was dead, and the one in the uterus was dying. The doctor missed the baby in the uterus.
These were wanted children. Can we safely assume even a pro-abortion physician wants to save wanted babies? The medical literature confirms that misdiagnosing ectopic pregnancy is quite common, and even if the diagnosis is accurate, there is much evidence that the tubal-implanted embryo can detach and reattach in a safer location. Why would this obstetrician give advice so much more aggressive than that the accepted standard of care? Why was the doctor so quick to kill? Although his disrespect for the baby’s right to life was a foundational error, I suspect his motivation was his desire to avoid litigation. If in the process of expectant management, the woman hemorrhages and suffers or dies, he could be blamed for not intervening more aggressively and quickly. Doctors get sued all the time and lose before a jury, even if they follow the standard of care. This doctor knew if he were as aggressive as possible, and if the woman accepted his abortive remedy, his chance of losing a lawsuit was slim. So to protect the doctor, the baby was sacrificed.
I sense a conspiracy afoot. If the “father of lies” and a complicit medical community can convince God’s people that His Word is an insufficient standard for morality and justice and, sometimes, it is necessary to intentionally kill an innocent child for the greater good, then we have been co-opted into the enemy’s camp.
Thus emasculated, the body of Christ, the salt of the earth, has lost the last of its savor. “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide My eyes from you,” said God through Isaiah. “Even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” (Isaiah 1:15). If there’s one thing God’s Word teaches us about innocent blood-guilt, it is that God’s people will never conquer their Promised Land with it.
God’s Word, Our Sure Foundation
Let us be confident in our commitment to God’s Word as the foundation for morality and justice, and not be seduced into straying from this sure foundation by medical scenarios awash in deceit. “Thou shalt not kill” can withstand the scrutiny of the sceptics. God created human beings in His image, and no one may intentionally kill another innocent person without incurring His wrath – wrath which only repentance and/or justice can quench.
Let us pray that more American physicians will respect the right to life of all preborn children, and provide these life-saving alternatives to their patients.