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Moral Considerations in Treating an Ectopic Pregnancy
Methods Can Never Result in Direct Abortion, Say Catholic Ethicists
 
Contact: Dr. David Hargroder, John Paul II Bioethics Commission, 417-483-3448
 
JOPLIN, Mo., May 16, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- In recent decades the rate of ectopic pregnancies has increased by 600% in the U.S.A because of several factors, including increased promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases and the use of certain forms of contraception. In fact, because most ectopic pregnancies also present a threat to the health of the mother, medical professionals often focus their efforts on the "treatment" of the problem, rather than considering the moral issues that may be involved.
 
Recently, the arguments over the moral permissibility of methods that may be used to resolve these sorts of pregnancies have become increasingly contentious among experts in the fields of medical and moral ethics. In the Spring Issue of the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, several scholars of the John Paul II Bioethics Commission have published an article in an attempt to clarify the moral questions and which demonstrates why the primary method chosen by medical professionals is a direct abortion and can never be considered morally acceptable. See full article: johnpaulbioethics.org/FinalProofs.pdf
 
The two methods in question involve the direct killing of a living embryo. The first is a procedure called salpingostomy, which involves the direct extraction of the embryo from the fallopian tube. The second is a drug method which is administered directly and intentionally to kill the embryo. Both of these methods are often used by medical professionals due to the quick and efficient resolution they both present.
 
Dr. Robert Fastiggi, a theologian on the Commission and one of the co-authors of the article, makes this point in relation to these methods, "The use of salpingostomy or the drug methotrexate in resolving an ectopic pregnancy involves a freely chosen action that is intended to result in the direct death of an innocent human being. Any attempt to justify the direct killing of human embryos in ectopic pregnancies is morally unacceptable. There are alternate methods available that do not result in a direct abortion and we need to do a better job of educating the public on these moral considerations."
 
The authors of this publication challenge the current thought on direct killing as "justified" by Dr. William May, Dr. Christopher Kaczor, and Fr. Martin Rhonheimer (Opus Dei).
 
For interview requests or additional information, please call 417-483-3448 or visit www.johnpaulbioethics.org