On the advent of Vision Forum's "Baby Conference," AAPLOG offers the following new Position Statement on Ectopic Pregnancy. I cannot tell you how many truly concerned people have become appalled by Vision Forum's own aberrant position on this matter. I am so grateful that a Pro Life Organization has responded, and I hope that it will be the first of many more.
The American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a group of some 2,500 members and associates within the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), recognized as a special interest group within the College. (Read more about their organization HERE.)
July 2010Additional helpful information:
Ectopic pregnancy refers to any pregnancy that is implanted outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube. 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. Unfortunately, this embryo will die in the near future if observation is continued, and the mother’s life remains in imminent danger from a life-threatening hemorrhage, before and after the death of the embryo. Continuation of such a pregnancy cannot result in the survival of a baby and entails a very substantial risk of maternal death or disability. Hence treatment is commenced to end the pregnancy surgically or medically. In certain cases, an additional benefit of early treatment may be preservation of fertility potential.
This scenario is somewhat analogous to the case of a woman who develops an intrauterine infection with an unborn child that is too early to survive outside the womb. There is no chance for survival of the child, either inside or outside the womb, but there is a very real, imminent danger of death or disability for the mother. In these cases delivery is effected to preserve the life of the mother. Regrettably, in each of these clinical situations the child cannot be saved. In either case, the intent for the pro-life physician is not to kill the unborn child, but to preserve the life of the mother in a situation where the life of the child cannot be saved by current medical technology.
For these reasons the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians recognizes the unavoidable loss of human life that occurs in an ectopic pregnancy, but does not consider treatment of ectopic pregnancy by standard surgical or medical procedures to be the moral equivalent of elective abortion, or to be the wrongful taking of human life.
Abortion is the purposeful killing of the unborn in the termination of a pregnancy. AAPLOG opposes abortion. When extreme medical emergencies that threaten the life of the mother arise (chorioamnionitis or HELLP syndrome could be examples), AAPLOG believes in “treatment to save the mother’s life,” including premature delivery if that is indicated — obviously with the patient’s informed consent. This is NOT “abortion to save the mother’s life.” We are treating two patients, the mother and the baby, and every reasonable attempt to save the baby’s life would also be a part of our medical intervention. We acknowledge that, in some such instances, the baby would be too premature to survive.
We can only pray that men and women who have been manipulated with undue influence will find and read this statement and that it will cause them to think and make their own, well-informed decisions.