Ectopic Pregnancies and the Threat from “Pro-Life” Abortion Foes

Editor’s Note: I have strong feelings about ectopic pregnancy because someone I love suffered terrifying from two in a row. This was a life threatening situation. It was only emergency medical care that saved her. And a strength of will that allowed her to persevere afterward and eventually have the family she wanted. Abortion foes are pushing legislation that would limit a woman’s ability to get medical care for this. Without surgery there is only one outcome–the woman will die. I find this too horrible to contemplate. The science is absurd–purely invented. An ectopic has no more chance of becoming a baby than a ruptured appendix does. I understand, too, that this is a culture war and not likely to become law. However, there is such a negative charge on this that I’m reblogging a useful essay below. To read the whole thing:click here.

Mary Pezzulo writes:

I have learned that Ohio legislators are considering a bill that is in some ways even more draconian than the one passed in Georgia. This bill would ban all insurance coverage for anything that lawmakers consider a non-therapeutic abortion– and I use the phrase “anything that lawmakers consider a non-therapeutic abortion” deliberately, because the bill isn’t being written by doctors but legislators, and the legislators seem to have some fanciful ideas about what constitutes an abortion.

This bill is sponsored by republican John Becker, who no doubt thinks of himself as pro-life. It includes legislation on what to do with an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby implants in the fallopian tubes instead of the womb. Ectopic pregnancies are always fatal to the embryo and, if not treated quickly, are fatal to the mother as well. She will eventually rupture and bleed out. Treatments for an ectopic pregnancy involve removing the embryo from the fallopian tube and leaving it intact, or removing the tube itself with the embryo still inside. Both result in the the death of the embryo, who is going to die no matter what, but removing the tube is 100% accepted by Catholic bioethics as necessary and not an abortion. That may not matter to non-Catholics in my audience, but I’m a Catholic who studied bioethics at Franciscan University at the graduate level, and we discussed ectopic pregnancies specifically in my classes, so it matters to me. Even by the strictest standards, treating an ectopic pregnancy is not abortion. It’s something else entirely. No one who is pro-life should hesitate to accept that treatment.

Becker doesn’t seem to realize this. He has a fanciful idea about a treatment that’s right out of science fiction: “Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill.”

Actually, no, Mr. Becker, that would not be part of the treatment. And I know that it’s not part of the treatment, because it’s not physically possible to save an ectopic pregnancy by just scraping the baby off the lining of the fallopian tube and stuffing it in the womb. Unborn babies are not cuttings from a hydrangea bush. They don’t take root when transplanted. I wish they did. For the sake of my dear friends who have suffered the loss of a baby and the trauma of an ectopic pregnancy, I wish with all my heart that you could save a tiny embryo by scooping her out of the tube and sticking her in the uterus where she belongs, but you can’t.

And saying that you can is a slap in the face to any woman who’s suffered such a horror.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

2 thoughts on “Ectopic Pregnancies and the Threat from “Pro-Life” Abortion Foes

  1. I can’t imagine anything more anti-life than this. Ectopic pregnancy is a tragedy, as are all miscarriages. Not even to mention that government has no business in any of this. Pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion are medical and personal issues.

  2. Thank you–yes. Infertility and loss are a part of too many of our lives– I’m horrified this burden might be added to by lawmakers with no regard for science, or the right to privacy.

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