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Roman Catholic Church’s Teaching About Ectopic Pregnancy

In the Pro-Life Union’s July 2019 newsletter, a local student’s essay about the sanctity of human life was included, which stated her personal opinion about ectopic pregnancy that “…under no circumstances is murdering an innocent life ever acceptable. No matter what obstacles the mother has to face during her pregnancy, there is always a way to seek help and guidance.” An ectopic pregnancy refers to an embryo that does not reach the uterus, but will instead implant in the fallopian tube, which is not designed to support a pregnancy. This type of pregnancy is considered high risk, possibly resulting in the deaths of both mother and child. Is it moral to kill the unborn baby if it means saving the life of the mother?

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Roman Catholic Church teaches the following: “In certain cases, such as…ectopic pregnancy, it is morally licit to remove the threat of the mother’s life…by removing part, or all, of the fallopian tube where the child implanted, even though it is forseeable that the child will die as an indirect and unintended effect of such surgery. Abortion, a direct and intentional attack against the child’s life, is never morally licit.”

(Article published in the Pro-Life Union’s August 2019 newsletter update.)

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