Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Here are two good sources on the issue of management of ectopic pregnancies: first, Bill May discusses this issue at some length in his book "Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life" beginning at page 182; second, Kelly Bowring published an article on this in the annual volume of University Faculty for Life. Both conclude, quoting May, that "the use of the drug methotrexate and the surgical procedure of salpingostomy [are immoral because they are judged] to be acts of abortion understood as the intentional killing of the innocent unborn." The reasoning supporting this conclusion, as Rob noted earlier, is that the principle of double effect doesn't apply because the act involved is viewed as a direct abortion that cannot be defended by resort to a good motive (protecting the mothers' future fertility). Rob views this as hair-splitting but I think it is quite reasonable to rely on the view that one shouldn't do evil to achieve some good end. We see this in the assisted suicide debate all the time. We don't allow Jack Kevorkian to intentionally kill just because he claims to have a good motive (relieving pain).