I first published this at the SC Baptist Courier. Here’s the link but full text is below.

Wholly Healthy: What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

I just saw a post on social media that proclaimed, ‘an ectopic pregnancy is not a real pregnancy.’ This was, of course, in response to legal questions in the wake of the recent ruling on Roe vs Wade. It was also wrong and confusing.

As Christians it is incumbent on us not to simply be people who scream slogans and offer rhetoric in place of discussion and understanding. Or who bring anger instead of compassion to our conflicts. Therefore we do need to understand what we’re discussing.

An ectopic pregnancy (sometimes called a ‘tubal pregnancy’) means a pregnancy that begins to develop outside of the uterus. It may be in the Fallopian tubes, on an ovary, or in another location somewhere in the abdominal cavity.

Symptoms include vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, light-headedness, weakness or passing out. Risk factors for tubal pregnancy include presence of an IUD, tubal ligation (yes, women sometimes do get pregnant after the procedure), prior tubal surgery, fertility treatments, endometriosis and previous sexually transmitted infection.

Diagnosis is made by pregnancy test and ultrasound imaging and treatment can be done chemically or sometimes surgically.
Like any pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy is the product of the fertilization of an egg by a sperm. It divides and grows (for a while) like any other pregnancy. It is false to suggest that it is anything other than a real, very human pregnancy.

However, the tragedy of an ectopic pregnancy is that because it is very vascular, when it ruptures it can cause fatal bleeding in the mother. The other tragedy is that it cannot be carried to term. An ectopic pregnancy will not survive because it lacks the necessary support structures of the uterus.

So even as we recognize the intrinsic, God-breathed humanity of the ectopic pregnancy, we must also understand that the pregnancy is doomed. Without proper and timely treatment, the mother may be as well.

As we discuss the the abortion question, we should remember this. Treatment of an ectopic pregnancy is not the same as an abortion. It is an important, life-saving medical therapy.

A woman who has treatment for an ectopic has not had an abortion, nor has the treating physician performed one.
However, both deserve our love and kindness.

For more detailed information on ectopic pregnancies, follow the link below.

5 2 votes
Article Rating