Hi, I hope I can help clear this up.
Unfortunately, people who are 100% pro-life (as I am) say that they are against abortion except in cases of an ectopic pregnancy, because both lives are equal. They mean well, but they are confused. If the baby isn't directly killed, it isn't an abortion. Unfortunately, in most cases, the child IS directly killed and it is an abortion.
Let's say there's a burning building. There are four floors. On the fourth floor, everything is engulfed in flames. It's impossible to get to the people up there, and no way to save them. So, attention is turned to the first, second and third floors while those in the fourth floor, sadly, must perish because there is no way to get to them.
Is this murder? Of course not. It's not intending or directly causing the death of the people. We cannot do the impossible. However, directly causing their deaths by, say, setting the fire or not trying to get to them if it's possible, is murder or involvement in it.
Now, the case of a mother and child in an ectopic pregnancy:
I will quote from a forum where this was discussed. Note the emphasis on "intention," which is true:
"In the case of ectopic pregnancy there are two treatments available. In one, the diseased tissue of the tube is removed. This is a medical procedure done to save the mother-- the *unintended consequence* is that the baby dies because we do not possess the technology to successfully move the baby to the uterus. The *intent* is not to kill the child. The result is that the child dies because we lack the ability to prevent it.
The second method is the adminstration of a drug that causes a chemical abortion-- it kills the baby and leaves the tube intact. This is never a morally acceptable option as the purpose is to kill the baby-- a direct action that is always wrong."
Also, removing the tissue to which the embryo is attached and then puncturing the sac the child is in would be an abortion, and this is wrong. The child must die naturally.
And this is an excellent response by a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy:
"I just had an ectopic pregnancy that thankfully resolved itself without my needing surgery. These are the options my supposedly pro-life doctor gave me (keep in mind that I was not in immediate danger of bleeding out, unlike many women who present with ectopic pregnancy) :
1) Wait it out-- since I wasn't in immediate danger, I had the option of resting and waiting to see if the miscarriage would progress naturally on its own, and my body would then heal itself. I had strict instructions to come to the ER immediately, should I have any symptoms of dangerous levels of internal bleeding.
2) Go ahead and do surgery to remove the tube (or part of it), to avoid putting your life in possible danger, sort of like a preemptive strike
3) Take the methotrexate
Of these three, in my case, the only moral choice was waiting it out. The second choice would only be morally acceptable if I was in immediate and certain danger of bleeding out without surgery (I wasn't, praised be to Jesus). The third choice is never acceptable, for reasons already stated by other posters.
I had regular blood tests to make sure my blood count never dipped, and to test my pregnancy hormone levels to make sure I was really having a miscarriage (the doc wanted to be certain the baby hadn't implanted on an organ outside my uterus and continued to grow, for instance).
So, contrary to what a lot of people may think, it is possible to avoid an abortion even the case of ectopic pregnancy. Intentional abortion is NEVER acceptable, a direct attack on the baby is NEVER acceptable. Also, I think I am correct in stating that by the time the surgery becomes necessary to save the mother, the tube itself has already ruptured (therefore causing the excessive bleeding), and this most always itself causes the death of the baby."
I am with the woman I just quoted from.
You make an excellent point about children who have survived ectopic pregnancies, and I want to tell you that it has always been the intention of my husband and me to let an ectopic pregnancy continue and not interfere in any way until it is sure that the baby has already died, even if that means excruciating pain for me and possible death. We discussed this in early pregnancy and have discussed it again as we hope for more babies. I could never live with myself if I let anyone remove a child from my body; I would want nature to take its course and live my life knowing that I did not let my baby be removed from my body, and I certainly wouldn't cause the baby's death by taking methotrexate. Death isn't the worst thing; rejecting my own baby to save myself would be. I could never do it. Besides, as you say, in the most extreme cases, these children do survive. It is so rare, but still, I would rather leave my fate and my child's fate in God's hands and take it from there.
Interesting post. I expect to have many thumbs down, but that's okay. I stand by what I've said. We never know what miracles God may perform, and besides that, it's not natural for a mother to kill her own baby.