Question from a pro-life physician

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 12:29am -- Dr. Patick Johnston

A pro-life physician wrote me tonight concerned that the Personhood Amendment would criminalize therapy for ectopic pregnancies that resulted in the loss of the child. This is my response:


Hey doc,

I pray you are well. Thanks for writing. This is a difficult question for some.

My position on ectopics is that of the American Assn. of Pro-Life Ob/Gyns., found here. Their response has been most helpful to me. The Assn. of Pro-Life Physicians has an article on ectopic pregnancies here - http://www.prolifephysicians.org/rarecases.htm. I authored that tract, and would be glad to send 50 to your office if you want to make them available to your patients. I believe we can still be true to the science (life begins at fertilization, or the beginning of our biological development) and we can still be true to our morals (it’s always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent person) without exempting the patients we are unable to save of their inalienable right to life.

There has never, to my knowledge, been a case where therapy for an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in the death of the baby resulted in a prosecution of the physician, even when abortion was illegal.

Do you believe that legislation to protect the preborn should specifically exempt as non-persons children in ectopic pregnancies? If an embryo with a beating heart and measurable brain waves is attached to a fallopian tube with almost zero percent survival, aren’t they still a growing, living human? Of course. Should the Personhood Amendment be adjusted to read that for the purposes of state law “Person” or “man” in Art. 1 of the Ohio Constitution should be defined to include “all human beings from the beginning of their biological development – unless they implant ectopically”? Does the location or likelihood of survival mitigate their humanity? The death of some patients is unfortunate and accidental, and not prosecutable.

Check out those two links. Those will help.

God’s richest blessings on you,
Patrick Johnston