Dont want to beat a dead horse

This is of course hypothetical…
When there is an ectopic and it is removed to save the life of a mother, what are catholic hospital policy on removing the “other tube” as a preventative? The scenario, since you are already going to be opened up, so why not?
Is it permitted? A possible preventative?

If you’re asking because this pertains to you, I advise asking your priest or one of the Catholic officials at the hospital. I say that because not only do they have all the pertaining information lacking to us on this forum, but they’re also actually qualified to answer said question. The best I can tell you is that it depends on the situation.

My opinion is that they really wouldn’t wish to remove a health organ without cause, esp. if the woman would want to have children in the future. Just my opinion. Peace.

From the website of the Mayo Clinic:

In other cases, ectopic pregnancy is usually treated with laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, a small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. Then your doctor uses a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) to view the area.

Other instruments can be inserted into the tube or through other small incisions to remove the ectopic tissue and repair the fallopian tube. If the fallopian tube is significantly damaged, it might need to be removed.

The fallopian tube is not completely removed. In fact, repair is the usual path of surgical treatment.

There is no need to remove the other fallopian tube – because there is no way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy, other than complete abstinence or sterilization.

This. We don’t remove the other tube. We do recommend bereavement counseling. God be with you and be not afraid.

I think that the OP is referring to the fact that Catholic moral theology teaches it is not moral to just remove the ectopic pregnancy, because such would be a direct violence against the unborn child (i.e., an abortion). Catholic teaching is that a woman suffering from an ectopic pregnancy may have the diseased organ (fallopian tube) removed because that is a morally neutral act, even though the child dies as an unintended side effect.

OP, I don’t believe that removing both tubes is considered best practice for preventing ectopic pregnancies. Many times women who have an ectopic pregnancy can still conceive and carry a healthy baby to term. If you were removing the organ with the intention of preventing pregnancy, it would be considered contraceptive, and therefore immoral.

Edited to add: I hold out hope that one day it will be possible to transport the embryo from the fallopian tube to the uterine lining so that this truly does become a moot question.

If you don’t want to beat a dead horse just remember there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

That might actually apply here.

Removal of the compromised section is only licit because it’s a medically compromised organ. Removing the other tube, if still healthy, would not strike me as licit.

I would recommend contacting the National Catholic Bioethics Center with this question and others. You can submit online for free.

This article should be helpful.


When it did happen, I was out of it (heavily medicated) and woke up unaware of the sterilization. With my Catholic upbringing and schooling I was shocked that this particular hospital had done the sterilization as a preventative. I didn’t think that a doctor could for see any other future pregnancies ending up with yet another ectopic.
Our particular Catholic Health Partners hospital is run by the doctors versus the catholic church.

They preemptively removed both of your fallopian tubes or did a tubal ligation without your consent?!?!

They removed the infected tube and the healthy tube. I was out of it, don’t really remember anything except the following day and that was really a blur too.
My mother said it was suggested when they brought it the consent form, and that the doctor stated it would be highly probable that if we tried to get pregnant again it would ultimately end up like it again (my age as a factor and my prior pregnancies being twins).

It does not sound like the burden of the right or wrong of this should rest on your conscience, though perhaps it’s not any (misplaced) personal guilt that is bothering you.

I don’t feel guilt for having an ectopic, things happen, I realize that. Maybe I misunderstood what you are saying.
My thoughts are on Catholic hospitals and their policies on preventative measures for a woman who could or could not be prone to an ectopic or not. I mean, they frown upon birth control to employees of the hospital, yet they can sterlize or remove a healthy tube as a preventative. Hmmm… I don’t know. I would assume it is cut and dry when it comes to these types of situations…Just a thought

I see two distinct issues here.

The first is the question, is it licit to remove a healthy fallopian tube as a preventative measure? I would encourage you to ask the National Catholic Bioethics Center, because they may have better insight. On the one hand, it is NOT licit to sterilize someone in order to avoid pregnancy, even for health reasons. This is contraceptive and gravely immoral. That said, it’s not clear to me that it would necessarily be immoral to remove a healthy organ that had a very high probability of becoming diseased in the future. For example, I believe it can be moral for a woman who tests positive for the BRACA gene to undergo a double mastectomy as a preventative measure.

The second issue is whether or not you were violated by doctors claiming to address an pressing medical issue but then also choosing to remove a healthy organ without your full consent. It sounds like you don’t remember the consent process. Ask your mom what the conversation was like. Read the consent form and see what you signed. This isn’t like a “We’ll go in and see how bad the cancer is, we may have to remove part of this organ as well.” We’re talking about a completely separate, healthy body part. If it were me, I’d be livid. I would want to have a long conversation with the surgeon so maybe he has a come to Jesus moment and realizes that not everyone is okay with losing both fallopian tubes just because of an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. At the very least, he should revamp his consent process. This is a big deal.


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