I was listening to relevant radio today and I was fascinated by the discussion about ectopic pregnancy. According the natural law principle of double effect you cannot do something if the primary means and end are immoral. For instance if you are pregnant and a doctor tells you that there is a 20% chance that you will die from cardiac complications, you cannot abort the unborn child so as to decrease this chance of death. The act of killing the child would be necessary for the benefit. This is a direct effect and not allowed. If a woman has a cancerus uterus she could have her uterus removed to treat the cancer with the unintended consequence of the death of the baby. This would be moral by the principle of double effect.
In ectopic pregnancy one can remove the so called “diseased” portion of the fallopian tube that contains the unborn child. The death of the child is the unintended consequence of removing the so called “diseased” portion of the tube.
It would be immoral to give methotrexate to kill the baby first and then remove it.
What about if the surgeon was able to open the fallopian tube and remove the unborn child (which could not survive out of the mother). No portion of the tube would be removed. In this case, would this be immoral? If this was possible (and I am not sure if it is) then removing the so called “diseased” part of the tube might be medically unnecessary. The only reason to remove that portion of the tube would be to “claim” an unintended consequence.
Can anyone who understands natural law theory comment on this?
Also what is the churches teaching on molar pregnancies? Can methotrexate be used in this situation?