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06/26/2017

Samaritan Ministries and Ectopic Pregnancies, Addendum

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this piece commenting on Samaritan Ministries’ policy regarding ectopic pregnancies.  A few days later, my husband was contacted by Samaritan representatives, who requested that he and I meet with them while they were on Trinity’s campus for the CBHD conference. We met Friday afternoon, and they took time to explain their position on treatment for ectopic pregnancy as well as share some details of the policy that are not outlined in the guidelines.

After this conversation, I want to follow up my original post with some additional information about Samaritan’s policy on publishing expenses related to tubal ectopic pregnancies.  First, Samaritan does publish expenses surrounding the procedure, such as hospital stays, even if the procedure itself is not publishable.  Second, as described in the guidelines, they do publish treatment expenses if the baby is known to already be dead, or if the tube has already ruptured and the baby is thus presumed to be dead.  Expenses that are not shared, such as the removal of the fallopian tube when the baby has not died, are also able to be submitted as “Special Prayer Needs,”[1] which other members can choose to give towards (in addition to their regular monthly fee).

Although we still disagree concerning the ethical question itself and the existence of a Christian consensus, I am happy to have a better understanding of Samaritan’s policies after our discussion.  I also realized after our conversation that I had missed a couple of mistakes in my original post that caused confusion.  First, I wrote that “…the condition is highly dangerous to the mother, who is at risk…”  I have subsequently edited the sentence to more accurately say, “…the condition can be highly dangerous…,” since between 40-64% of tubal pregnancies result in miscarriage without rupture.[2]  This fact is relevant to Samaritan’s policy, as they encourage “watchful waiting” and believe that many doctors use scare tactics to pressure women to treat ectopic pregnancies (in whatever way) before determining if the situation will resolve on its own. Also, in my concluding sentence, I accidentally typed “treatments” instead of “treatment,” implying that I was speaking of more than one widely-accepted treatment.  However, in the post I only referred to the removal of the fallopian tube (salpingectomy).

With these clarifications in mind, I believe that the positions of both myself and Samaritan are accurately represented. For anyone who is interested in further discussion of Christian perspectives on various methods of treating ectopic pregnancies, I have listed some resources below:

Kaczor, C. (2001). Moral Absolutism and Ectopic Pregnancy. Journal Of Medicine And Philosophy, 26(1), 61-74.

Kaczor, C.  (2009). The Ethics of Ectopic Pregnancy: A Critical Reconsideration of Salpingostomy and Methotrexate. The Linacre Quarterly, 76(3), 265-282.

Hager, S. E. (2016). Against Salpingostomy as a Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 16(1), 39-48.

[1] https://samaritanministries.org/help/guidelines

[2] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1179/002436309803889106

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