Thursday, June 23, 2011


So I've been writing about some of the teachings coming out of the conservative/fundamentalist church that I believe are, to varying degrees, toxic and extra-biblical.

I do agree that many of these ministries have some good things to say, and I have tried very hard to  judge only the teachings that they have presented and not the hearts or salvation of the teachers themselves.

But this really takes the cake.

When I read it I had to step back and shake my head in disbelief.

It seems that Doug Phillips, of Vision Forum, believes that it is murder to do surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy before it ruptures.  He thinks this is a tenable approach because one random woman in Australia carried an ectopic pregnancy attached to her ovary for nine months and gave birth via c/s to healthy baby girl.

It's good logic, you know, to make your case based on the strangest, most bizarre incident you can find (eyeroll).

What this man does not mention is the 40-50 women who die every year in the US from ectopic pregnancy.  What he does not mention is that there are very, very few cases of ectopic pregnancies making it to the age of viability.

I would contend that this man is dangerous, and, dare I say it - cruel.  There are well-meaning Christian families, many whom I know and love, who listen to Mr. Phillips.  And if any of them feel his condemnation and misguided classification of ectopic pregnancy surgery as murder, they could be putting their life in danger for no reason.

Has Mr. Phillips had miscarriages?  Has he wiped away the blood and had the cramps and cried the tears associated with the loss of life and a dream?  I have.  And I know many other women who have.  It is heartbreaking.

I've never experienced an ectopic pregnancy, but I have held the hands of women diagnosed with them.  As a nurse, I've cried with them as they were wheeled away to the OR for emergency surgery to save their lives.  I've seen the vital signs dropping as a woman bleeds out from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. I've pumped in the fluids and blood to try and save her.  I've watched her color turn grey and her skin become clammy as her life drains into her belly.  It can happen in minutes.  I've seen women go to sonogram and be diagnosed with an intact tubal pregnancy.  They can come back to their room and crash in just a few minutes.  "Watchful waiting" is not an option when you can bleed out in five minutes.

But in Mr. Phillip's theology, a woman who has life-saving surgery, knowing that there is no way the tiny life insider her can be saved, is a murderer.

And that is sick.  It is uncompassionate, rude, cruel and unkind.  Because these women are grieving the loss of their sweet babies, as well as usually facing reduced fertility due to the loss of the affected tube.  I cannot see the character of my Savior in a person who would condemn the grieving mom.  I see legalism, judgment and misogynism.  I see a man, who, for all his talk about valuing women, sees them as expendable. 

As the body of Christ, we should be weeping with those who weep and comforting those who are grieving, not heaping blame and condemnation on their heads.


Erin said...

Tamara, this is the teaching that really made me stand back and go "hold on.... wait a second!" and reconsider VF's ministry in a different light. As you said, there are some things that are good and fine about their teachings, but that one is just over the top. I find it ironic, because it has the potential to rob a child of their mother's life, and isn't VF's whole deal about how important a mother is to her children? Very sad teaching, indeed.

Genevieve said...

I am a woman who has had to choose between her own life and the life of her child. I did not have a ectopic pregnancy. My baby had a terminal chromosomal disorder that made my pregnancy high-risk and threatened my life. We knew she would not survive to term and we knew that my life was in danger. So we induced labor and she was born whole, but not living. We held her, prayed over her, sang to her, and tried to have as many special moments as possible with her, creating a lifetime of memories in that short moment, even though her soul was already with the Lord.

But according to Doug Phillips, I am a murderer and guilty of child sacrifice. I am WORSE then your average mother who has an abortion because I killed my child to save my own life.

It doesn't seem to matter to Doug that she could not and would not survive on her own if I died or even if she made it to term. It doesn't matter that I loved her with every breath, that my soul was ripped to shreds because I lost her. I'm not a human being to Doug Phillips because to him, it doesn't matter that the mother is a life too.

I often wonder if he would make a different decision if the mother of his eight children were dying on the table to save the life of a baby who couldn't live if she died...

Thank you for writing about this.

Tamara said...

Oh, Genevieve, I am so sorry. May God comfort you. And may Jesus hold your sweet baby until you can hold her again in Heaven.

This is exactly what I am talking about with Doug Phillips. Cruelty and unkindness. He seems to forget that kindness and gentleness are not female characteristics, they are fruits of the Spirit that should overflow from every believer.

Unknown said...

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