Women with ectopic pregnancies are at risk for catastrophic hemorrhage and death in from an ectopic pregnancy — treating the ectopic pregnancy can certainly save a mother’s life. What a doctor cannot do for a woman is to reimplant the embryo. By all medical accounts, it is totally impossible. That isn’t stopping the Republican-dominated Ohio legislature from demanding that doctors do just that — a medically impossible procedure.
If they don’t, the bill, if passed and signed by Governor Mike DeWine, would mandate that authorities charge and convict that doctor with “abortion murder.” A charge that can send that doctor to prison for life.
The bill doesn’t just seek to punish doctors.
House Bill 413 bans abortion outright and says a fertilized egg is an “unborn child”.
It also looks to punish doctors, women and children as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they “perform or have an abortion”. Another new crime, “aggravated abortion murder”, is punishable by death, according to the bill.
The bill is sponsored by representatives Candice Keller and Ron Hood, and co-sponsored by 19 members of Ohio’s 99-member House.
“The time for regulating evil and compromise is over,” Keller stated. “The time has come to abolish abortion in its entirety and recognize that each individual has the inviolable and inalienable Right to Life. Only respect for life can be the foundation of a free society that supports peace, justice and integrity.”
This is the second time practicing obstetricians and gynecologists have tried to tell the Ohio legislators that the idea is currently medically impossible.
The move comes amid a wave of increasingly severe anti-abortion bills introduced across much of the country as conservative Republican politicians seek to ban abortion and force a legal showdown on abortion with the supreme court.
Ohio’s move on ectopic pregnancies – where an embryo implants on the mother’s fallopian tube rather than her uterus rendering the pregnancy unviable – is one of the most extreme bills to date.
“I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible,” wrote Ohio obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. David Hackney on Twitter. “We’ll all be going to jail,” he said.
The new Ohio HB413, p.184: To avoid criminal charges, including murder, for abortion, a physician must “…[attempt to] reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into the women’s uterus”
— David N Hackney MD, FACOG (@DavidNHackney) November 19, 2019
Anti-choice activists in Ohio (and in other areas) and the legislators that represent them don’t seem to realize that treating an ectopic pregnancy is not a sneaky way to get an abortion. It is a life-threatening emergency to a woman. Simply writing a law demanding that doctors perform an impossible “reimplantation” procedure changes absolutely nothing as far as the real world is concerned. In fact, the additional procedure, like any surgery, would further threaten the mother’s health and even life.
When asked to comment about the impossibility of the reimplantation procedure, the anti-choice groups that support the bill have remained silent or refused to comment on it.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the “Heartbeat” bill in April, which would outlaw abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In other words, once a woman realizes she is pregnant, she does not have any choice but to carry the pregnancy to term. Or to put it a more blunt way, the only “legal” abortion under that bill is one that is performed when the woman does not know she is pregnant.
If you think that is ridiculous, you are not alone. The greatest fear among pro-choice supporters is that Ohio Republican lawmakers will ignore science in favor of religious zealotry. That fear could very well become a reality in Ohio, and then elsewhere.