Ohio abortion bill would force doctors to reimplant ectopic pregnancies, which is 'impossible'
In this April 11, 2019 file photo, Gov. Mike DeWine signs a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, in Columbus, OH. (Fred Squillante/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)
TORONTO -- A recently proposed anti-abortion bill in Ohio would require doctors to attempt to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman’s uterus” or face criminal charges for murder, despite the fact that it is a medically “impossible” procedure.
Earlier this month, Republican lawmakers introduced House Bill 413 in the Ohio state legislature, which would outlaw abortions in all circumstances, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
Considered one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills ever introduced in the United States, the bill defines a fertilized egg as an “unborn child” and would consider doctors who terminate pregnancies guilty of murder and subject to penalties of up to life in prison or even the death penalty.
Women and girls as young as 13 who receive abortions would also face murder charges and prison time.
One point of particular contention in the bill is the inclusion of the requirement that doctors attempt to reimplant ectopic pregnancies into the woman’s uterus.
In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants outside of the woman’s uterus, such as in the fallopian tube. Because the fertilized egg can’t grow outside of the uterus, it has to be removed to prevent any harm to the pregnant woman.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), ectopic pregnancies must be treated with either medication or surgery to prevent the fallopian tube from rupturing, which can be life-threatening for the patient.
“An ectopic pregnancy cannot move or be moved to the uterus, so it always requires treatment,” the association said on its website.
That view has been echoed by several prominent medical professionals who have spoken publicly about the impossibility of reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus – a procedure that doesn’t currently exist in the medical world.
“Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy cannot be ‘reimplanted’ into the uterus. We just don’t have the technology. So I would suggest removing this from your bill, since it’s pure science fiction,” Dr. Daniel Grossman, a clinical and public health researchers on abortion and contraception, wrote on Twitter.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Cleveland-based Dr. David Hackney sounded off against the bill and the prospect of reimplanting ectopic pregnancies.
“I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible. We’ll all be going to jail,” he wrote.
“In addition to being bizarre, misogynistic & misinformed, ‘ectopic re-implantation’ legislation is profoundly insensitive.”
It’s not the first time Ohio legislatures have tried to ban abortions for ectopic pregnancies. In April, Ohio Rep. John Becker introduced a bill that would compel doctors to move an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus.
“Once again, Ohio Republicans are trying to ban abortions for ectopic pregnancies, which are NON-VIABLE PREGNANCIES that are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. They can be fatal without prompt treatment. This bill, if it becomes law, could cost pregnant people their lives,” reproductive rights activist Lauren Rankin said on Twitter.
It’s expected this new legislation will be challenged in federal court just as Ohio’s “six-week ban” bill, which criminalizes abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, was blocked in July.
House Bill 413 is just one of many restrictive anti-abortion bills that have been introduced in states across the U.S. in recent months as a direct challenge to Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973.