Health Reproductive Rights

Ohio Bill Requires Doctors to Reimplant Ectopic Pregnancies

A new Ohio bill requires doctors to reimplant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus, in an attempt to save the pregnancy.

House Bill 413 was introduced in the Republican-controlled legislature in November by Representatives Candice Keller and Ron Hood. The 700-page bill defines a fertilized egg as an “unborn child” and outlaws abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger or the doctor attempts to save the pregnancy. This then requires ectopic pregnancies to be reimplanted into a patient’s uterus. Doctors who fail to comply will be charged with “abortion murder,” and can be sentenced to prison.

Professionals are stating that reimplantation is medically impossible for ectopic pregnancies. If a fertilized egg is outside the uterus, the pregnancy is unviable, as an embryo cannot survive outside of the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic. The vice president of practice activities at American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Chris Zahn, claims that attempting to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy not only is not feasible, but could pose a threat to the mother. Dr. Chris Zahn stated, “Reimplantation is not physiologically possible. Women with ectopic pregnancies are at risk for catastrophic hemorrhage and death in the setting of an ectopic pregnancy, and treating the ectopic pregnancy can certainly save a mom’s life.” Dr. Daniel Grossman, a University of California professor, said this bill “could lead some patients to really question the advice of their doctor and maybe wait longer getting the necessary treatment and put their lives at risk.”

The Ohio state legislature has previously debated this topic. In April, it introduced a bill that banned insurance companies from covering abortions, but left an exception for the reimplantation of an ectopic pregnancy, a procedure that is not practiced. Ohio has also recently enacted a fetal heartbeat bill, banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected, but the bill was temporarily blocked by a judge.

Ohio is not the only state recently enacting abortion restriction bills. Pennsylvania recently passed a bill that requires medical professionals to receive a death certificate and bury the fetal remains after all abortions and miscarriages. Pennsylvania State Representative Mary Isaacson labelled this Pennsylvania bill as “yet another attempt to harass abortion providers.” The executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Kellie Copeland, said both Ohio’s bill and Pennsylvania’s state legislatures “want to make it very difficult for medical providers to provide this care to their patients by increasing costs, by creating criminal penalties … They want to harm [people who receive abortions] emotionally.”

Sources: Refinery29 11/30/19, Time 12/1/19, NY Times 12/4/19, The Hill 12/1/19, Bustle 12/2/19

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