Months after a judge blocked Ohio from enforcing a near total ban on abortion, conservative legislators in the state are backing another severe anti-abortion bill. But the latest Ohio abortion bill suggests ectopic pregnancies can be reimplanted even though such a procedure does not currently exist. If passed into law, the bill would require doctors to perform such a procedure or risk facing "abortion murder" charges.
Ohio House Bill 413 specifically notes that doctors must "take all possible steps to preserve the life of the unborn child, while preserving the life of the woman" including, "attempting to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman's uterus." Failure to do so would, under the bill, result in criminal prosecution as the bill also specifies that "no person shall purposely perform or have an abortion."
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) defines an ectopic pregnancy as a life-threatening emergency that occurs when a fertilized egg begins to grow outside of the uterus (such as in a fallopian tube), where it is unviable. It's a condition that requires immediate treatment via either medication or surgery, according to the ACOG, as the growth can lead to a rupture that causes dangerous internal bleeding. Additionally, the ACOG has stressed that "an ectopic pregnancy cannot move or be moved to the uterus," as Ohio Bill 413 suggests. As Dr. David Hackney, an OB/GYN in Cleveland, Ohio put it on Twitter, "that’s impossible. We’ll all be going to jail."
In fact, even if it was possible, attempting to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy could lead to serious risks such as miscarriage, infection, and rejection of the reimplant, as Dr. Donnica Moore told Business Insider. The means Ohio's latest anti-abortion bill is appearing to suggest doctors would be found guilty of "abortion murder" unless they perform a procedure that does not exist and is largely not believed to be medically possible.
For this reason — among many others — reproductive rights advocacy groups like NARAL have slammed the bill as both dangerous and medically dubious. "Every abortion ban and medically dubious regulation shares the same goal as this bill — to outlaw abortion and strip Ohioans of their reproductive freedoms," NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland tells Romper. She argued the bill ultimately represent "a total ban on abortion" as it moves to classify abortion as murder or aggravated murder, which is punishable by death.
"They would also remove protections for pregnant people who experience issues during pregnancy, and place individuals experiencing a miscarriage at risk of criminal prosecution," Copeland tells Romper of the bill. "If all of that weren't bad enough, these politicians don't care that these kinds of bans could also ban some contraceptives and fertility treatments."
Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Public Advocacy at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin has argued that this latest bill "goes to eccentric levels to further restrict and criminalize Ohioans decisions around health care" and shows just how "obsessed" politicians are with controlling others' bodies.
"This legislation demonstrates the lengths Ohio politicians are willing to go to endanger pregnant people in the name of their dangerous anti-abortion agenda, which includes criminalizing pregnant people and doctors," Blauvelt-Copelin said in a statement to Romper. "All Ohioans deserve the right to control their own bodies and their own destinies and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio is dedicated to protect[ing] that right."
While a handful of states, including Ohio, have recently taken steps to attempt to restrict abortion at the state level, the procedure remains legal in all 50 states. What's more, both abortion advocates in Ohio and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appear committed to fighting House Bill 413. Copeland tells Romper, "Ohioans won't surrender their bodily autonomy to these extremists."