Ohio to Charge Doctors with Abortion Murder if They Don’t Perform a Surgery that Doesn’t Exist

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I recently saw news that an Ohio state legislator had introduced a bill that would require insurance companies to cover the reimplantation of ectopic pregnancies into the uterus rather than the normal course of action, which is to remove the egg immediately. A few definitions if you’re not familiar: an ectopic pregnancy is an extremely painful and dangerous situation in which a fertilized egg attaches itself somewhere outside the uterus (where an egg can safely grow into a fetus). Usually this is in the fallopian tube, and that is very dangerous because as the egg continues to grow it can cause the fallopian tube and surrounding areas to basically explode and hemorrhage. Pregnancies aren’t usually super dangerous in the first trimester but ectopic pregnancies are the leading cause of death in that time, and even in cases where the person survives, they can often be left with lasting damage, like being unable to conceive in the future.

That’s why the moment an ectopic pregnancy is discovered, the standard care is to remove it. When it’s caught and treated early, the patient lives and has little to no injuries.

So anti-abortion Ohio state representative John Becker wrote this bill saying that insurers couldn’t cover abortion but did have to cover surgery that would take the ectopic pregnancy and implant it back in the uterus.

When I read about all this this month, I thought this might be a glitch in the matrix because I distinctly remembered reading about it ages ago. Sure enough, Becker introduced that bill back in April, at which point it was immediately pilloried. Actual doctors like Daniel Grossman at UCSF responded, pointing out that there is no surgery to reimplant ectopic pregnancies into the uterus. If there was, it would be a common procedure because so many ectopic pregnancies are actually planned, wanted pregnancies. Hopeful parents would clamor for it and doctors would perform it happily. Unfortunately, it’s just not medically possible.

Journalists brought this to Becker’s attention and he protested that it is possible because he read two anecdotes from doctors claiming to have seen it once — one from 1917 and the other from 1990, neither one confirmed. When physicians and researchers pointed out that those anecdotes are not science, Becker threw his hands in the air, said he wasn’t changing his bill’s language, and argued that there’s no harm in legislation that suggests insurance companies cover a procedure that is not currently possible.

Remember that previous video in which I talked about the wedge? Well, here we go again! Because this is the harm: last month, Ohio Republicans have now introduced another bill saying that if a doctor doesn’t try to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus before removing it from the dying woman, they can be put in prison for, and I quote, “abortion murder.” That is how con artists use the wedge to get pseudoscience into government. You start with misinformation that is wrong but “harmless,” and then within the year you’re putting women’s lives and doctors’ freedom at risk over that exact same misinformation.

And when journalists went back to Becker to get his thoughts, he said he just didn’t really research it before throwing it in the bill. Sure. Oopsie! It’s fucking disgusting. Are you in Ohio? Vote these people out. They are going to kill women and they will not stop until they are out of power. John Becker’s term ends in 2020. So does Candice R. Keller, the piece of shit who introduced the second bill banning abortion and threatening to imprison doctors if they don’t perform a wholly imaginary procedure. Please, don’t let them continue.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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