A new bill in the Ohio House of Representatives would require women to undergo an imaginary medical procedure to address a life-threatening complication of pregnancy.
A number of Ohio Republicans are pushing an abortion bill that is so outrageous, it requires the medical profession to invent new procedures that don't exist and puts women's lives at risk.
Twenty members of the Ohio House, all of them Republicans, are backing a bill that would ban private insurance from covering abortions. Getting in between a private insurance provider and a patient is quite the move for a party that says it is in favor of limited government.
But the bill doesn't stop there. It proposes that women with an ectopic pregnancy — a life-threatening condition where a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus — would be required to fix that issue via a medical procedure that does not exist.
The bill's sponsor, John Becker, says his bill covers ectopic pregnancies by requiring a treatment that "would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill."
One small problem: such treatment doesn't exist. As Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, explains: "You can’t just re-implant. It’s not a medical thing."
Again, if left untreated, ectopic pregnancies can be deadly. The only option for a woman who has one is to terminate the pregnancy using either medication or surgery. Under this bill, it's unclear how women could get insurance to cover this life-saving treatment if they're stuck waiting around for a doctor to do a non-existent medical procedure.
The bill also takes aim at certain methods of birth control, with similarly perplexing and troublesome results. The bill's language would ban coverage for "any drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum." Anti-choicers generally use such language to encompass birth control pills and IUDs.
Becker, the sponsor of the bill, pushed for similar language in past bills, saying that IUDs should be banned because they can be considered an abortion. When asked why he thought that, he declared that it was just his personal view and he wasn't a medical doctor.
Not being a doctor hasn't stopped Becker from making similarly ill-informed statements this time around. When told that his bill would target birth control, he declared that drug manufacturers could just change how birth control works to comply with his law:
When you get into the contraception and abortifacients, that’s clearly not my area of expertise, but I suppose, if it were true that what we typically know as the pill would be classified as an abortifacient, then I would imagine the drug manufacturers would reformulate it so it’s no longer an abortifacient and is strictly a contraceptive.
This misdirection and misinformation are dangerous.
It apparently wasn't enough for Ohio Republicans to pass a six-week ban on abortion — an extreme measure that's become popular among conservatives in a number of states since it bans abortion before more women know they're pregnant.
That law is being challenged in court and likely won't go into effect — but it could eventually trigger a court case to overturn Roe v. Wade. And if it's allowed to go into effect, Ohio could require an 11-year-old girl who was raped to carry the pregnancy to term because she is past the "heartbeat" stage.
Either way, Ohio Republicans will be hard at work inventing new ways to punish women and put their lives at risk.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.