Gather 25 women in a room. Ask the ones who have suffered a miscarriage to raise their hands. Statistically, five women will respond. Many more could possibly raise their hands, because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn't realize she's pregnant.
While all miscarriages are heartbreaking, an ectopic pregnancy — when the fertilized egg attaches not to the uterine wall, but elsewhere in the reproductive system, usually in a fallopian tube — can be deadly to the mother. An ectopic pregnancy occurs in one of 50 pregnancies. Ectopic implantation is one of the most common cause of pregnancy death.
We personally know two people who suffered (and survived) ectopic pregnancies. One is still mourning 35 years after she lost what she is sure was her “baby girl.” Another, a woman in her late 20s, had one two years ago. She named the baby and still mourns the death. Not being able to face another potential tragedy, she has sworn to never get pregnant again.
These tragedies make it all the more enraging that Ohio legislators last month introduced a measure that would, if passed, become the most restrictive abortion law in the country.
The bill creates a new felony called “abortion murder,” making people who have or perform abortions subject to life in prison. Here’s what is beyond the pale of standard abortion arguments, however: It includes a provision suggesting that doctors should attempt to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy in a patient’s uterus, a procedure medical experts say is not possible with current medical technology. Its sponsor, state Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middleton), said it’s a way to root out abortion in her Ohio. “The time for regulating evil and compromise is over,” she said in a November statement.
Let’s put pro-life and pro-choice arguments aside and concentrate on pure, irrefutable science. According to all doctors (not a “few” or a “majority”), no procedure to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into a woman’s uterus exists. These pregnancies are not viable, and if left untreated, they can result in a ruptured fallopian tube, hemorrhage and even death. In most cases, doctors say the only treatment is to terminate the pregnancy with medication or surgery. Under Keller’s bill, those doctors and the women they saved would be murderers.
Let’s repeat this fact: There is no scientific basis to the growing movement among abortion opponents that ectopic pregnancies can be moved and reimplanted. Reimplantation is not possible.
How horrifying is it that legislators — including a woman — want to introduce the fear of being charged with “murder” into one of the most devastating moments in a woman’s (and let’s not forget the fathers in these situations) life.
Keller, who represents the 53rd District, southwest of Dayton, should be ashamed, but we doubt she is. This is the same woman who after nine were killed and 12 wounded last summer in a Dayton shooting, blamed Democrats for all mass shootings, as well as "drag queen advocates," deadbeat dads, "open borders" and pot smokers. In her Facebook rant, Keller ended by adding "thank you, Obama." Her timing in singling out ectopic pregnancy termination as murder is also priceless: during the holiday season, when losses might be more acutely felt. Anyone so lacking in compassion and empathy should be thrown out of office by voters. It would be sweet justice if every woman in her district who has suffered the tragedy of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy would rise up and make her accountable for potentially calling them murderers of babies they so wanted to cradle in their arms.
Again, this is not about pro-life or pro-choice. It is about humanity and science.