Pro-choice activists supporting legal access to abortion protest during a demonstration outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC

Missouri’s Ectopic Pregnancy Bill Is a Death Sentence for Women

Another horrific new abortion ban endangers the lives of pregnant people.

Emboldened by Texas’s draconian abortion ban and the Supreme Court’s refusal to block it, Republican-led states across the South and Midwest are rolling out their own extreme abortion bills. In Missouri, House Bill No. 2810 features an alarming list of restrictions, which include an attempt to stop pregnant people from crossing state lines to obtain abortions. But among the heinous and invasive points of the bill, there is one especially dangerous component. The bill criminalizes abortions for ectopic pregnancies.

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An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, often in the fallopian tubes. An ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy is completely non-viable and has no chance for survival. It can, however, cause life-threatening bleeding and tubal rupture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoBohoUrx4c

Rep. Brian Seitz of Branson, who proposed the bill, said “This bill is about protecting life.” Because in Seitz’s mind, an unviable egg has more rights than a grown person. Seitz added that the bill “does nothing to curtail” legal procedures “to protect the life of the mother,” but said he did not know how procedures to end those pregnancies worked. Seitz rambled on, “They don’t have the hospital machinery to tell if this is an ectopic pregnancy. They might just think it’s a normal pregnancy, and they want to abort that child. I would like to see that sort of unlawful activity stopped.” Okay but we literally have hospital machinery that does this: Ultrasounds and blood tests can detect ectopic pregnancies.

So he’s legislating women’s bodies and health over something he doesn’t understand? All male politicians should be required to take a comprehensive sexual health course before writing or voting on any bill about reproductive rights, full stop. Like Ohio state Rep. John Becker, who in 2019 proposed legislation to extend insurance coverage to patients seeking to re-implant their ectopic pregnancy into their uterus. The only problem? No such surgery exists. When Becker was questioned about the viability of the surgery he admitted to doing no research, saying “I heard about it over the years, … I never questioned it or gave it a lot of thought.”

Rep. Keri Ingle, a Democrat from Lee’s Summit, said “I’m really concerned by this language that it’s going to lead to women not being able to be treated by ectopic pregnancies, because the medical term for a removal of a fetus before it’s ruptured is an abortion.” Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, told Newsweek “This is what it looks like when uneducated politicians try and legislate our bodies,” she said. “Ectopic pregnancies, if not treated promptly, become life-threatening. Banning any provision of care related to ectopic pregnancies will put people’s lives at risk.” Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden tweeted that even if the bill passed in the House, it would be killed in the Senate.

The question remains, why (apart from brazen cruelty) would Republicans pursue this ban? There’s the blatant ignorance regarding what an ectopic pregnancy is, but the more sinister truth is the dogmatic view that “life begins at conception.” Republicans are so committed to this talking point, that they will place a higher value on a fertilized egg than a human being.

Many took to social media to protest the inhumane and heinous bill:

https://twitter.com/HannahSeligman/status/1501994434430480387

(via Springfield News-Leader, image: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.