The assaults on women’s reproductive rights just keep getting crueler.
Earlier this year, Alabama opened the proverbial reproductive flood gates after governor Kay Ivey signed the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation that argues life begins at the moment of conception, and doctors who perform abortions for cases other than extreme risk to pregnant mothers’ lives will face 99 years in prison, even in cases of rape and incest.
One week before, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a similar bill that bans abortion after six weeks, a point at which doctors can usually detect a fetal heartbeat, before most women even realize they are pregnant.
Ohio governor Mike DeWine has signed a bill nearly identical to Georgia’s.
Missouri advanced a bill 24-10 to criminalize abortions at 8 weeks.
In August, Planned Parenthood announced the White House compelled it to decline Title X funding intended to provide healthcare to over a million low-income women lest it be subjected to the administration’s “domestic gag rule,” wherein healthcare providers receiving funds for counseling patients about reproductive options that may include abortion will lose that funding if the word “abortion” is even used.
Last month, Missouri health director Randall Williams admitted the state health department had been maintaining a spreadsheet of Planned Parenthood patients containing personal information including the date of women’s last menstrual periods.
Yet as bizarre and troubling as all this is, Ohio may have topped it this week.
Under the recently introduced House Bill 413, not only would abortions be criminalized, punishable by lifetime prison terms–doctors would be required to re-implant ectopic pregnancies into women’s uteri.
An ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition in which an embryo implants itself in a woman’s Fallopian tube rather than her uterus.
In that situation, the embryo is neither viable nor savable.
This means not only is the state of Ohio suggesting something medically unnecessary.
It’s actually impossible.
“Ectopic re-implant” procedures do not exist in medical science.
In response to the bill, Ohio obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. David Hackney tweeted:
The new Ohio HB413, p.184: To avoid criminal charges, including murder, for abortion, a physician must “…[attempt to] reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into the women’s uterus”
I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible.
We’ll all be going to jail@ACOGAction pic.twitter.com/KtnNRShZLW
— David N Hackney MD, FACOG (@DavidNHackney) November 19, 2019
In a viral Twitter thread, researcher Dr. Daniel Grossman called re-implanting a fertilized egg or embryo “pure science fiction.”
Vice-president of practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Chris Zahn, added:
“It is not possible to move an ectopic pregnancy from a fallopian tube, or anywhere else it might have implanted, to the uterus. Reimplantation is not physiologically possible. Women with ectopic pregnancies are at risk for catastrophic hemorrhage and death in the setting of an ectopic pregnancy, and treating the ectopic pregnancy can certainly save a mom’s life.”
More than a dozen states this year have sought to outlaw abortion.
Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee, have advanced anti-choice bills past one chamber of its legislature.
Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and West Virginia have also introduced anti-choice legislation.
All told, 61 anti-choice bills have been introduced across the country.
This is not just about individual states’ rights.
It’s about overturning the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe versus Wade that legalized abortion.
Back in May, when Alabama took a flamethrower to reproductive rights, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted:
“Women’s rights are under attack. This relentless and cruel Republican assault on women’s health is designed to force a court battle to destroy Roe v. Wade. Democrats will be ready to defend health care and women’s reproductive freedom.”
And it’s exactly what the religious right expected to get when it threw its wholehearted support behind the mendacious thrice-married philanderer Donald J. Trump for president and his “Christian” running mate, Michael Pence.
It was Pence, who, as Indiana governor ordered Purvi Patel imprisoned for 20 years for having a miscarriage, alleging she had taken an abortifacient, despite tests confirming Patel did not have any drugs in her system.
Just before being elected vice president, Pence signed legislation requiring miscarried and aborted fetuses “interred or cremated,” regardless of pregnancy duration.
This was the impetus behind the “Periods for Pence,” movement, in which women tweeted or called Pence’s office to inform him when their periods started and ended so the state wouldn’t mistake their usual menstruation periods for miscarriages.
Years before–also on Pence’s watch–Bei Bei Shuai spent 435 days of a 45-year sentence in the Marion County, Indiana maximum security prison for attempting suicide, causing her 33-week fetus to die.
Then there is 28-year-old Melissa Ann Rowland of Utah, charged with murder after refusing to deliver her twins via Caesarean section.
One of those twins died.
Mississippi charged sixteen-year-old Rennie Gibbs with “depraved heart murder” after her baby was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, causing its death.
According to state prosecutors, Gibbs had traces of cocaine in her bloodstream.
Angela Carder was also ordered to have a C-section before she succumbed to cancer.
Both she and the baby died during the procedure.
According to the Duke University Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, there were 413 documented cases of women prosecuted for miscarrying or attempting abortions between when Roe v. Wade became law in 1973 and 2005.
Is this version of Christian “Sharia Law” what we can expect in America’s future?
After all, we were warned.
Three years ago, Donald Trump admitted “There has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.
Trump’s affection for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is well documented.
So maybe he and the GOP are interested in following the Middle-Eastern kingdom’s Orwellian practice of unleashing their police on “badly behaved women.”
Although reproductive rights have always been a political football since Roe v. Wade‘s signing, and there have been prognosticators that have predicted its demise before, we are hard-pressed to think of time in recent memory when the religious right has been so emboldened and women’s rights so threatened.
We know what conservatives want.
They want to “end” abortions (except for mostly white women of means).
Image credit: en.wikipedia.org