Republican politicians talk a big game about protecting the “sanctity of life,” but when it comes down to it, most of them are full of shit. The tip-off? When they propose antiabortion laws that could literally kill the pregnant women, as was the case in Missouri this week.
On Thursday, Missouri state representative Brian Seitz introduced HB 2810, a bill that would make it a class A felony if “a person or entity…imports, exports, distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces, prescribes, administers, or dispenses,” or attempts to do any of the above, in the context of (1) an abortion that “was performed or induced or was attempted…on a woman carrying an unborn child of more than ten weeks gestational age” or (2) an abortion that “was performed or induced or was attempted…on a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy.” (In Missouri, a class A felony conviction carries a minimum 10-year sentence and can go up to 30 years or life in prison.)
The first situation, which would effectively make abortions after 10 weeks illegal, is completely sickening but par for the Republican course. The second, though, is uniquely fucked up.
For those who are unaware, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside of the main part of the uterus. These types of pregnancies are not viable, and will never result in the birth of a child—ever. Meanwhile, if left untreated—i.e. if they are not terminated—they can kill the woman carrying the pregnancy; according to the International Journal of Women’s Health, they are the number one cause of death in the first trimester. So it’s pretty crucial people with ectopic pregnancies to receive abortion care, and when we say pretty crucial, we mean life and death—and if that’s not enough to make you say, “Okay, fine, I guess we’ll allow it,” recall that no baby is ever going to be born regardless.
Unfortunately for the women of Missouri, Seitz apparently has no idea how modern medicine works. On Wednesday, he insisted that doctors don’t have a way of determining if a pregnancy is ectopic, and are just performing abortions for the hell of it. “They don’t have the hospital machinery to tell if this is an ectopic pregnancy,” Seitz falsely claimed. “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.” (This kind of ignorance is stunning, though, to be fair, we’d place it at a close second to the kind displayed by the Ohio legislators who thought you could “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy,” and that doctors who did not attempt this procedure, which does not exist, should face charges of “abortion murder.”) In a statement to Newsweek, Dr. Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region and southwest Missouri, said: “This is what it looks like when uneducated politicians try and legislate our bodies. 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.”
Is Seitz’s bill going to pass? Probably not (though it could!). Regardless, the current assault on reproductive rights is very, very real, and even just the prospect of legislation like this can have a chilling effect, and given the possibility Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned, should scare anyone with a brain.
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