A Republican Ohio state representative, riding anti-abortion sentiment in his state, has proposed legislation requiring doctors to perform an impossible medical procedure, one that he had not even researched.
Rep. John Becker’s bill would require doctors to re-implant ectopic pregnancies, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the womb, such as in the fallopian tube. His idea is to reduce the number of abortions in Ohio.
Becker’s uneducated, politically motivated attempt to demand doctors do the unproven and physiologically impossible is the latest example of rampant anti-intellectualism and the increasing effort of male politicians to police womens’ bodies.
Citing Zero Evidence
Becker has admitted that he did no research to determine if an ectopic pregnancy could be implanted. A quick Google search would have informed him that obstetricians consider it “physiologically impossible” to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy, just as it is physiologically impossible for a genetically male person to give birth to a child.
Instead, Becker introduced legislation that demands medical professionals perform what is physiologically impossible, aided by anti-abortion activists who cited two studies – one in 1917 and one in 1980 that suggest, but don’t prove, that there is the possibility of the procedure being successful.
But, there is zero documented evidence that that such a procedure is possible or what side effects would be suffered by the mother. So, with zero evidence of success and unknown risks to the mother, Becker charged ahead and introduced a ridiculous and embarrassing piece of legislation in a blatant appeal to the religious right, and a misguided attempt to save pregnancies that can’t be saved, according to most obstetricians.
As an increasing number of states move to restrict legal abortions in America, Becker’s proposed legislation is just the latest attempt to stop abortion. The problem is that an ectopic pregnancy isn’t an induced abortion; it's a natural one.
Becker’s legislation is not only thoughtless, but potentially dangerous. Asking doctors to do the impossible with zero evidence of potential success while risking the health of the mother is cynical, dangerous and irresponsible.
Doctors estimate that 2 percent of pregnancies are ectopic pregnancies and worry that suggesting that such a pregnancy could be saved by an operation deemed physiologically impossible by obstetricians could give many women false hope and cause them to pursue unproven and dangerous strategies to save their pregnancy.
While it’s doctors who swear by a code of ethics that includes the phrase “first do no harm,” perhaps it’s time for lawmakers to do the same.
Proposing legislation without the benefit of even the most basic research is irresponsible, misguided and politically reckless. But, then, these politicians don't seem to care.