- Missouri Rep. Brian Seitz proposed a bill to severely restrict abortion access.
- The bill would ban abortion after 10 weeks and make it a crime to terminate ectopic pregnancies.
- Ectopic pregnancies are never viable, and can be deadly to the pregnant person.
Missouri lawmakers are reviewing a Republican-backed bill that would ban abortions after 10 weeks, and make it a crime to terminate deadly ectopic pregnancies, punishable with many years in prison.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube between the ovaries and the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is never viable, and can be deadly to the pregnant person.
Republican state representative Brian Seitz proposed House Bill No. 2810, which would make the production, sale, purchase, or use of medical devices or drugs used for abortions a class B 11 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Performing or assisting an abortion for an ectopic pregnancy would be classified as a class A felony under Seitz's plan, carrying a sentence as high as 30 years or life in prison. Even treating ectopic pregnancies in trafficking victims is criminalized in the bill.
Ectopic pregnancies, which are diagnosed by blood test or ultrasound, require termination to prevent rupturing the body part where the embryo has implanted, which can cause deadly internal bleeding.
Seitz's highly restrictive bill comes just days after Missouri Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman proposed making it illegal for Missouri residents to seek abortion care outside of the state. Missouri has just one abortion clinic.
Ectopic pregnancies can cause the fallopian tube to burst open
Research suggests 1% to 2% of pregnancies in the US are ectopic; those that continue to grow and rupture account for 2.7% of pregnancy-related deaths.
Most ectopic pregnancies are tubal, meaning stuck in a fallopian tube, and may be caused by a damaged or misshapen fallopian tube, hormonal imbalances, or abnormal development of the fertilized egg, the Mayo Clinic says.
Previous ectopic pregnanies, STDs, fertility treatments, smoking, and a history of tubal surgery can raise your risk.
If left untreated, the pregnancies "can cause your fallopian tube to burst open," according to the Mayo Clinic. "Without treatment, the ruptured tube can lead to life-threatening bleeding."
Medical professionals are outraged by the bill
"Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion," OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter tweeted.
"The government should not be legislating abortion and @RepSeitz156 is an example of why," she added later in the thread. "The words he wrote are medically meaningless. So if this bill became law a zealous DA could interpret it at will."
—Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) March 11, 2022
"What is the goal here if not the death of pregnant people?" medical sociologist Andrea Becker wrote on Twitter.
—Andréa “Dre” Becker (@andreavbecker) March 11, 2022
Yale physician and sociologist Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis called the bill "sheer unscientific non-medical bullshiit."
—Nicholas A. Christakis (@NAChristakis) March 11, 2022