There is nothing subtle about H.R. 212, the â€śSanctity of Life Act,â€ť sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) andco-sponsored by 64 other Republicans in the House of Representatives, including Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The CRS summary of the bill is short and to the point:
â€śSanctity of Human Life Act â€“ Declares that: (1) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is the personâ€™s paramount and most fundamental right; (2) each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (3) Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories have the authority to protect all human lives.â€ť
Got that? Personhood begins with fertilization. Period. Someone didnâ€™t read the next chapter in the science book.
The Ectopic Pregnancy
Any family thatâ€™s endured the trauma of a detected ectopic pregnancy (or worse still an undetected instance) has a â€śdog in this fight.â€ť This is not an insignificant number. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports: â€śEctopic pregnancy occurs at a rate of 19.7 cases per 1,000 pregnancies in North America and is a leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester.â€ť (2000) The National Institutes of Health report ectopic pregnancies in a range of 1 in every 40 to 100 pregnancies. [NIH]
And, there is something else the author and the co-sponsors of the bill should be aware of:
â€śAn ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (uterus). It is a life-threatening condition to the mother. The baby (fetus) cannot survive.â€ť [NCBI]
An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in the fallopian tube, hence the expression â€śtubal pregnancy,â€ť and about 1% of fertilized eggs â€” or â€śpersonsâ€ť as the sponsors of H.R. 212 would have it â€” implant outside the uterine cavity and become extrauterine pregnancies which can occur anywhere along the reproductive tract.
It is a medical FACT that an ectopic pregnancy is perilous to the life of the mother. It is not inconvenient, uncomfortable, unpleasant, or unsatisfying â€” it can be deadly. Death is most often caused by a rupture leading to internal bleeding and shock. The treatment is also crystal clear: â€śEctopic pregnancies is a life-threatening condition. The pregnancy cannot continue to birth (term). The developing cells must be removed to save the motherâ€™s life.â€ť [NCBI]
Whatâ€™s confusing about â€śthe developing cells must be removed to save the motherâ€™s life?â€ť The confusion is created when Congressional Republicans define a â€śfertilized eggâ€ť as a â€śperson,â€ť and thereby make it illegal for a physician to â€śremove the developing cells.â€ť Under H.R. 212 the â€śpersonâ€ť will continue to develop in the fallopian tube until there is a rupture, internal bleeding, shock, and death â€” of both the fetus and the mother.
Perhaps one of the 65 members of the House of Representatives who sponsored this legislation, now assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, would like to explain how it is â€śPro-Lifeâ€ť to make the removal of the developing cells (which will never become a child) illegal thereby creating a situation in which the mother faces one of the leading causes of death in pregnant women during the first trimester?
Thankfully, about 68% to 77% of ectopic pregnancies resolve without medical intervention, however there are no clear indicators to define which women with small (less than 3.5 cm) ectopic pregnancies can safely survive the problem. The APA estimates there are approximately 64,000 ectopic pregnancies in the U.S. annually, if the optimistic estimation that 77% of these will resolve naturally holds, then some 14,720 women will be in danger of dying from the lack of appropriate medical treatment. Nevertheless, Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate, is perfectly willing to allow this deadly game of Pregnancy Roulette to continue.
When speaking to the legislation on the incorrectly labelled â€śpartial birth abortion ban,â€ť Rep. Ryan said of exceptions to abortion bans based on the health needs of the mother:
â€śThis is not a political issue, this is a human issue. And let me just say this â€” to all of my colleagues who are about to vote on this issue, on the motion to recommit â€” the health exception is a loophole wide enough to drive a mack truck through it. The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless. [...] [H]undreds of OB/GYNs have told us that this is not medically necessary.â€ť [TP] (emphasis in orginal)
Terminating an ectopic pregnancy, especially the 23% to 32% which do not resolve naturally, isnâ€™t a political issue either. It is a medical issue profoundly affecting the health of the mother and the viability of the family.
The failure to acknowledge the medical necessity of removing those â€śdeveloping cellsâ€ť isnâ€™t a political issue either. It is a clear and uncomplicated statement of how little regard many current members of the Republican Party have for women. All women of child bearing age. Is it really â€śpro-lifeâ€ť to advocate for the possible death of a mother from internal bleeding and shock in order to save a fertilized egg which will never become a child?
I donâ€™t understand this mentality, and I donâ€™t want to.