Do you currently have the power of speech? Prepare to temporarily lose it. The Ohio Republican pushing an anti-abortion bill requiring insurance companies to cover surgery to reimplant ectopic pregnancies into the uterus—a surgery that does not exist—has provided the receipts for his claim that it does exist. And it turns out that a key part of state Rep. John Becker’s evidence for ectopic pregnancy reimplantation in the year 2019 is an article from the year 1917. Nineteen. Seventeen.
After OB-GYN and reproductive health researcher Dr. Daniel Grossman challenged the bill on a scientific basis, Becker provided him with a two-and-a-half page 1917 article by a doctor claiming to have successfully reimplanted a single ectopic pregnancy, leading to a full-term pregnancy. Becker’s other piece of evidence was a 1990 letter to the editor in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology by a doctor claiming to have witnessed such a procedure in 1980. That’s it—two supposed cases, one of them with the evidence running to two-and-a-half pages in 1917 by the doctor who claimed to have produced this miracle, and a letter by a doctor who says he saw it happen in 1980, but apparently didn’t see fit to put it into print until a decade later.
On this basis, a Republican lawmaker wants to make policy. And no, Becker does not plan to change his bill because of a little thing like learning that it’s absolute crap. He may change some of the other flagrantly ignorant language in the bill, but as far as he’s concerned, requiring insurance companies to cover a procedure that doesn’t exist because it involves embryos as part of a larger move against anything that strikes him as abortion-adjacent is a completely reasonable way to proceed. Because he read a brief description of a case from 1917.
Consider this evidence that, as Joan McCarter said, these Republican men really all are living a century ago in their heads.